Scaling a marketing operating model for integrated comms

In the span of just over two years, we've lead a deep transformation in Danone's marketing operations. We helped Danone redefine their marketing strategy, implement it at a global and local level, and, most importantly, instill a culture of collaboration that will continue to drive their success in the years to come. This success story stands as a testament to the power of thinking strategicallly and executing tactically and the remarkable results that can be achieved through partnership, dedication, and innovation. Together with Danone, we look forward to the continued growth and success of their brands on a global scale.

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The Challenge

In today's ever-evolving business landscape, where brand distinctiveness relies heavily on effective marketing, the challenges of crafting meaningful communications have surged in complexity. This has left marketing teams stretched to their limits. Working in silos across brands and agencies was leading to underperforming campaigns and marketing actions, both nationally and globally.

This lack of internal collaboration resulted in lack of specialization to maximise the opportunities of digital and integrated communications, as well as inconsistent brand experiences, coupled with soaring costs.

The solution

Reinvent Danone's marketing approach with three critical strategies:

  • Cultivating cross-team collaboration by bringing together internal and external talent:marketers, strategists, creatives, media experts, and business analysts in one collaborative workspace.
  • Standardizing successful working dynamics (WoW) across different countries and teams.
  • With an eye on efficiency: ensuring an efficient use of A&P budget.

A transformational process from a traditional agency-of-reference (AOR) model working autonomously for each brand towards a shared-resources approach opening doors to working with a rooster of highly-specialised agencies, leveraging the power of scale.


Our journey with Danone began with a thorough analysis of their existing marketing strategies and operations. We conducted extensive interviews, analyzed the marketing structure and budget split to gain deep insights into Danone's marketing landscape. This allowed us to develop a clusterization of markets according to their marketing maturity, readiness to change and willingness to embrace the challenge.

Q4 2020
To break down barriers within the group, over the following weeks we crafted a prototype operating model, in close collaboration with the existing agencies in Danone's ecosystem. This operating model would be effective for each country's particularities. We designed a modular change management methodology to reflect the individual needs of the different countries, and ensure early successes were shared to promote the adoption of the new model.

H1 2021
D_Studio's deployment in the initial 'pilot' nations—Brazil, the UK, Spain, and Germany—serves as a trailblazing model for others to emulate. These early adopters were carefully chosen as ambassadors due to their prior forays into innovative marketing approaches. They had not only demonstrated their capacity for transformation but had also gained invaluable insights into the challenges they faced, making them especially receptive to external support.

H2 2021
As our efforts continued, the new operating model gained substantial momentum within the organization, prompting a growing number of countries to seek our guidance. These countries presented diverse starting points, pushing the boundaries of the proposed model and requiring tailored approaches to accelerate implementation

2022 Synergy
In order to make a real cultural change and overcome resistance, global management was actively engaged in driving the development of D_Studio. We involved local managers in the program through meetings, regular updates and the co-creation of country-specific plans.

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