Colruyt Group Transforms Marketing Operations for 30 Brands

Kathleen Bauwens, Business Application Manager at Colruyt Group, shows us the strategic shift to a new service model, revolutionizing creative processes and enhancing efficiency for a vast retail network.

Colruyt Group requires complex & accurate graphic production for its large-scale operations

The struggle - Managing complex creative workflows across 30 brands

The Colruyt Group, a Belgian retail giant, faced the daunting task of driving brand consistency and creative productivity across its 30 diverse brands in various sectors. Kathleen Bauwens and her in-house agency team were up against a mammoth challenge: managing the creative processes for more than 280 marketing professionals who were working on over 1500 campaigns annually.

This created a complex environment, likened to a 'big messy bowl of spaghetti', which needed to be untangled to streamline operations and enhance efficiency.

‘Leading from the front, rising from the ranks’ - this is how we adopt a completely new way of working - the new normal for Colruyt Group.

Kathleen Bauwens

@ Colruyt Group

The solution - A streamlined service model and technological upgrade

Faced with the complexity of managing diverse brand requirements and an overwhelming volume of creative tasks, Colruyt Group initiated a comprehensive change program. This program was not just a mere adjustment but a radical transformation in their approach to marketing operations.

The cornerstone of this transformation was the integration of state-of-the-art technology and a pioneering service model. Colruyt Group reimagined their workflow into three distinct pathways: Co-creation, Self-service, and Bespoke projects. Each pathway was designed to cater to varying levels of creative involvement and complexity, ensuring a more tailored approach to each brand's unique needs.

  • Co-creation Pathway: This pathway facilitated collaborative efforts between the in-house agency and brand teams. It was ideal for campaigns that required a high level of creativity and brand insight, fostering a synergy between strategic vision and creative execution.
  • Self-service Pathway: Empowering brand marketers was the essence of the self-service model. Here, marketers were given the tools and autonomy to handle routine creative tasks. This pathway was supported by smart templates for recurrent publications, allowing marketers to generate consistent, on-brand materials efficiently.
  • Bespoke Projects: For highly specialized and unique marketing initiatives, the bespoke pathway was established. This approach allocated dedicated resources from the in-house agency to work on intricate, one-of-a-kind projects that demanded a higher level of creative expertise.

Through these strategic interventions, Colruyt Group not only optimized its marketing operations but also instilled a culture of creative autonomy and efficiency. The solution was a testament to their commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

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The results - Transformative operational efficiency

The strategic overhaul at Colruyt Group yielded results that were nothing short of revolutionary, fundamentally altering the landscape of their marketing operations. The implementation of their new service model and technology not only met but exceeded expectations in numerous ways.

A significant and immediate impact was observed in the independence and efficiency of the brand marketers. Empowered by the new system, these professionals were now capable of executing a staggering 80% of creative tasks for projects like themed magazines independently, this accounted for 25% of creative service requests.

Moreover, the reorganization led to the automation of 35% of recurring orders and perhaps one of the most transformative aspects of this overhaul was the reallocation of resources within the in-house agency. With the reduced demand for their involvement in routine tasks, 40% of the agency’s resources could now be dedicated to more creatively demanding bespoke projects.

This shift not only allowed the agency to delve deeper into creative exploration and innovation but also provided an opportunity for team members to engage in more fulfilling and challenging work.

The cumulative effect of these changes was a marked increase in operational efficiency across the board and a palpable rejuvenation of the creative spirit within the marketing team.

Colruyt Group’s journey is a testament to the power of strategic vision and innovation in reshaping the future of retail marketing.

Company profile

Founded in 1928, Colruyt Group is a family business which, over three generations, has grown into a retail group with 774 owned stores, more than 33,000 co-workers, and a diverse portfolio of food and non-food formulas in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Consumers can go to one of the more than 40 Colruyt Group store formulas, web shops or services at every stage of their lives. Every brand has its own identity, but our underlying mission, values and principles are the same. In this way every brand contributes to our aim for ‘simplicity in retail'.

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