The retailer METRO Cash & Carry launched, for the franchise network LaDoiPasi, a new campaign under the slogan “We’re part of the community”, signed by Porter Novelli Romania. The project highlights the way the store became a meeting point in the community and the entrepreneur/owner is the host himself. The campaign makes the leap from the functional communication, centered on the brand’s proximity attribute, to the emotional communication – the entrepreneur’s involvement in the community’s life.
AdHugger.net wanted to find out more pieces of information about the campaign’s insights and the collaboration between the client and the agency. For this exclusive interview answered Geanina Ghiculescu, Chief of the Retail Marketing Department at METRO Cash & Carry Romania, Ana-Maria Balan, Creative Director Porter Novelli Romania & Sorina Mihai, Managing Partner Porter Novelli Romania.
How did the collaboration between Metro and Porter Novelli started and how did it evolve through time?
Porter Novelli: Our partnership started back in 2016, when Metro Cash & Carry was looking for a reliable partner to implement part of their campaigns. Since then, we developed together projects for the Metro brand and communication campaigns for ‘LaDoiPași’, especially for B2B. Now, we are closer than ever, “Suntem de-ai locului / We’re part of the community” being the first integrated campaign we developed together. We are looking forward for future projects that will involve both the consumer and the business clients.
Metro: We prefer to invest in long-term partnerships and not keep hopping around. We were lucky enough to find our perfect match in 2016 and we have strengthened our relationship over time. During our collaboration of three years, Porter Novelli became our communication partner for LaDoiPași brand due to their ability to cut through complexity and deliver standout results.
What would you say are the main qualities that drove your brands one to another?
Porter Novelli: We had a strong compatibility with Metro’s Retail marketing team, that develops LaDoiPași franchise concept, from our first meeting. They are pragmatic people and know what they want for the brand. We all know this is very important in the client-agency relationship. They are also very open to new, creative ideas and recommendations, which gave us the opportunity to explore a fresh set of boundaries in the retail sector.
Metro: We believe great partnerships begin with alignment on values and culture. We wanted a long-term partner that is collaborative, imaginative and as passionate as we are. We were happy to see that Porter Novelli fitted the description. Right from the start of our collaboration, the team seemed genuinely excited to work with us and this is what convinced us to choose them as our partners.
How was the process from the IDEA to the execution of the new campaign? & Please tell us more about the campaign in itself (the TVCs, the online campaign,etc).
Porter Novelli: LaDoiPași means both a convenience store and a meeting place for members of the local community. The creative idea tells the brand’s story through a series of three TVCs that focus on the close relationship between LaDoiPași owners and community members. “Suntem de-ai locului” showcases three stories in the life of the community. We captured everyday situations where the owner has a leading role in the narrative. The owner knows his clients and shares their passions: movies, fishing or football. The physical space of the store becomes a melting pot of human interactions, the heart of the community.
The outdoor and in-store channels visuals illustrate the stories from the TVCs, capturing the dynamic of the moment in a hilarious way: watching an emotional movie, playing football or fishing.
We approached the same idea in the online component. As support, we used a video platform with three celebrities who returned to their local communities and proved they still belong to the place. The action took place in the LaDoiPași store, where the celebrities were apprentices for a day, along with entrepreneurs and community members.
Metro: As part of the multichannel campaign we developed a B2B communication plan targeting our existing and potential LaDoiPași associates. The campaign aims to build and maintain positive relationships with current partners and to attract new entrepreneurs. Video content, interviews and a special dedicated event formed the basis of this year’s B2B campaign. The event, which took place on 28th may in Bucharest, has far exceeded our expectations with a 90% participation rate. We were happy to receive immediate positive feedback from all participants. We believe that a happy and engaged team of franchisees is our biggest asset.
In the press release you said that you are moving towards a communication based on emotions. What made you decide to take that road and why now?
Porter Novelli: It was a natural way to move forward. We believe that unlike functional communication, emotional communication allows our audience to feel like they are part of a community. Which is what we wanted to achieve by launching this campaign.
What does this campaign bring new to the market?
Metro: “Suntem de-ai locului / We’re part of the community” campaign brings a fresh perspective into the convenience retail market by focusing merely on LaDoiPași business owners and the communities in which they operate.
What determined you to work with a PR agency on this campaign instead of an advertising one?
Metro: Porter Novelli has been our trustworthy PR agency for over three years and recently we had the pleasure to work together to develop this multichannel campaign. The team was already very familiar with our brand, they’ve created and seamlessly implemented PR campaigns with outstanding results. Last year we launched a new challenge for the team. We asked them a baffling question: are you interested in developing a new 360-degree campaign for LaDoiPasi? They are very savvy professionals and connected immediately with our challenge, they delivered with impeccable professionalism and we are very pleased with the result.
When did the idea of the campaign started and what was your brief for the agency?
Metro: It all started with us wanting to share our partners’ success stories in a way of showing how the franchise supports the local convenience store. Fortunately enough, Porter Novelli’s expertise in retail created a bridge between us and the store owners which ultimately managed to create a meaningful story about our partners and their community.
What is your goal for this campaign?
Metro: Through “Suntem de-ai locului / We’re part of the community” we want to grow loyalty and increase engagement by bringing into the spotlight our partners and their efforts to create a familiar environment. The campaign also aims to attract new entrepreneurs to grow their small businesses within the LaDoiPași network.
What are the main attributes of LaDoiPași that you wanted to be present in the campaign and why?
Metro: We believe functional differentiation is important to ensure relevance for a brand, but emotional differentiation is critical for the brand’s survival in the market. Thus, in 2019 we have decided to emphasize less the main attribute of the LaDoiPasi network, which is proximity (being physically close to our customers’ homes) and focus on communicating the emotional benefit instead: the intrinsic closeness between owners and the local community.
How is the brand positioning on the market and towards its competition?
Metro: “Suntem de-ai locului / We’re part of the community” marks a new beginning for our brand. Although our brand positioning is rather functional, being centered around the two main attributes – variety and proximity, we believe that through our new campaign we`ve managed to give it a new perspective. Shifting towards emotional proximity gave us a clear competitive edge over other retailers in the market.
How does this campaign fit in the overall brand’s strategy and marketing plan for 2019?
Metro: The campaign is closely tied to our brand strategy and business goals. It represents the main pillar of our marketing plan serving as a starting point for all external or internal communication activity we are planning to develop throughout the year.
What importance plays in general in your strategy the entrepreneurs and how do you tackle them?
Metro: The entrepreneurs play a crucial role within our business. All our partners work hard to develop healthy businesses, as well as building long-lasting relationships with their clients. As such, their stores become community hubs where people connect. The relationship between entrepreneurs and community members is very important for us and fundamental in our overall strategy.
What were the first steps and how did you find the BIG IDEA?
Porter Novelli: Keeping things authentic was the main goal throughout the entire creative process. So, we visited several LaDoiPași stores to immerse ourselves into the brand’s universe. We talked to the store owners, to the customers and observed how they interacted. One of the first things we noticed is that you could not tell the customer from the store clerk. The entire mood was friendly and quite intimate. You could see they were close and knew each other very well. They all came together as a team, as a local collective. This is how we came up with the idea to present the store as a hub, where members of the community come to socialize. In this new scenario the owner becomes the host.
What was your goal with this campaign and how do you intend to achieve it?
Porter Novelli: The “Suntem de-ai locului” campaign aims to reveal the other side of the network and to draw attention to the people behind it: what it really means to be a LaDoiPași entrepreneur. We wanted to show how owners, local independent entrepreneurs, relate to locals and how they build up the familiar feeling in their stores.
Please tell us more about the importance of the video platform in the overall campaign.
Porter Novelli: The video platform role is to support and strengthen our campaign message in online. We used video because it is an engaging content format that gives us a real-life picture of the relationship between entrepreneurs and community members; it’s also easy to share across multiple platforms.
What were the reason for choosing these influencers and how was your work with them?
Porter Novelli: The main criterion in choosing the influencers was relevance. We chose to work with Liviu Varciu, Andreea Mantea and CRBL, three local celebrities which fit the best with the LaDoiPași brand personality. They were incredibly easy to work with and so much fun to be around.