How to renew yourself digitally: the case of Legumbres Luengo
For years, articles and professionals have energetically asserted the importance of the digital transformation of companies, and they have good reasons. It has turned into a vital transition, capable of making or breaking a company for ever if it isn’t taken into account. It is also a way of differentiating, a kind of medal worn with pride by those who’ve crossed that finish-line. But what happens if you bite the medal and it isn’t made of gold? Achieving true digital transformation is much more than crossing a finish-line. Since the way to renew yourself digitally is often a challenge for food brands, wait a moment and we’ll tell you about the case of Luengo, a Spanish pulse producer. Because there’s a secret that not everyone knows and very few reveal.
“Digital transformation has no place in internet”
Eh? What? Have we gone mad? Not at all. There’s a very good reason behind that strange theory. However, instead of explaining it straightaway, let us give you an example: Luengo’s case.
Leader in sales but invisible in internet
Luengo’s case is one of the most stimulating challenges we have faced at Gastromedia. Imagine the starting point: pulses and digital communication: apparently antagonistic concepts. It seems that everyone who tries can find a place in internet, but the gates of that paradise of opportunities are sometimes locked and barred. Why? In this case, it was double trouble.
- Pulses have been associated with an old-fashioned way of life and an outdated type of food. Their consumption is in decline, especially among the young, the largest population sector. So why insist on knocking on doors where you won’t be welcome?
- Pulse brands, possibly accepting that disadvantage, had opted to forgo a significant online presence, which had worsened that invisibility.
Within this “hostile” environment, Luengo enjoyed an advantage: leader in sales and a marketing department with clear ideas, aiming for powerful positions in their TV and radio campaigns. A rare bird in a sector – pulses – which had never made a great effort in differentiation. However, with food marketing undergoing a revolution, it was not enough to be prominent offline. It was necessary to relaunch their brand and, once and for all, approach the digital world that had always resisted them. They looked at the net out of the corner of their eyes, with a mixture of appetite and timidity, they wanted to but they didn’t dare… And then we arrived.
The recipe of success
There’s nothing better than trying some food to know that it’s tasty. So, before developing a great strategy for Luengo, we began with a small trial action. In that way we would be able to start working and demonstrate the potential of improvement that was in their reach. The idea consisted of creating a video-recipe of chickpea hummus that would achieve, with a simple story barely a minute long, a triple objective:
- Present Luengo as the opposite of that old prejudice of “old women’s food”.
- Test the response of young people to a new action for the brand.
- Show that it is possible to connect with these consumers if we adapt to what they want.
Our video-recipe of hummus was shared on many screens and on very many tables.
The results of this action went far beyond Luengo’s expectations and pulverised their reticence to an online marketing strategy in their sector. It was time to roll our sleeves up and think on a bigger scale.
Well-known brands and consumers of today
That first action worked as we expected for a very simple reason: we had stopped thinking only about the brand and had thought about the native consumers of internet. Super-connected young people who are demanding and well-informed, who look after their health and their diet. Above all, people who do not accept what they are offered and seek what they themselves want. And when they find it, they consume it and then talk about it.
The digital world is like that: a food product is not only eaten on the table, it’s also consumed on a screen. It is not enough for your brand to convince on the palate, it must also please with its communication. The good thing is that, in this type of enriched relationship, both sides are satisfied: If you do it well, you will be able to:
- Innovate in your business model, as you can learn and reinvent your products by adapting them to your public.
- Empower your brand, making it more visible and differentiated from the competition.
- Create a unique and special universe with verbal, oral and visual language that represents you and that nobody can copy.
- Create better and more profitable products, anticipating the wishes of your target and the actions of your competitors.
- Integrate with partners, understanding the relation of your brand with its surroundings better and establishing alliances.
- Strengthen your relationship with your consumers beyond the seller-buyer link: we can be allies!
- Make your business grow with your brands, in a profitable and sustainable way.
Who would disregard this impressive list of advantages? It is unquestionably tempting. But as we said at the start, achieving an efficient digital transformation requires much more than pressing a button. It needs courage, a little investment and a made-to-measure strategy, like Luengo’s.
An innovation plan in food marketing in six areas
Luengo’s aim of relaunching their brand at an efficient cost was much more than a “simple” digital transformation. It required a thought-out strategy that would even include repositioning of their brand. Not offer the same as always but what consumers want from us. Take on board the most innovative techniques. Forget the idea of “going digital” and start “being digital”. With this new approach, the innovation plan had an ambitious menu of objectives:
- Modernise the brand’s image,
- Rejuvenate the target,
- Make the products known and increase their consumption,
- Improve positioning and memory,
- Build up its reputation,
- Enlarge the Facebook community,
- Increase engagement and interaction in social networks,
- Obtain consumers’ feedback,
- Detect opportunities for launching new products.
Chickpea biscuits: an innovative (and vegan) recipe that revolutionised perception of the brand
The same idea lay at the base of all of them: reach the final consumer with a differentiating, flexible, intimate and powerful offer. We had to banish old prejudices and replace them with modern values: healthy food, versatility, ease of preparation… Turn potential buyers into true fans. Change the brand into a lovemark. So easily? It wasn’t easy but it was feasible. We’ll tell the story of how we did it in six chapters:
1.- Digital personality: preparing the scenario
With the new positioning in mind, we developed a storytelling, a narrative behind the brand that made it unique and different. On one hand, we redesigned the web and filled it with rich contents, created expressly to whet the appetite for knowing more and more about us. Every photo, every recipe, every paragraph is developed with care to satisfy a search or to complete the picture of what Luengo is today. Structure and contents are carefully aimed at connecting with new consumers without betraying what we are, without forgetting the public that have always been loyal to us. On the other hand, we selected the social media where we wanted to be and the type of communication we wanted to establish in each one (photo, communication style…).
2.- Conversation: talk, listen, act
Once our home in internet had been built – website and social media – it was time to receive and attend to our guests. It was no accident that we chose sites that allowed communication in two directions: to be able to speak freely and listen to what is said is the most powerful focus group technique. With their questions, opinions and suggestions, our followers have helped us define the contents strategy. At first it was more intuitive and then increasingly refined and efficient.
3.- Response capacity: turning criticism into opportunities
Each and every one of the brands on social networks receive criticism that is or is not justified. Luengo is no exception. Far from being a weakness, this is a strength. Every negative comment is an occasion to show what we’re made of: agile response, appropriate information, proximity… With this approach we have been able to make Luengo’s digital community grow exponentially and keep criticism to a low level. And best of all: we have been able to learn from it.
4.- Listening actively: detecting opportunities for innovation
If you want to keep your brand alive, you must forget the old way of doing things in which you offer what you’ve got and your consumers adapt. Today, it’s your consumers who make your brand; they decide how they consume it and point to the road you must take. Social networks are the perfect places to detect and trial possible paths that might lead to success. One example: in the Luengo community, there was repeated criticism about imported products compared with Spanish products. We have turned this weakness into strength with the launch of the new Origen range, as well as a line of organic pulses.
Listening actively consists of interpreting what our consumers are saying, but also what they are doing. When we analysed how they responded to each story, we detected a clear trend towards vegetarian and vegan contents, which identified a very valuable and grateful group within our target. Thanks to listening actively, we have been able to provide them with their place by including more contents for them – nutritional information about vegetable proteins, vegan recipes, etc. And they correspond with excellent results.
The red bean Veggie Burger, one of our star recipes in 2016
5.- Launching new products: ideas that are eaten
In 2016, we created and launched together with Luengo the new Origen and Organic ranges to respond to what our followers demanded. This same feedback had to be present in the development of the products and we didn’t waste the opportunity. With everything we had learnt about our consumers, we helped Luengo develop the concept of Origen and the branding and packaging of both lines in a much more coherent and reliable way.
Nuevo concepto de marca y nuevo packaging
6.- New developments: innovating to succeed
2016 was a year of great changes for Luengo, the start of a path that has only just begun. Their wish to improve and their confidence in us has enabled a change of outlook and awakened an innovative spirit that is even changing their business model. It is not only a philosophy; it’s new ideas, new projects, new products being developed. They will soon be on the supermarket shelves and eaten on the table. Or in other places, who can say?
Changes in the perception of the brand and other amazing results
The key to this project is not in all the things we’ve done, but in everything Luengo has achieved.
- An innovative marketing culture in the company.
- New products launched successfully.
- New innovative projects for products and the brand (now being developed).
- A revolution in how the brand and the product are perceived among its consumers and its target: adjectives like “modern”, “up-to-date” are starting to be used when they talk about the brand.
- Totally renewed digital presence of the brand in accordance with its new positioning.
- New, more effective and coherent editorial line.
- A much larger and younger digital community, with a noticeable increase in the engagement of the under-40s.
- Campaigns with more effective and profitable content.
- Maximum optimisation of the budget dedicated to the digital community.
- Digital visibility and recognition unknown for this product category.
- Digital presence totally differentiated from its competitors.
- Product repositioning: new approaches to the consumption of their pulses.
- Continuity and coherence in the communication plan.
In round figures, the results harvested in the first six months can be summed up like this:
These figures say a lot, but cannot tell you the most important thing…
The true secret of digital transformation
When we speak of digital marketing strategies, it is easy to limit yourself to a simple comparison of numbers. The case of Luengo shows that the true value of being digital is not accumulating “likes”. The true transformation occurs a long way from Facebook and Twitter, and light years away from Analytics reports. True digital transformation takes place in the products, in words, in names, in behaviour. In the minds of the people who take decisions and in their teams. When that happens, it comes to stay and marks the difference.
Luengo’s excellent results in 2016 have only been possible thanks to their decided change in direction towards consumers. They are the consequence of the sum of two efforts. One by the company’s management, which opted for change with a great strategic vision. And the other by our team, which employed all their know-how and enthusiasm to enable it. We are proud to be part of this story and longing to start telling you the next chapter. Watch out for it!
Cuando hablamos de estrategias de marketing digital es fácil quedarse en una simple comparación de números. El caso de Luengo nos demuestra que el verdadero valor de ser digital no está en acumular likes. La auténtica transformación se produce lejos de Facebook o Twitter, a años luz de los informes de Analytics. La auténtica transformación digital tiene lugar en los productos, en las palabras, en los nombres, en los modos. En las mentes de quienes toman las decisiones y en sus equipos. Cuando eso sucede, llega para quedarse y marca la diferencia.
Los buenos resultados de Luengo en 2016 sólo han sido posibles gracias a su decidido viraje hacia el consumidor. Son fruto de la suma de dos esfuerzos. El de la dirección de la empresa, que apostó por el cambio con gran visión estratégica. Y el de nuestro equipo, que ha puesto todo su saber y su entusiasmo para hacerlo posible. Para nosotros es un orgullo ser parte de esta historia y estamos deseando empezar a contarte el próximo capítulo. ¡Mantente alerta!