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Emma Beckmann
Country Director,
based in Landor Moscow

 

MatthewKissane-2x2

Matt Kissane
Strategy Director,
Landor Moscow

Trends in Russia

November 18, 2013

As Russia’s march toward market maturity continues, branding will catch up with Western norms and best practices. Design will become simpler and less fussy, branding will be understood more holistically, and greater attention will be paid to service and customer experience.

Homegrown domination 

According to Landor’s market research, Russian consumers have a strong preference for homegrown brands in major fast-moving consumer goods categories such as groceries, snacks, soft drinks, dairy, and spirits (particularly vodka). This has led the premium supermarket chain Azbuka Vkusa and other established retailers to expand their private label offers. International contenders should consider investing in Russia-oriented brands, which are already positioned to celebrate local origins. 

Domestic brands will also dominate service categories such as telecom and broadband. International brands have traditionally shied away from this area because of the considerable bureaucracy involved. Tech-savvy Russian companies like Yota will be setting a new standard in the sphere of 4G connectivity, but they will need to focus on brand building to avoid becoming commoditized.

Style and status

International brands continue to outrank domestics on key metrics such as quality, value, innovation, and prestige. This leaves them strongest in status-driven categories where purchases are infrequent, such as cars, electronic equipment, and fashion. Russian players remain marginal in these areas, but are starting to challenge Western hegemony over branded apparel. International leaders should keep a close eye on style trends in Russia. 

Serving the masses

Self-service options will continue to pop up everywhere, with leading financial brands like Sberbank even offering automated, passport-verified loans. Customer service will remain paramount to consumers; expertise and politeness are cited in research as far more important than speed or independence. In Russia, technological advances are no replacement for well-trained personnel. 

Brand Russia at the Olympic Games

The winter Olympic Games in Sochi will provide Russia with the first major opportunity to show off its post-Soviet glory, and Sochi’s national partner and supplier brands will be on the world stage. Consumer-facing brands such as Baltika beer and Aeroflot can expect to benefit most from a spike in global interest for all things Russian. 

With a patriotic domestic audience swept along on a wave of national pride, brands would be wise to “go native” this year. Despite increasing calls for international sponsors to condemn Russia’s human rights record, Sochi will prove a pivotal moment for its affiliated brands, and for Russia itself.

 

 

 

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