Thomas Heilskov, director and head of digital at Arla, said, "It's a new era in digital marketing and media buying. Until now, most of our creative media production has been handled by agencies with talented staff, who have also bought advertising space for us. We're changing that now.
"Consumer behavior and attitudes to food products are constantly changing, and this places new demands on us. We need to get closer to the consumers and be able to respond more quickly to new trends. 'The Barn' will bring our creative production and buying of media advertising space closer to the heart of our business, and thereby closer to consumers. It will also give us a more flexible setup, so we can react faster to market trends."
Arla already started insourcing digital marketing in Sweden last year. The new ambitions are based on the positive experiences of that initiative. However, the new inhouse agency does not mean Arla is saying goodbye to all the agencies with which it has worked. The Barn will mainly focus on producing content for digital channels, formulating concepts and strategies, and digital media buying, so there will still be tasks to be solved in close cooperation with the external agencies with which Arla works.
For Arla, the benefit of establishing The Barn is partly financial. Last year, the dairy cooperative launched the transformation program Calcium with the aim of making the cooperative more efficient and competitive. The Calcium program will look at all aspects of the business to identify ways to save money by transforming working methods.
"It's no secret that Arla always focuses on costs. We're a cooperative owned by farmers, so the more money we make, the more they benefit. As part of the Calcium program, we've looked at the marketing workflows, and we see an opportunity to do things cheaper and better in this area by creating our own advertising agency," Heilskov said.
The new agency will be based at Sønderhøj in Viby, Aarhus, where Arla's head office is also located. It will work closely with Danish and international brand managers on creative development and media buying for Arla's Danish and global brands.