E-commerce is gaining momentum. Both regulation and its impact are hot topics among companies and in the press. BeCommerce, the Belgian sector federation for e-commerce, looked for ways of highlighting its expertise and the interests of its member companies in that debate. It built a communication strategy for this together with FINN that bore clear fruit:

Last year, our media appearances were 74% higher compared to 2018, accounting for 48% of the share of voice in the debate. BeCommerce is now the main point of contact for e-commerce in Belgium. The result is twofold: we have boosted consumer confidence and are now the point of contact for key stakeholders in the sector

Sofie Geeroms, managing director Becommerce

As an industry federation, BeCommerce aims to highlight the added value of e-commerce for businesses and boost consumer confidence in the sector.

E-commerce is more important than ever, but we have a huge gap in our country. The government realises this and wants to turn the tide. That is also where opportunities lie for us to make political statements and engage in public affairs

Sofie Geeroms

Evidence-based research

With that briefing in mind, BeCommerce partnered with FINN, which looked primarily at BeCommerce’s presence in the e-commerce debate. Among other things, we identified how often BeCommerce has already appeared in the media, with what messages, and how much share of voice different interest groups can claim on the topic.

Thanks to FINN’s painstaking research, we were able to draw up the first outlines, right from the very first meeting, to determine how BeCommerce could weigh in more on the debate around e-commerce and how we could convince our stakeholders that our country has more e-commerce potential than ever

Sofie Geeroms

Share of voice

The loudest voice is often the most important voice in the debate. FINN believes that share of voice is an important parameter for making a difference with stakeholders. The more often you show up in the public debate, the more often a stakeholder will keep you in mind when making important decisions.

“FINN is not just a partner and a sounding board, but also a source of inspiration

Sofie Geeroms, Becommerce

FINN worked out an integrated communication strategy with clear messages that aligns with BeCommerce’s objectives. Results are measured against clear KPIs, which are also benchmarked against competitors or similar organisations.

This resulted in a communication plan that relies on three ‘types’ of actions:

A strategy built around “moments of truth”

Together with BeCommerce, FINN determined deliberate moments and actions to communicate specifically to the press successfully . A good example is the development of the BeCommerce Market Monitor (BCMM), the quarterly benchmark survey of online consumer spending in Belgium.

By mapping segments for online consumer spending and information about the Belgian online buyer, FINN created stories that resonated with the press and where BeCommerce could make sense of the numbers using its expertise. This makes the monitor a reference document for everyone in the sector.

Sofie Geeroms, managing director Becommerce

Showing leadership through the managing director

An important extension of the communication strategy is the CEO or managing director. FINN fully prepared Managing Director Sofie Geeroms to articulate clear messages and positions in line with the strategy to various stakeholders.

VRT was the holy grail of media for us. With FINN’s help, we managed to get our messages out there in the runup to the Dag van de Webshop [Day of the e-Shop]. FINN has spent the past year positioning me as an e-commerce expert in a grounded manner. Thought leadership takes time, but ultimately, journalists will find their way to your organisation much faster.

Sofie Geeroms

This allowed Sofie Geeroms to convincingly make her mark in owned-, earned- and social media. She did so not only with expertise, but also by decisively responding to legislative initiatives or relevant lobbying dossiers. Among other things, she dared to speak out against the “Winkelhieren” (shop local) action set up by entrepreneurs’ organisation Unizo.

Converting opportunities

In a fast-moving media landscape, it is vital to have a quick and efficient presence in certain debates or events. Strategic communication allows you to take a position quickly and translate that into a message with impact for the right audience.

When PS President Paul Magnette claimed that Belgium should become a country without e-commerce, we immediately responded and thus co-directed the debate. That speed and flexibility characterise FINN, and it’s necessary. The agency keeps its finger on the pulse and is thus a useful sounding board as well as a source of inspiration.

Sofie Geeroms

Thanks to the strategic messages, BeCommerce managed to strengthen its position as an industry federation and e-commerce expert. Lastly, this has produced the following results:

Facts & figures

In the last year, BeCommerce achieved a whopping 48% share of voice – markedly more than other players in the e-commerce debate.

BeCommerce now appears in the media some 336 times a year, up 74% from 2018.

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