Show 12. maj 2023

The Arla Digital Transformation Journey

Arla Foods


Arla Foods

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Vinder af Digital Transformation

BRONZE - Stakeholder management er måske et halvtørt udtrykt, men den indsats der er lagt i det fra Arla Foods side er intet mindre end imponerende. Man har skabt en cross-culture transformation, der bevæger sig videre fra strategien til reelle adfærdsændringer og kundeoplevelser, som bemærkes på tværs af landegrænser.

Vinder af Digital Organisation

SØLV - Sjældent skal så mange forskellige mennesker, markeder og kulturer mødes omkring en fælles strategisk rejse. At tage en decentral organisation og skabe en så central forankring og transparens hele vejen igennem virksomheden er både svært og stærkt, når det lykkedes.
Resultaterne taler da også deres eget klare sprog. Arla er lykkedes med at bringe alle sammen om den fortsatte udvikling; vi kvitterer med sølv.


Ever-changing consumer demands require new ways of working for businesses regardless of whether they sell robots, gadgets or milk.

So, how do you bring a 138-year-old dairy cooperative into the digital era, which fundamentally requires rethinking a radical different business model with new technology as the focal point?

For consumers and small businesses, it is relatively easy to adapt to a more digital approach to workflows, communication and processes, but for a large company with more than 18,000 employees worldwide, then well-established and proven processes can, in many ways, act as restricting chains.

In 2014, Arla’s management realized that radical consumer changes require radical adjustments. Arla’s products have always been an integral part of people’s lives, but Arla had no presence nor relevance in people’s increasingly digital lives.

So, if Arla were to continue being market leader a much stronger focus on digitals potential connecting consumers with brands were needed. Therefore, Arla’s Executive Board defined the vision for the digital transformation journey ahead:

"Unlocking technology's potential for Arla to be part of people's lives."

Moreover, to continuously measure progress towards the vision, the Executive Board outlined one overall KPI: 500 million digital consumer engagements achieved in 2020 - with a baseline below 50 million in 2014.

However, the digital endeavor didn’t have the best starting point. There was no digital organization established in Arla apart from a small team of webmasters. The digital maturity and digital readiness throughout the organization was close to non-existent. Furthermore, various advertising agencies had left more than 2,000 websites, microsites and social media accounts live across markets, sites that were left behind as soon as campaigns ended - making it completely impossible to manage global brands in digital channels.

At the same time, many different KPIs ruled in the organization, blurring a common direction. There were no structured approach or joint processes established to working with digital in either marketing, sales or IT. In marketing, classic campaign thinking prevailed and no assets were scaled or reused. In the sales department, eCommerce was far from part of the vocabulary. In IT, one did not think about martech solutions.

In general, the organization was in no way ready to succeed within digital marketing, so basically starting from scratch we were looking for the blueprint of how to drive digital transformation at global scale in a decentralized organization to secure continuous growth of 35 brands across 30+ markets.


To enable the organization to deliver digital engaging brand experiences across markets we needed to provide a scalable, sustainable setup.

We identified three interdependent levers to help reach the vision: A scalable martech PLATFORM to enable us to work with digital CONTENT at scale supporting all markets powered by a scalable DATA setup.

Driving a digital global brand presence requires a solid and shared foundation across markets. The first step towards a global ecosystem was to create a common martech platform requiring migration of 2,000 brand websites, local and global, into one global platform and we consolidated our presence with global pages in social.

We created one shared development model, shared digital leadership forum and roadmap to set a joint direction and secure buy-in from markets. To ensure consistent analytics and unified brand tracking we integrated all brands and markets into Google Marketing Suite.

CONTENT @scale
In order to secure a more visible role in our consumers’ everyday lives, we had to change the traditional campaign thinking. We established a global content model powered by always-on toolkits and implemented Percolate as the unified content planning and publishing solution across all brands and markets. The use and reuse of global assets have increased by 400% and has freed-up local creative development spend to be reinvested in working spend increasing our digital reach.

To drive digital content efficiency and secure fast and agile delivery, we created the global digital creative inhouse agency, The Barn, with hubs in Aarhus, Stockholm and Dubai including 20+ creative production specialists. The new inhouse model is boosting our digital engagements by enabling inflight creative optimization of our campaigns and will deliver 15 million DKK in savings in development spend this year.

DATA @scale
To create a common understanding of how digital success is measured and to secure “one digital truth” we established a unified KPI framework and launched the global dashboard Arla Datazine giving all marketers in Arla easy access and simple overview to digital performance data. Datazine covers 240 brand/market combinations and handles 250,000+ data points every day.

In order to utilize a stronger connection between media and content, we have insourced our digital media buying securing the invaluable data flow and feedback loop to enable branded consumer experiences derived directly from real-time performance and insights. The insourced media buying will deliver 65 million DKK in media efficiencies the next two years.


On operational level our efforts have secured one unified process and ways of working across markets enabling Arla to effectively deliver consistent, digital and data-driven brand experiences globally.

On business level the more efficient, consolidated and streamlined global operations have delivered significant savings that have been reinvested to accelerate the transformation journey and reach our 2020 target.

Selected business results:
Overall, our digital transformation journey have contributed to growth in Arla’s revenue of 4.8% from 2016 to 2018, equivalent to 1,6 billion DKK and Arla have delivered 14% improvement in marketing efficiency since 2016, equivalent to a benefit of 345 million DKK in 2018.

We have delivered 75% increase in digital engagements YoY from 82 million engagements in 2016 to 230 million engagements in 2018. The ambition is to reach 320 million engagements in 2019 and 500 million engagements in 2020.

By bringing media and content together inhouse we will deliver 80 million DKK in efficiencies through smarter media buying, inflight campaign optimization and agile content production.

Selected operational results:

PLATFORM @scale:

FROM 2,000+ brand websites and microsites across markets
TO One global, mobile and scalable platform, ensuring fast and cost-effective launches

FROM no digital direction or governance of owned channels
TO One global development model, shared digital leadership forum and roadmap to secure joint direction across markets

FROM an old Asset management system for image sharing
TO Global roll-out of Percolate to systemize content planning, briefings, production, and publishing across brands and markets

FROM inconsistent tracking and analytics
TO One unified data collection process and brand tracking across markets

CONTENT @scale:

FROM the traditional ATL focused campaign approach
TO a digital Always-on mindset including ongoing editorial calls and content planning for all markets

FROM no reuse of content across markets
TO a well-established process for share and reuse of best content across markets

FROM external content production and no synergies in content production
TO an internal creative agency established with global content production for brands in all markets

DATA @scale:

FROM no common digital KPI’s and inconsistent measurement
TO embedding of one global digital KPI framework

FROM no transparency on performance
TO detailed view on performance via Arla Datazine dashboard handling 240 market/brand accounts

FROM no best practice on media
TO establishment of global media guidelines

FROM media buying done by local agencies
TO insourcing of digital media buying and media buying hubs established in key markets

Arla Foods

Global Digital & The Barn

Arla Foods

Global Digital & The Barn


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