E-baker is the recipient of the Digital Award, in the Digital Image category, given by Lesaffre globally and it is also the winner of the Disrupt Award, in the Industry and Production category, as a successful innovator in 2020.
We are witnesses to rather peculiar circumstances in the business world that have been lasting for almost two years now. Milena Obradović, Regional Marketing Manager OCEA Oriental & Central Europe Zone Lesaffre RS, which is a global leader in the production of yeast and yeast extracts, tells us how the company is adapting to new conditions every day and how they communicate in challenging times.
How much has the communication and operations in Lesaffre changed in the past period and in what way?
The changes that have taken place have further expedited the digitalization process, which has already entered all business segments. This gave us the additional impetus to launch the E-baker (E-pekar) platform, a new communication medium, in December last year, after we had realized that we needed to be close to our clients and work on disseminating their knowledge and skills. Today, this learning platform has about 250 registered users, including bakers and people who are yet to become one, as well as students of bakery technology. Our platform has an interactive approach and we upload the content in video format and have live webinars. We also have a motivational programme, where we reward bakers with gifts once they collect a certain number of points that they can use in our virtual e-shop. E-baker is the recipient of the Digital Award, in the Digital Image category, given by Lesaffre globally and it is also the winner of the Disrupt Award, in the Industry and Production category, as a successful innovator in 2020.
What makes the E-baker platform so unique and who is it intended for?
Lesaffre has created this innovative portal as a platform for educating everybody who wants to learn something new and improve their existing skills through webinars for university and high school students, and video content for bakeries. The lectures cover topics like bread-making and different types of pastries, and the lecturers are renowned figures from the world of baking and production.
“In Serbia, we plan to organize several events and seminars on the topic of portfolio development and business improvement”
So far, twelve video lessons for professional bakers and four webinars for university and high school students have been uploaded to the platform. We are planning to start recording new video lessons and hold more webinars. Thanks to having technology experts and other lecturers from the industry, course participants are given the opportunity to improve their knowledge and receive a certificate upon completion of the course.
To what extent has communication and attitudes towards customers and associates changed?
Maintaining and developing business relationships implies constant contact and support in the entire system and we are very focused on that. During the lockdown, we had regular telephone contacts with customers, helping them “remotely” as much as we could. When the market opened, we continued our regular field trips and strategically directed our plans towards our customers and their activities. We have successfully launched in Lesaffre Serbia two new revolutionary products based on sourdough, which we believe will completely meet the expectations of the modern consumer – they are healthy, contain no E-additives, and have extended freshness and intense aroma and taste.
What are your company’s plans?
We think that 2022 will be quite similar to 2021. We hope that the conditions will normalize, so we can continue with more intensive activities. In Serbia, we plan to organize several events and seminars on the topic of portfolio development and business improvement. In the Q4 of next year, we will start collecting applications for the 4th Pekarijada competition. We will organize more online gatherings with representatives of the digital community of end consumers. Lesaffre’s ‘Let’s Bake Together’ (‘Mesimo Zajedno’) community on Facebook has almost 100,000 followers and close to 20,000 followers on Instagram. As time passes, digital gatherings have become the primary channel of communication and socializing, and we will continue to use them a lot. Although baking is considered a traditional activity, Lesaffre has shown that even in our industry we have to follow trends, that we do it successfully and will continue doing so in the future.