What brand? Research on the preferences of Russian consumers
29.08.2014 9260

What brand? Research on the preferences of Russian consumers

Do you know the Russian consumer well? Sure?! The international company Landor has conducted a global survey of the preferences of our compatriots and the results were quite amazing. About the attitude of Russians to brands - myths and realities, as well as about which strategy to promote goods to choose in the conditions of the anti-crisis syndrome among the population - in the material of Shoes Report.

Matthew Kissan, director of strategic development of the Moscow office of the international company Landor Associates, in whose client portfolio there are more than 100 well-known brands.

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From a business point of view, a brand is nothing more than a de facto monopoly. Under the current conditions, "brand monopoly" can be ensured solely through the implementation of a serious strategy and deep product promotion. As you know, the best plan is ... having a plan itself. To believe that a customer who has evaluated the quality of a product will remain loyal to the brand without any efforts on the part of the manufacturer is at least naive, at most stupid. The modern buyer is spoiled for choice: in order to sell him a product, it is not enough to rely only on the quality of the product; it is important to tell about its uniqueness.

The current state of consumers can be defined as a "post-crisis neurosis": people cannot truly believe in the future and refuse to appreciate the present. But this also means that real consumer preferences can radically change at the slightest change in the situation. The main reason for this “volatility” is the history of Russia itself. The older generations in the country are generally pessimistic and not at all because of their age. For example, in Western states, it is the elderly who are more optimistic than their young compatriots, who find it difficult to find a job and do not believe that the state will be able to provide them with a full package of services that their parents receive, which allows them to think more about consumption.

In Russia, the situation is different: observers have long noticed that young people in the country are much more positive. This is the generation of Russian citizens who were born in the second half of the 80s (and later), the so-called "thousand people". The independent consumer scale of this group was actively formed already in the 2000s (the usual milestone for such a scale is the age of 15 years). The number of this cohort exceeds 45 million. In fact, this is the only generation in the history of modern Russia whose consumer sentiments and expectations were formed on the rise, not on the decline. The main characteristic of all optimists is a high level of trust in brands. And not only because it will allow you to stand out favorably among the environment. Behind the trust in the brand of new generations is the trust in the usual price-quality ratio, in the authenticity of the brand itself and, which is also important, in saving time on purchases, including through online orders. Thus, brand trust becomes a rational consumer expectation.

Bears, Caviar and Rolex

“When we arrived in Russia to open a representative office of the company, we had a clear image of the Russian consumer in our head - a Prada bag, beluga caviar for breakfast and French champagne for lunch,” comments Matthew Kissant. - The reality turned out to be completely different. The stereotype of a Russian as an unsmiling person with a Rolex on his hand, formed in the West in the dashing 90s, is long gone. Today, the Russian consumer clearly correlates the concepts of price and quality and appreciates the origin and philosophy of the brand. " Therefore, before starting strategic planning for the promotion of international brands in the Russian market, Landor conducted a global study: both the results of its own survey of more than 2000 respondents throughout the country and the results of Rospotrebnadzor and Rosstat collected by them over the past year were used.

Country of contrasts

“Russia remains - a country of contrasts and contradictions. In the 20 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian consumer has come of age. He is no longer puppy about any new product from the West, he is becoming more and more knowledgeable in matters of quality and clearly aware of what he buys and what he gets in return. Russia has 143 million active consumers, and for the first time in the last 000 years, this figure is growing. Moreover, Russians are getting richer and willing to spend more money on consumer goods, ”continues Matthew Kissan.

Retail is the driving force behind the country's economy and is three times larger than the raw materials sector in terms of volume. According to Rosstat, Russia is already among the top three European countries with the largest consumption and is number one as of 2013, in categories such as mobile communications, dairy products, clothing and footwear.

According to company analysts, the most favorable opportunities for building a brand in Russia are now. But it’s important not just to transfer Western practices to local realities, but to look for new opportunities to promote the product, as Russian consumers have a unique set of needs.

1. The Russians prefer to buy Russian brands, but domestic companies are not able to provide them with goods of appropriate quality.

There is a powerful “food nationalism” in the world of Russian retail. Customers usually prefer to buy a Russian product if they have a choice. Almost half of the respondents believe that Russian brands understand their needs better, and every third respondent said that Western brands are not suitable for Russia at all. Consumers prefer domestic brands in more than half of the trade sectors, especially food (milk, groceries, vodka products), telecommunications, and banking services. Nevertheless, international brands continue to outperform Russian ones in all key metrics that were identified in the study (quality, value, uniqueness, etc.). So far, when choosing clothes and shoes, Russians are still guided by a Western manufacturer, but one should not deny the fact that interest in Russian designers is growing at an accelerated pace every year. Taking advantage of this interest for commercial purposes, shoe companies today often attract Russian designers to cooperation (read the article about shoe collaborations on page XX).

What to do. Russian brands must invest heavily in building brand integrity, focusing not only on creating a quality product but also on their own style. Meanwhile, Western brands must carefully consider how they can benefit from their origins and how they can “Russify” themselves.

2. Russian service is improving, but still behind the level of Western Europe and the USA

Russian service has always been the subject of ridicule, and both the residents of our vast homeland and rare tourists made fun of it. But the situation is changing. Analysts at the New York Times noted that "the new generation of service personnel in Russia - stewardesses, salespeople and waitresses - are more customer-oriented and polite." “Our research has shown that more than half of Russians (54%) believe that the quality of service in the country is growing, but still does not meet high international standards.

What to do: Without exception, all brands operating in the Russian market should take into account this need for quality service. By offering the client a high level of services, you can easily entice a customer who is not spoiled by attention to his side. Invest in efforts to improve the quality of service and staff training to meet changing customer requirements.

3. Brands do not yet dominate the price

Almost half of Russians are ready to pay more for quality, but the price in their minds remains the main motivator to buy. Nevertheless, according to Landor polls, our compatriots dislike the words “cheap” and “budget”. The vast majority of consumers feel uncomfortable buying items from budget brands. According to the survey participants, they have a particularly negative attitude towards inexpensive telephones and travel vouchers (while in the West, now there is a boom in democratic tours and telecommunications). “This suggests that brand democratization strategies that have succeeded in other markets will not work in Russia. Contrary to stereotypes, Russians are well-versed in the segment of expensive clothes and shoes, luxury goods. Many people choose to buy less, but better, and choose high-end brands in categories such as electronics, cars, shoes and cosmetics.

What to do. Brands should focus more on building a reputation for quality and value than on making the price of a play at the lower end of the spectrum or premium plays at the higher end.

4. Russians love their children and are willing to spend on them

According to a Landor survey, baby products are the third expense item for Russian families, after food and paying rent or a mortgage. In 2013, the population of Russia began to grow again for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russians do not like to save on children, almost half of the respondents confirmed this, categorically saying that for their children they would rather choose premium goods than budget brands.

What to do: Expand the product line with quality products for children. Another opportunity is to offer unique services for children in adult stores. Organize a children's corner in stores, come up with special loyalty programs for families with children. Oftentimes, inexpensive marketing ploys can be huge. In one of the episodes, we told that an impromptu sandbox with toys at the entrance of a shoe store doubled sales in the summer period - the kids pulled their mothers to an unusual object, and they had no choice but to enter the store.

5. Russians consume parsing

Russian companies understand very well what marketing is, but the idea of ​​a brand (or rather loyalty to it) remains a relatively new phenomenon in our market. A third of Russians admitted that they are always ready to “test” the product of a new brand. But that doesn't mean brand loyalty doesn't exist. Surveys have shown that it is much higher than that of Western consumers, for example, in the auto and electronic goods categories.

What to do: Now is a unique time to harness the power of a brand to retain customers. It is necessary to work on the brand image, on its style and aesthetics.

Go Russia!

Summing up the results, Landor analysts came to the conclusion that Russia is a country with great potential and ... a unique set of problems. Not everyone will be able to succeed in the race for the Russian consumer, it is important to understand that the power of branding has not yet been fully realized here. The battle should be fought for the hearts and minds of the Russian buyer, but only with an understanding of the nuances of the market, but also of the behavioral characteristics of residents who are becoming not only more demanding, but also wiser.

Do you know the Russian consumer well? Sure?! The international company Landor has conducted a global study of the preferences of our compatriots and the results were very ...
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