Saving and investing are two sides of the same coin

'A publishing house becomes a think tank. Landwirtschaftsverlag Münster is changing vigorously without cutting the roots of its business. Saving and investing go hand in hand, brands are being modernized and processes automated.' This is the headline of the media service Kress in the current issue of its magazine kress pro (10/2022), which analyzes the future viability of the group of companies.

'The trade publisher has developed into a lively media company,' Kress judges. The program has become broader and deeper, he adds. The group now offers media and service providers along the entire food value chain - from production and processing to consumption. For the future, he said, there are three major goals: expanding paid content models and digital revenue models, further developing the LV think tank, and developing a first-class management culture.

'We are very pleased with the evaluation of our work by the critical media professionals at Kress and will do everything in our power to continue on our successful path,' commented the two equal managing directors Dr. Ludger Schulze Pals and Malte Schwerdtfeger on the media service's analysis.

The transformation from a pure print publisher to a multifaceted media company is in full swing. The group now generates 20% of its total sales (around €117 million in 2021) from digital offerings in its three divisions: Agriculture (flagship top agrar), Food (core brand Lebensmittel Praxis) and Landleben (most important title Landlust). 'The spin-off of LV digital is representative of this. In the meantime, 70 people work there and develop the platform business with established and new brands such as Traktorpool (used machinery exchange), Rimondo, (network for horse breeding and horse sports), Landreise (brokerage of offers for rural vacations) or Landverliebt (partner exchange for rural areas),' outlines Malte Schwerdtfeger.

If you want to earn money as a trade publisher with digital offerings, you have to provide subscribers with useful solutions to their everyday problems. 'We know these because we regularly ask readers. The results are then our work orders, which we then implement step by step in the new top agrar digital unit. In this unit, IT, marketing and media sales experts have been successfully working together door to door and hand in hand for more than a year,' says Ludger Schulze Pals, describing the approach. A whole new spirit of collaboration has emerged.

But for the future, new ideas for new business models are also needed. 'That's why we have launched the LV Ideenschmiede. It consists of the three formats #Innovatorscamp, LV Connect and Idea Builder,' explains Malte Schwerdtfeger. #Innovatorscamp regularly invites guests from the startup scene who deal with topics that are or could be of interest to our business. LV Connect aims to intensify interdisciplinary exchange within the company. The Idea Builder is an in-house innovation program into which ideas are fed, tested and, if necessary, realized.

It is clear to those responsible that the implementation of the corporate strategy will not succeed without a good management culture. 'We have a clear leadership model, fill management positions only after a detailed selection process, and provide regular coaching and training for our managers,' says Cord Brandes, head of HR, explaining the concept. In addition, a 270-degree feedback was carried out for the first time last year. Employees evaluate the leadership performance of their superiors, and the superiors evaluate themselves. 'The decisive factor at the end is the exchange of results. This has once again brought completely new insights that each individual is now implementing,' says Cord Brandes.