The Great In-House Bet

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Today many companies bet on In-House teams to develop communication and digital strategies. Lala has gone one step further creating the first Digital Command Center in Mexico operated by the agency Beker/Socialand. We visited their new offices to chat with Alex Aleman, Corporate Digital Strategy Manager.

AW360: For start, what is the Digital Command Center?

AA: The DCC is a project that started a couple of years ago in Lala, where the objective was to develop digital strategies in in-house operations. We have the benefit of having data from all of our campaigns and making them a full part of the company. Previously we worked with agencies and we felt that we were decentralized, we were looking for greater agility in the digital experience operation, now we create our campaigns based on an internal strategy that we operate ourselves. We have a creative team, a digital intelligence and content team, but also a contact center, where we are incorporating digital media into our customer service and the purchase of digital media.

AW360: The DCC is unique at least in the Mexican market, what is its objective?

AA: At the level of Mexican brands we are pioneers, our goal is to work in a vertical scheme where we build as a digital agency. Some brands can only have their social listening and others their media agency, we take all the disciplines that are part of Lala, working a lot in the cultural so that people integrate day by day.

We seek greater efficiency and transparency by having everything at first hand, having answers from the digital environment.

AW360: What is the advantage or difference of this model to the In-House model that other companies are implementing?

AA: This effort is being recognized by other companies, we have had visits from others who come to know this model with Socialand as allies, it generates a lot of value because by teaming up with agencies we create a single team.

AW360: Something that characterizes Lala is innovation, in this field what is the role of the DCC?

AA: One of the things we see is that the conception of the project was a matter of digital operation and we began to transform to serve all areas of the company, not just MKT. We work for internal communication, public relations, finance, product innovation, we help research areas to know trends in the market or certain ingredients to feed back to the areas and that they can look for in the data innovation.

We also help lower costs when we do business, support by evaluating suppliers, etc.

This scheme is collaborative, for example, there are hero campaigns that are very important for Lala where we ask support from creative agencies that give us an idea, the DCC takes it and executes it to permeate to the digital channels in a liquid concept that suits what we seek.

AW360: You mentioned having an intelligence team, how does that team generate value?

AA: We have managed to get the company into the digital world quickly, because Lala was a very traditional company with a mayor investment in traditional media. The idea was to incorporate in a short term a functional team for the execution, we brought the best talents to accelerate the adoption in the company that is one of the main values. We generate value in cost reduction, in addition the directors have a closeness to what happens in the digital world, we sit hand in hand with them not only in campaigns but also in inventories and innovation, adding value also as knowledge.

Besides, not everything is for the MKT department, we do things for other areas of the company that also generates a perceptive value that gives us more internal customers. Thanks to this we have reached regional Lala, we already have USA and Central America because we support the regions where we have presence, sharing our knowledge to improve and grow the company worldwide.

AW360: Do you see any added value in having your own media team?

AA: The company is modernizing and is expanding its objective, internally we talked to the traditional mom as a center that cares, now we also want to talk to the millennial mom who consumes less traditional media, even though it is important, the attention is migrating to digital channels so we must have a balance in the media plan that responds to reality where the consumer consumes more digital channels.

AW360: Have you developed new product ideas?

AA: We have many internal studies on trends and new forms of consumption, this area of intelligence that monitors in real time also does research, for example, a brand asks us to investigate the trend in vegetable milks, we do the research and direction it to the next development.

AW360: Do you think the DCC has a direct impact on the creative process they are currently managing with their agencies?

AA: It is part of what we see together with the creative agencies, but we see modernization in a positive way. We adopt the creative ideas and transform them into liquid ideas that permeate different channels, gives us a close relationship with them to exchange ideas from the first touch point, be present and make sure it flows, the challenge is for agencies to incorporate this new relationship that is not only a client who gives you a brief but helps you solve it.

AW360: What is the future for this Digital Command Center?

AA: It will follow a natural evolution, growing in terms of the services that can be offered within the company, becoming a strategic area that will help the brand to position itself and make it meet and exceed its participation in digital.

We are using big data to make campaigns and actions much more precise and punctual. A multichannel alternative that will allow us to consolidate.

AW360: Are you happy with your work?

AA: It has been a great road because I have seen how the company has been transformed, we accelerated and I found a company that was willing to change and nobody was afraid, they wanted to adopt digital and today we are all focused on that and drives us to generate more transformation. I’ve never been happier.

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