Yulia Pletneva, Researcher, Consultant, Entrepreneur, CPG Expert
I have 13 years of experience in the Russian & Global CPG markets. My background is working in four multinationals L’Oreal, Mars, Danone, and Pepsi in different roles – category management, business development, sales, customer marketing.
We see brands all around us. But have you ever given a thought to what goes into building these brands? Today we have invited a very experienced person, Yulia Pletneva from Russia, who is going to answer our queries on the subject of branding.
Yulia is an expert in the Consumer Packaged Goods market. She is a researcher, entrepreneur, and independent consultant. She has worked with brands like L’oreal, Mars, Danone, Pepsi, etc., and added value to them.
Yulia tells us that while she was working with other brands, she wanted to create her own product that did not exist in the market. She wanted to upgrade the consumption of the consumers. To fulfill her dream, she has now become an entrepreneur and she is building a beverage manufacturing plant in Russia.
What goes into building a successful brand specifically in Russia?
Yulia believes that you need to have a product that is needed by the customer and solves their problems. She adds that the product you are offering should have a good quality because the market is huge and you need to stand out on quality. She also suggests doing something different for the customers. She explains that there are a lot of manufactures of similar products in the market. You don’t have to add a competitor to them, you should instead come up with something new and different. You need to do good market research and understand the needs of the consumers to think differently.
How does branding differ in different cities of Russia?
Given the vast geographical dimensions of Russia, branding in different cities of Russia is highly variable. Yulia tells us that consumption and consumer behavior varies from city to city and is influenced by local habits. So the brands have to understand the buying behavior of the consumers in a particular region and act accordingly.
Yulia is also doing intense market research to launch her product.
Impact of digitalization on branding in Russia
Yulia believes technology and digitalization have brought flexibility to the branding and marketing world. You get more input on everything and it becomes easier to do different research. However, this is also increasing competition.
Challenges faced by brands in Russia
Yulia tells us that one of the challenges faced by brands in Russia is that the purchasing power of consumers is decreasing. The markets face inflation every year and that impacts the profitability and overall performance of the brand. Later she adds that the pandemic was another unfortunate push to this situation where the purchasing power has also decreased and there is a pricing issue for many products in need. Another challenge she talks about is the competition between the local and international brands. etc.
How working from home is a challenge for brand managers in Russia?
Yulia tells us that working from home and digitalization became more and more significant during the COVID lockdown as it was the only way for companies to reach their customers. She tells us that it was quite new for her as her past experiences were based on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. She says that working from home was a challenge as well as an opportunity. She could learn a lot of things from this.
What is unique about the beverages Yulia is planning to offer?
Yulia tells us that she is planning to develop a unique product experience for her customers. However, she is not willing or intended to compete with any of the big brands. She respects what they are doing because they already have their audience. She also gives us some examples of the products she is trying to develop.
Do the beverages Yulia is offering, depend on the climatic conditions of Russia?
Yulia tells us that she is focusing on both cold and hot beverages. She wants to develop beverages for all seasons, the reason being that she can’t develop products for one specific season and stay away from the market for the rest of the year.
I have 13 years of experience in the Russian & Global CPG market. My background is working in four multinationals L’Oreal, Mars, Danone, and Pepsi in different roles – category management, business development, sales, customer marketing.
As a consultant, I’m collaborating with an international consulting company and helping lead analytical projects in Russia. In the field of analytics and market research, I help exporters that want to start a business in Russia to get insights into the Russian market, consumers, and retail landscape.
As an entrepreneur, I’m building a beverage manufacturing company in Russia.
I have several certificates:
– Wharton Global Trends for Business and Society, 2018
– Christie’s Art Business Spring School, London, 2018
– Category Management Certification Program, CPCM, 2019
– Visionary Leadership Coaching Certification Program, 2020