Danone is a multinational food and drink company that is home to brands such as Activia, Alpro, Evian, and Volvic.
It operates markets in 120 countries and regions and is supported by 10,000s of employees around the world.
With greater and greater expectations put on the shoulders of brands when it comes to having a digital presence, Danone has the even greater difficulty of centralizing its brands and processes across its many brands and markets.
To achieve this, Danone needed the right technology.
The multinational was using Contentful for its content management system as well as Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) for its digital asset management system for its dairy brands.
Instead of seeking out another digital platform, it decided to find ways to extend Contentful and AEM in order to unify its brand catalog.
First up, Danone created a content library, content models, and a central design system that any worker in a brand team can use to quickly build and edit new websites.
This gives each brand within Danone flexibility when it comes to content creation and style, saving both time and money on building completely separate frameworks.
Through Contentful, content creators at Danone now have the freedom to work using a range of pre-built templates.
“Contentful offers flexibility while still keeping things aligned within individual brands,” said Marcos Mellado, the tech lead at the digital agency that Danone works with.
It also provides more balance – it has plenty of features that support brands that are looking to move into new markets.
A brand is now able to manage websites in multiple languages while using the same content models of the brand.
Next up on the list was to recreate a website of one of its brands, YoPRO, the high-protein, low-sugar yogurt.
They first built an integration between Contentful’s content platform and AEM’s asset management system.
Following this, they proofed the concept of reusability by using the design system and codebase of the website for Activia – another one of Danone’s yogurt brands that is powered by Contentful. This was used to build the new YoPRO site.
“We chose to duplicate and revamp, rather than build the YoPRO site from scratch,” said Melanie Gorka, experience design director at the digital agency. “In sticking to our atomic design and user experience principles, we worked fast and with efficiency.” The site was launched after just two months – half the time that it took to launch Activia’s website.
“Our experience with the Activia site helped us better account for localization and optimization concerning design codes and content models,” added Melanie. “We wanted to make sure there was flexibility for content creators across different markets and locales.”
“Changes made in one brand site or locale will have no impact on any other site,” added Marcos. “If a bug is introduced in one brand’s site, it won’t regress into another brand site.”
It also makes maintenance more efficient. “If we find an issue with one of the modules that we created,” said Marcos, “fixing it for one brand automatically means that it gets fixed for every single Danone brand. Easier maintenance means Danone can grow its web presence sustainably.”
An API-first approach
The not-so-secret behind the success was Contentful’s API-first approach, which supports smooth integration with almost all modern tools.
“Contentful lets us build something very quickly – plus it has a lot of the best tools already built-in,” said Marcos. “All three tools that we’re using – Netlify, Gatsby and Contentful – play nicely together. We rely on webhooks; whenever a content creator makes an update, that automatically triggers a build in Netlify. It’s a continuous deployment system for content.”
Yet they have been fast to get team members up to speed with the software involved. “The team at Contentful has done an amazing job at making the tools provided to external developers be as simple and streamlined as possible,” added Marcos, “and they’re very well documented.”