CAN YOU COMPARE THE MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MARKETS OF BULGARIA AND THE ADRIATIC REGION? WHAT ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES?
It is not convenient to compare marketing communication as it is the result of a business and brand strategy for different markets. It also varies and is influenced by a number of factors – the development of categories, competition and more. Let’s not forget that the Adriatic region is quite fragmented and consists of several countries and markets, within which there are many specifics that affect marketing communication. While there is a noticeable increase in various forms of digital communications, in terms of investing in this area as well as qualitative parameters, what I could still cite as similarity is that television still has a large number of viewers and importance among a specific target audience. Brands strive to reach audiences with the most relevant content (e.g. increasing video content), based on the overall trend of global/regional campaigns conduction. Therefore, the question “how to localize resources in the most appropriate local way” depends on the brand creators.
One difference is that there are a number of local brands in the Adriatic region, many of which belong to local companies. They have survived for decades and it is amazing how much they participate in building a historic national heritage. In my opinion, this is a very correct approach. Even those who are part of a portfolio of multinational companies (e.g. Začin C) are proud of being produced locally (communication approach), but adding to the expertise of one global company. In Bulgaria, what has been a trend over the past few years, and I can proudly point out that Nestlé is among the top trendsetting companies in this country, is that “non-standard is the new standard”. This means that the media mix is not only television, print, outdoor (traditional channels), but also manifestations such as outdoor events and major festivals. In this manner, we seak the best solution of the brands representation while remaining in the sphere of ”native” communication. Many Nestlé brands have thus strengthened their presence in terms of content within the broadcast program as opposed to standard advertising blocks.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND HABITS OF CONSUMERS IN THESE MARKETS?
It is an issue that addresses a very wide area. Overall, consumers are very traditional, respectful and indulge in strong food and culinary heritage (in terms of preparation technique, frequency, recipes). Across the region, more than 80 percent of people cook at home during the week. But of course there are differences when it comes to the most popular groceries such as meat, dairy, bread and vegetables. What is interesting is that our daily concerns, such as food prices and utilities, and let’s not forget that family and household are at the core of our attention, bring new ones such as life balance. This, again, is indirectly related to the eating habits and time we devote to caring for our family.
TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THESE MARKETS CULTURALLY DIFFERENT WHEN IT COMES TO CONSUMING AND BUYING CONSUMER GOODS? WHY IS ONE PRODUCT NOT SOLD EQUALLY IN ALL MARKETS?
As I stated earlier, there are many similarities that mostly stem from historical heritage, but there are also many differences that shape consumer habits. I would mention the spice category – in the countries of the Adriatic region there was a tradition of using this type of product, established earlier with well-known brands, while in Bulgaria this segment was introduced in the 1990s. So the starting point is not the same, namely the levels of penetration, frequency of use and volume per cooking occasion. This brings us to a different business situation, which means that approaches and expectations should be different. Yes, business opportunities in less developed markets/categories are great, but achieving sustainable profitable growth takes time, patience and consistency of business.
HOW DIFFERENT ARE NESTLÉ’S MARKETING STRATEGIES IN BULGARIA AND THE ADRIATIC REGION?
It all depends on the business strategy and priorities. Nestlé came to Bulgaria 25 years ago, taking over a leading confectionary factory that was recognized on the market. The categories and brands in Bulgaria reflect the macro situation and local consumer habits, but also the development of the company in an appropriate geography. When it comes to Serbia, in 2020 Nestlé will celebrate 15 years of sustainable operations and factory management in Surcin. Nestlé is a company with many brands and the marketing strategy for each category and brand is very specific. But what is common and the essence of business is certainly a consumer-centric approach.
ONE TREND THAT WILL MARK 2020 AND WHY?
There is something very important about brand development and I do not think it only applies to 2020, but it will generally be a new way of functioning – it is a so-called “brand with a purpose”. Brands cannot continue growth solely with the help of attractive commercial activities. They, like companies, should have their own purpose for existence without risking their existence. Brands should take care of consumers as well as society and the planet. The example I would give is the NESCAFÉ 3in1 Generation, which is not a classic brand campaign (buy and get) but a brand activation that invites young people to share their talent, to believe in it. Brands thus connect with consumers and show them their purpose.