Originally from Romania, “a country most known for vampire tales and great gymnasts,” Andreea Dicu, our Global Director of People and Culture began her career wanting to build brands and travel the world. With Criteo, she’s been able to do both.
A key member of our People Leadership Team, Andreea is now heading up Criteo’s employer branding. This week, she takes some time out of her busy but fun-packed schedule to share her thoughts on the importance of company culture, employer branding, and how Criteo’s excelling at both.
Tell us about your background.
Growing up, I spent my free time writing short essays and daydreaming about becoming a copywriter. While my friends were talking about the Grammys, I talked about Cannes Lions.
Another life goal was to travel the world, live in different places, and collect experiences. And so far I am relatively happy with my progress. I spent the last 13 years living in four different countries, studying in international universities and working for companies that are virtual melting pots. I proudly declare myself a citizen of the world and I frequently joke that I was “Made in Romania” but “Assembled in Europe”.
How did you start your career? What did you do before you started at Criteo and what brought you to Criteo?
I started my career in the fast lane, working in international marketing for the motorsport division of PUMA. I then made a move into advertising at Wieden+Kennedy, but not as a copywriter. Turns out impactful and memorable copy was not my superpower. I was more of a creative/strategic hybrid.
After a short stint in account management with Delta Airlines, I joined the agency’s PR team and worked across a breadth of clients including Coca-Cola, Nike, GE, Heineken, and EA Sports, to name a few. From Formula 1 to flat beds, sneakers to James Bond campaigns, you name it, I’ve done it.
Three years ago I stumbled onto employer branding. I quickly realized that it is the bestjob in the world! Instead of selling products, I sell career opportunities. Instead of building brands, I build reputations.
My mission is to help companies claim their spot as the employer of choice around the world through engaging content that shows their culture in action. I spend my days telling authentic stories that emotionally connect. I also spend my days filming hoverboard races or bean bag fights. I sometimes cannot believe I am getting paid to have this much fun.
How has your role changed since you started?
Every company is a community, and employer branding is your opportunity to show the world what it’s like to be part of that community. When I started at Criteo, Employer brand (now People & Culture Brand) was an entirely a new function so I had unlimited freedom to shape my role.
But the story you tell can’t be manufactured. This is why we started by taking a careful look in the mirror, to understand our secret sauce.
We spent a lot of time working behind the scenes, looking at all the data we had at our fingertips and speaking to hundreds of Criteos as part of what we call a “culture study.” After collecting and digesting all the insights, it was time to connect all the pieces and make magic happen by articulating our strategy and translating it into a creative idea. We want to position ourselves as a very unique place to work, with one of the best cultures out there!
What’s the goal of your position now? What’s the hardest thing about it?
Now that we have our foundation, we can start crafting that authentic Criteo story. My primary objective is to bring our employer brand to life and win the hearts and minds of candidates and employees alike.
It’s a long-term game, but it boils down to something pretty simple: offering a window into the soul of the company and creating an intellectual and emotional buy-in among our employees. Of course, having a killer creative idea also helps.
With so many amazing companies hiring, we have to stand out. I think we are on to something pretty special, and I cannot wait for the world to see what we’ve been busy developing over the past four months. So watch this space!
A lot of companies talk about building a strong culture, but how do you think Criteo actually walks the walk?
Our culture is one of the main reasons why people love working at Criteo. We are a global community, united by our contagious energy and hunger for performance through intellectual rigor.
Being a part of Criteo means having the freedom to drive your ideas, take risks, move quickly, and enjoy every moment.
We have three strong operating principles that guide the way we work and the decisions we make each day. These principles are not only a beacon for our current employees, but they also help us attract the right type of talent for Criteo. Curious to know what they are?
- Go go go: Our first operating is about creating an environment where Criteos can think and act fast. Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster.
- No fear: We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, take smart risks, and be open to possible failure. You come here to be challenged – challenge yourself, each other, and the norm.
- Do the right thing: We ask everyone to always act with integrity and respect. We never let egos get in the way of our work.
The operating principles are our recipe for success, but actually our best perk is fantastic people! While we take our work very seriously, we laugh a lot, and we know how to have fun together.
How has Criteo helped foster your career to where you are today?
While some employer brand roles fall under recruitment and others under marketing, I am fortunate to be part of the People Leadership Team. This allows me to go further than attracting top talent and have the opportunity to make an impact on the entire employee experience. My ultimate goal is cultivating an engaging, open, and collaborative culture that puts our people first.
Where do you see yourself next?
After wearing many different hats in my career, I think I’ve found my calling. A wave of change is upon us in employer branding. Today more than ever, your culture is your brand, and your brand is your culture.
But employer branding is still a second-class citizen in the brand world, and we need to borrow more from the consumer side. That is why I am excited about what the future holds in employer branding, and I strive to challenge the boundaries of how cultures manifest and develop.
What projects/achievements to date are you most proud of?
One achievement I’m super proud of is winning Glassdoor #1 Best Place to Work in France. Unlike other awards, there was no self-nomination process. Instead, the result is entirely based on the feedback Criteos have voluntarily and anonymously shared on Glassdoor. And it’s a real reflection of the fact that people love working here!
Hobbies outside of work?
When I’m not building brands, I’m an amateur painter, retired fashion blogger, and travel junkie. I would describe myself a well-accessorized geek (I’m known for my bold accessories!), who loves watching Sci-Fi and has an eye for beauty and pixel perfection.
I recently moved to Paris, so my new favorite pastime is uncovering the different facets of this incredible city, full of artistic gems, chicness, fearlessness, and exquisite cuisine.
Do you have any career advice for people who are looking to forge a similar career path?
To my fellow marketers and brand masterminds, my advice is to give employer branding a shot. Yes, you might not have the luxury of huge production budgets or/and agency support. Yes, you will operate outside of your comfort zone, but the work just gets better and more exciting. And there’s nothing more thrilling than going from concept to launch in less than one month!
To any employer branding peeps out there, my one piece of advice is to remember that your people are your brand. People trust people. They don’t trust companies or ad campaigns. So remember to shine a light on the faces behind the brand.