How BrandLab Is Bringing People to the Table Digitally

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The first speakeasy hidden within an ecommerce platform

No matter where in the world you are, there is one thing that never fails to bring people together. Beyond differences across cultures, the emotions that come from sharing food are universal—it’s an opportunity to connect with others, and is an important bonding activity for any community. But with quarantines and social distancing guidelines continuing in many parts of the world, food and beverage brands faced the same challenge: how to connect with people when getting together is off the table

The way people gather and connect has undoubtedly changed. So, through our BrandLab partnership with Mercado Libre—Latin America's dominant ecommerce platform—we helped beverage brand Diageo and cookware brand Jade Cook find meaningful ways to connect with consumers. The recipe for success? A digital destination that provides brand-new experiences for shoppers.

Spark Curiosity Through Exclusivity

To improve the user experience within Mercado Libre and motivate consumers to learn more about Diageo—one of the world’s largest producers of spirits and beers—we developed Speakeasy Market, a digital destination like no other. “Just like 100 years ago, restrictions are preventing us from enjoying bars, so millions of Mexicans are now purchasing spirits in Mercado Libre,” says Creative Director Pablo Tajer. “We know this trend is here to stay, and it inspired us to replicate the speakeasy concept online.” Hidden within the platform, shoppers can only access the brand’s landing page with a secret code. Once inside, they get exclusive benefits like free shipping and recipes to prepare cocktails at home.

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    A landing page where users can get cocktail recommendations based on their taste

    Users can get a personalized recommendation based on their taste and budget.

    “With Speakeasy Market, shoppers can enjoy special discounts and unique recipes through video tutorials,” adds Digital Producer Matías Villagra Herrera. “The catalog and cocktails are constantly renewed, so there’s always something new to find.” But just like any speakeasy, this one has its rules. To keep the site secret, consumers were asked to be discreet and share the link only with people they trust—guaranteeing the exclusivity of the first virtual liquor store on the ecommerce platform. “By limiting access in the first stage, we created more buzz, engagement and media coverage,” explains Tajer. 

    Speakeasy Market helped improve the brand’s position on the platform, but to make it work, influencers were key in finding consumers where they are. During the first week of the campaign, they were the only ones who knew how to access the site—and through their Instagram accounts, they gave their audiences subtle clues to figure out the secret codes, which had to be typed into Mercado Libre’s search box. This is a great example of how new rituals and habits open the door to innovation. In doing so, customer-obsessed organizations always have an easier time finding their consumers and figuring out how to engage them. 

    Motivating Consumers With Real Interaction

    Think about your favorite recipe. Maybe it’s your father’s risotto, or your grandma’s chicken pie. Perhaps it’s one you came up with yourself. Either way, there’s nothing quite as emotionally powerful as one’s favorite foods and the memories that come with them. For food brands, finding ways to evoke those feelings and truly connect with people are key parts of their job—and it can’t be done through TV ads alone.

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      Monk Thoughts At a time in which we’re talking about cryptocurrencies, online payments and ewallets, we found an opportunity to connect with consumers through something that had never been monetized before: their recipes.

      From mobile ads to creative content, BrandLab facilitated Jade Cook’s virtualization, putting Mercado Libre at the center of the experience. The core element of this transformation is a hub within the platform, where shoppers can find all the information they need about the products they’re interested in, with each purchase just one click away. More importantly, the landing page features video content on the brand’s top offers. One of them is the “Cook With Taste” campaign: if customers share a recipe alongside a photo of a completed dish made using Jade Cook cookware, they receive a rebate of 15% of the cost of the cookware used.

      “At a time in which we’re talking about cryptocurrencies, online payments and ewallets, we found an opportunity to connect with consumers through something that had never been monetized before: their recipes,” says Tajer. In addition to getting a discount—and as the main ingredient on a broader user-centric strategy—shoppers will become part of the brand’s first user-made cookbook. “Recipes have always been valuable, but more so now than ever.” 

      Available in both print and digital, the cookbook represents a unique way in which brands can interact with their customers and build loyalty. To power its journey toward virtualization, Jade Cook focused on the most valuable aspect of its products: the food people make with them. As a brand with almost no previous online presence, having this clear North Star helped guide their efforts through an equally demanding and necessary process. 

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        Jade Cook's promotional banner

        When customers share a recipe, they get a rebate of 15% of the cost of the cookware used.

        About the benefits of Jade Cook’s hub within Mercado Libre, Tajer explains, “New and existing shoppers can explore all the possibilities that the brand has to offer, which ultimately is BrandLab’s goal.” Jade Cook’s and Diageo’s landing pages are not the first ones to go live. Not long ago, the team released the L’Oréal Paris “Beauty Click” site, a digital destination for beauty product enthusiasts that balances commerce with content, such as makeup tutorials. Although each hub is designed according to the client’s needs, they all answer to a very clear, pressing urgency to facilitate the space for people to interact with the brand—and with each other. Once that space is provided, the customer experience is determined by the brand’s ability to evoke the right emotions and create something as engaging as food itself.

        A Consumer Centric Experience Brings People Together

        The customer experience is continually evolving—which means your strategies to reach consumers should, too. As long as your brand efforts are rooted in delivering high-quality, exciting experiences to consumers, you’ll be on the right track. For both Diageo and Jade Cook, the approach is ideally suited to helping the user make a more informed purchase decision—all through a disruptive strategy that attracts new consumers.

        “Jade Cook’s main channel used to be TV commercials,” explains Digital Producer Matías Herrera. “But with TV, the consumer is limited to being a spectator, so we wanted to give them a chance to become the protagonist and truly interact with the brand in a way they weren’t able to before.” That’s the spirit of a consumer centric approach, and of BrandLab as a whole: to meet people’s changing needs, differentiate the brand and drive loyalty.

        Particularly with a millennial audience, the desire to discover new things can be one of the most important emotional impulses driving their decision making. From rewarding the culinary creativity of consumers to creating an exciting, exclusive space within a popular platform—and everything in between—brands can engage their customers and evoke feelings of closeness that will build a stronger connection with them. Throughout this process, one thing is contingent to success: opening up the space for interaction.

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