Spain ranks second on the list of European countries in volume of aquaculture fish production, but even so, consumer volumes are so high that it has to import 43% of the products it needs, meaning this is a sought-after market for Turkish and Greek producers who have lower costs than the Spanish and sell products at highly volatile prices, placing national producers at risk because of this. The Spanish aquaculture trade does it best, but it cannot compete on cost and price alone.
DIFFERENTIATION as an alternative.
Differentiation and segmentation is one of the big alternatives for competition based solely on cost/price. But, how to differentiate Spanish aquacultural products such as bass, gilthead and sea bass? The answer was that consumers would value what they consider as QUALITY in fish products – FRESHNESS.
It is not by chance that the new common EU fishing policies 2014-2020 emphasise the values of freshness, proximity and health in aquaculture.
The closer the fresher.
The strategy for ensuring differentiation based on a key value was never easier – all we had to do was inform consumers of the origin of the product in question.
A Spanish-grown bass or gilthead means that it has to be FRESHER than those brought from abroad. It is simply a question of proximity.
Now what we had to do was communicate this, but this involved two factors that weren’t that easy to work out: first, Spain’s sea bass and gilthead production is sold fresh and “as is”, that is, in bulk on ice through fish shops, making it impossible in practise (even though legal information is included in price markings) to differentiate a Spanish fish 24 hours out of the sea from, say, a Turkish fish 3 or 4 days out of the water. To differentiate them, we proposed an identifying mark for each piece, but with a concept different from the one used in 2007, changing its content and design, focusing on the strategic concept of “Our Seas” and using the colours of the Spanish flag.
The second thing we had to do was to communicate this to the mass media, i.e., what a bass, sea bass or gilthead with this hallmark at the POS actually meant. For this we designed a communication campaign, whose first success was the mere fact that it got off the ground, as behind it were 25 companies in the trade who saw this as a road to the future, involving differentiation and the hallmark strategy, advertising and perseverance.
Our first campaign.
The first thing we did was to visit both traditional and modern distributors, explaining the campaign and asking for their support.