The customer at the center of the business: Lavazza's strategy

Lorenzo Giorda
Global Head of Digital Marketing @Lavazza

We are living in an era that offers a ton of new business opportunities, thanks to the web and new technologies. However, even though the possibilities of digital are countless, several companies have not yet obtained significant benefits from it, or are exploiting only a few of all the opportunities.

One brand that is successfully taking up the challenges posed by digital technology is Lavazza, the well-known Italian multinational that operates in the coffee sector. The company has to deal with the complexity caused by its large size and numbers, with a presence on the market in over 50 countries and a brand message to be conveyed in 40 languages. To do that, it relies on an integrated communication that puts people at the center. 

The evolution of the brand includes moving infrastructural aspects, that is teams, skills, platforms nearest to the customer journey. The CRM, meant not as an IT asset but as the governance of the customer relationship across all touchpoints in the most integrated way, has become the engine of Lavazza's digital strategy.

In its early years, Lavazza's Digital Marketing team focused on the rollout of the websites (more than 40). Among the technologies they used to integrate the various touchpoints, the Customer Data Platform played a central role: with it, today the brand builds a unique identity for its customers, on which it works in terms of profiling, enrichment and customization of the message. An increasingly precise identification and segmentation of the users has begun.

 

Lavazza's Content Strategy

 

Due to its heritage, the brand is fortunate enough to have an already very complex and rich communication architecture to exploit; across its channels, content is already a very present and used asset.

The current theme is customization, which brings forth the question of what content is best to show each of the microtargets, on which channel, on which social network, and in which format. Technology certainly helps to manage thousands of daily interactions across the various touchpoints, but there must be planning.

Content production was outsourced to partners of proven expertise, both for reasons of scalability and because it’s an activity far from the company’s core business. Lavazza was able to bring value to this richness of content by reversing the traditional creative process: while communication campaigns previously used to start with a physical idea or project, which subsequently was adapted to digital, the company is now investing heavily in “full” experiences.

What does this mean? It means that there’s no difference between online and offline, only single creative projects in which the content is designed for the various touchpoints from the start, in the most appropriate language.

An example of this is the branded content project created for Youtube together with CHILI, a streaming platform, which on this occasion was involved as a creative/publishing partner. The 10-episodes Basement Café series tells the lives and careers of 14 Italian rappers. Youtube is the platform most in line with young audiences, and Esse Magazine is one of the main channels of urban culture: it was an attempt to get closer to some niches that are really far from Lavazza’s typical communication, and it was done with a credible partner.

Or again last year, with the creative support of the art magazine Toiletpaper, a new Tiny coffee machine with a pop soul was presented in six bright shades. This year - again on the occasion of the Fuorisalone - Lavazza launched an integrated communication project for the launch of the Deséa Golden Touch by Gufram.

Digital was therefore crucial in repositioning the brand and its communication towards a younger target than the one it traditionally interacted with.

 

E-mail Marketing and sustainability

 

When it comes to content sent by e-mail, the Lavazza world is split in two: on the one hand, we have promotional communications, while on the other, scheduled newsletters with content that mirrors the thematic areas of the website, such as Top Gastronomy that includes Lavazza's chef ambassadors, or Tennis of which it is a sponsor, more oriented towards a sports audience, Art&Culture, Coffee Culture and Sustainability. Lavazza sends targeted communications about each of these four areas to cultivate potential customers and make lead generations.

As far as sustainability is concerned, one of the risks of digital for brands is that of taking no position. Lavazza noticed, in fact, that consumers ask the brand to make its position clear on current affairs topics, and not just sticking with its "territories”, such as the coffee supply chain.

Over the years, Lavazza has built up such credibility that it can take strong positions on social networks, and this choice has recently been rewarded with the Superbrands Award 2018, which celebrates brand excellence and the commitment of those which continue to invest in brand values, placing respect and sustainability at the heart of their growth strategies.