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
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
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
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.