Case study: Electrolux' bid to become a consumer-centric business
A few years ago, Electrolux began a journey to become a truly consumer-centric organisation. Its leadership believed in creating remarkable branded consumer experiences in a new, much more consumer experience-led market and digital environment and thereby leveraging another competitive advantage in a still relatively product and technology driven industry.
The global vision was set; now the challenge was: how to make sure consumer centricity leads to better marketing impact? How to do it in a multifaceted business environment across numerous categories in markets like Europe?
The challenge for EMEA marketing
When Lars Hygrell took the position as head of marketing and brand EMEA in January 2012, his challenge was to implement this vision in EMEA with all of its complexity; multiple markets working with different brand and product portfolios, specific channel structures etc.
In the context of strong competitive offers (Whirlpool, BSH, Samsung), powerful retail partners and increased pressure on price and margin, it was not the time for strategic transformation unless it provided short term focus and results.
In addition, with over 90% of all consumers using digital channels to inform and support the purchase decisions for kitchen and laundry appliances it was clear that the opportunity was for Marketing to become digital quickly.
So in this rather tough business environment his challenge was to deliver on a vision he believed in, i.e. impactful marketing with the consumer at the heart of all activities and strong brands.
To do this the strategy had to be made tangible and activated in a focused and efficient way.
Brand and marketing consultancy Prophet collaborated with the EMEA Electrolux team to implement the consumer experience strategy as well as focusing marketing and sales efforts against key opportunities.
Whilst, on the one hand, experience concepts such as 'needs matching' were developed and rolled out, on the other hand Prophet helped to identify challenges in the go-to market approach and worked to increase the impact of marketing activities by focusing on the right channels, brands, products and activities.
The plan was to become consumer-centric while at the same time creating stronger brands and better product focus. So taking marketing to the next level was planned to happen in three big waves:
- Firstly, understanding, introducing and training the consumer journey insights was crucial – everyone needed to start thinking from a consumer perspective. How do consumers shop for appliances and use them, which digital and offline interactions are most critical for their decision making and satisfaction?
- Focus marketing on key strategic brands and products: Electrolux Europe has a large portfolio of brands - which brands should marketing really invest in to make them strong and loved by consumers in any given market? Equally which products should be prioritised and supported by marketing investment because they are competitive and deliver better results for the consumer and the company?
- Finally, and once focus was on the right brands, products and the consumer journey, the plan was to steer marketing activities accordingly and close the loop to continuously improve marketing effectiveness. Then the plan was to drive marketing activities in key phases of the journey, digital and offline touchpoints and track investments in the right brand and products
How we did it
In 2012, the global Electrolux strategy was developed fully – marketing and beyond now had the tools and insights to understand how consumers shop and live with home appliances: How they get informed, how they make decisions and how they behave in different steps of the consumer journey.
Firstly, the focus was on shopping behaviour, secondly on the ownership/usage. In very inspiring training and sharing sessions with different audiences all key marketing leaders worked together and built a plan together on how to transform marketing: consumer journey at the centre, brand driven, digitally savvy.
Equipped with this knowledge the EMEA organisation took a parallel path of defining only one focus brand for each European market, e.g. AEG in the UK and Germany, Electrolux in France and Italy.
Marketing investments going forward were to be focused on these brands. In a very analytical, fact based and inclusive programme, the central team together with the markets, identified the most important categories and products in each market and category (e.g. steam-ovens in Germany).
Marketing across EMEA has reached a completely new level of sophistication and transparency – internal discussions are inspiring and fact based
This analysis resulted in a lot of clarity and consensus regarding focus areas along the dimensions of brand, distribution, price and product offer, explaining the whole consumer value equation.
Marketing and product lines were aligned on which offers to push and where more work was needed. The organisation implemented tracking and kept on top of which products to prioritise.
At this point the consumer journey was fully established across EMEA, focus brand (AEG & Electrolux) and star products were defined. So EMEA Marketing was ready to take the next step.
The plan was now to substantially increase marketing effectiveness by focusing all activities in key markets on the right brands, products and the right consumer touchpoints, channels and most crucial parts of the consumer journey.
Again, in a very analytical yet inclusive effort, central marketing and the market teams determined where in the consumer journey current marketing investments are focused and where the biggest improvement areas are.
This resulted in clear recommendations on how to focus marketing across the consumer journey and which activities/ touchpoints to activate in doing so.
It was now possible to steer marketing to actually mirror consumer behaviour and needs – for example by driving more focus on digital touchpoints vs traditional media and the right content to drive consumer preference earlier in the journey. Yet at the same time keeping a strong presence when it comes to selection and purchase of a product and digital or physical POS.
Marketing across EMEA has reached a completely new level of sophistication and transparency – internal discussions are inspiring and fact based. There is stronger brand health for some of the key brand metrics across the purchase funnel and journey and the brand now has clarity on the best way to do marketing and where to focus driving impact and better ROMI.
There have been commercial success in EMEA over the past two years and the brand will keep improving with continuous monitoring, analysing and training.
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