10 things marketers need to know about Russia

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    15-Dec-2014
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A list of 10 things that marketers should keep in mind when they think about Russia; put together by Konstantin Pinaev, Head of Co-Creation at Thinktank International, London based qualitative research consultancy.

Transcript of 10 things marketers need to know about Russia

  • 1. 10 THINGS MARKETERS NEEDTO KNOW ABOUT RUSSIA er 20 years and the pennfor rbusiness for rov er 20 years and the ovRussia hassbeen o pe fo business fo it is often seen as aa been oRussia ha is long gone. But even now it is often seen asironncurtain is long gone. But even now d opaque politicaliro curtain ry with its own alphabet an d opaque politicalbit tof aamyste ry with its own alphabet anbi of mystestructure.structure.e to the differences, , sseasy to turn aablinddey e to thewishfrencesey In this context,t,it easy to turndeblin inator and itdiffeully In this contex vious common denominator and wishfully nom finddtheemost tob vious common Moscow) is neverthelesssaob fin th mos sia (and especially Moscow) is nevertheles a thinkkthat Rus sia (and especially thin that Rpe.us ro pe.bit tlikeeEu robi lik Euead of Co-creation atatev, ,our rMoscow-bornnH ead of Co-creation Htantin Pina ev ou Moscow-bor ings that marketersKons tantin PinaKonsa list of 10 th in that marketersThinktank, put ttogether a list ofthink abgs t Russia.pu together n they 10Thinktank, in mind wheth ou t Russia. should keep in mind when they think aboushould keep

2. #1 Russians are still in a brand new world. #1 Russians are still in a brand new world.Brands in the way we understand them in the West did not exist in Russia Brands in the way we understand them in the West did not exist in Russiauntil the early 1990s. A tranche of consumers still remember the days when until the early 1990s. A tranche of consumers still remember the days whenthere were no ads or brands. there were no ads or brands.That means that the picture has yet to settle; the brand universe is far more That means that the picture has yet to settle; the brand universe is far moredynamic, heritage is often slender and reputations are easily lost and won. dynamic, heritage is often slender and reputations are easily lost and won.Whats more, the consumer is more fickle and harder to hold on to. Whats more, the consumer is more fickle and harder to hold on to.#2 Moscow is another country. #2 Moscow is another country.Its fair to say that London is not the UK; New York is not the US and ParisIts fair to say that London is not the UK; New York is not the US and Parisis not France. It would be even fairer to say that Moscow is not Russia.is not France. It would be even fairer to say that Moscow is not Russia.Here the differences really are huge: income levels are multiple times Here the differences really are huge: income levels are multiple timeshigher and habits and media consumption are nothing like the rest of the higher and habits and media consumption are nothing like the rest of thecountry. country.#3 Dont underestimate local competitors. #3 Dont underestimate local competitors.Youll also be surprised by just how strong local champions can be. Youll also be surprised by just how strong local champions can be.Whats the most popular search engine? Its Yandex (Google is wayWhats the most popular search engine? Its Yandex (Google is waybehind).behind).What is the most popular social network? Its VKontakte (in contact).What is the most popular social network? Its VKontakte (in contact).Facebook is not even the second it is way behind OdnoklassnikiFacebook is not even the second it is way behind Odnoklassniki(Classmates).(Classmates). 3. #4 Russians consume conspicuously. #4 Russians consume conspicuously.As in many developing markets, attitudes to consumerism are less As in many developing markets, attitudes to consumerism are lessconflicted than those in the West. It is important to remember that Russians conflicted than those in the West. It is important to remember that Russiansdid not have the pleasures of consumerist societies for over 70 years, so did not have the pleasures of consumerist societies for over 70 years, soarent apologetic or self-deprecating about material success and arent apologetic or self-deprecating about material success andaspirations: ifif youve got it, flaunt it! So should luxury brands try to be more aspirations: youve got it, flaunt it! So should luxury brands try to be moreunderstated? Of course not! understated? Of course not!#5 Young lifestages are very different. #5 Young lifestages are very different.In Russia, fitting consumers into life stages can be trickier. Gap years do In Russia, fitting consumers into life stages can be trickier. Gap years donot exist and most students live with their parents when they go to not exist and most students live with their parents when they go touniversity. People tend to move in together, get married and have kids university. People tend to move in together, get married and have kidsmuch earlier than in the West. Meanwhile, in aa booming economy, careers much earlier than in the West. Meanwhile, in booming economy, careerscan progress very rapidly, meaning social standing can be hard to pin can progress very rapidly, meaning social standing can be hard to pindown. So aa 25 year old can be a CFO - and be just as likely to be single as down. So 25 year old can be a CFO - and be just as likely to be single asto have three kids. to have three kids.#6 Young Russians rarely watch TV. #6 Young Russians rarely watch TV.IfIf you think it is tricky to target youth in the UK its even harder in Russia.you think it is tricky to target youth in the UK its even harder in Russia.Local terrestrial schedules there are heavily dominated by governmentLocal terrestrial schedules there are heavily dominated by governmentpropaganda, TV remains analogue and is widely pitched at an older,propaganda, TV remains analogue and is widely pitched at an older,mainstream audience. This means that to not have a TV is now a hipmainstream audience. This means that to not have a TV is now a hiplifestyle choice, and young Russians (especially the affluent and educatedlifestyle choice, and young Russians (especially the affluent and educatedurban audience) tend to say goodbye to their TV sets willingly. Besides,urban audience) tend to say goodbye to their TV sets willingly. Besides,with piracy being far more prevalent and monetized than itit is in the West,with piracy being far more prevalent and monetized than is in the West,the most popular TV shows and films are easily accessed online.the most popular TV shows and films are easily accessed online. 4. #7 Fair trade? Never even heard of it! #7 Fair trade? Never even heard of it!Russia is also unusual in having had an imperial, but no obvious colonial Russia is also unusual in having had an imperial, but no obvious colonialpast. So the whole concept of Fair Trade and concerns or liberal guilt past. So the whole concept of Fair Trade and concerns or liberal guiltabout conditions in the developing world are often quite muted. This means about conditions in the developing world are often quite muted. This meansthat ethical or environmental claims tend to be missed or even that ethical or environmental claims tend to be missed or evenmisunderstood by many consumers. misunderstood by many consumers.#8 Russians buy in different ways. #8 Russians buy in different ways.ItIt would be easy to assume that living in a G8 country with a fairly high GDP would be easy to assume that living in a G8 country with a fairly high GDPper capita income would mean that people had bank accounts and be usedper capita income would mean that people had bank accounts and be usedto online payments, but... as always Russia has its own way. The financiallyto online payments, but... as always Russia has its own way. The financiallyunstable 1990s and a number of bank collapses long undermined peoplesunstable 1990s and a number of bank collapses long undermined peoplestrust in financial institutions. Even in 2012 Russia remains a cash or digitaltrust in financial institutions. Even in 2012 Russia remains a cash or digitalcash economy on a day-to-day basis.cash economy on a day-to-day basis.People can pay cash for anything - - including property and luxury cars. People can pay cash for anything including property and luxury cars.Online transactions are still more of an exception rather than a rule. Online Online transactions are still more of an exception rather than a rule. Onlineshops will deliver products by courier, who collect the cash from customers. shops will deliver products by courier, who collect the cash from customers.#9 Money on the other hand is more mobile. #9 Money on the other hand is more mobile.The underdeveloped banking system also means that mobile payments (by The underdeveloped banking system also means that mobile payments (bytexting and using stored value cards) are more common and more texting and using stored value cards) are more common and moresophisticated than they are in many Western markets. sophisticated than they are in many Western markets.Strong WiMax networks and free WiFi in most places also mean that the Strong WiMax networks and free WiFi in most places also mean that themobile Internet and mobile marketing are more advanced. mobile Internet and mobile marketing are more advanced. 5. #10 Not the easiest consumer to study. #10 Not the easiest consumer to study.Russians - - culturally - were never asked for their opinion. Russia is still not Russians culturally - were never asked for their opinion. Russia is still nota market where consumers will easily play the game and speak effortlessly a market where consumers will easily play the game and speak effortlesslyabout their feelings about products or brands, setting aside the rational about their feelings about products or brands, setting aside the rationalanswers that can sometimes frustrate research buyers. answers that can sometimes frustrate research buyers.For this reason, marketers need to be mindful of how they approach For this reason, marketers need to be mindful of how they approachresearch, whom they target and what the best format for exploring a brand research, whom they target and what the b