How did you find your way into the marketing world of spirit production?
The position I held prior to becoming the CMO of Nemiroff Vodka was with arguably the largest soft drinks brand in the world as a part of their marketing team. The soft drinks world has no boundaries – surely many age groups can be a target. By focusing on data, trends and listening to our consumers we were able to move the needle in the Ukraine. Those are skills that translate to any brand and are the foundation of a marketing brand. When the opportunity to join Nemiroff, a beloved brand with more than a century and half of history came about, I thought it was a challenge, opportunity and an exciting time to be in the spirits business.
What do you think is the greatest difficulty in marketing spirits?
When you work with a great brand like Nemiroff, marketing is the easy part. In Nemiroff we believe that marketing spirits is full of opportunities, as from business and consumers’ point of mind spirits are not the FMCG, it tends to move more to the luxury and leisure product.
The only difficult part is drilling down to understand the customs and nuances of both the customer, the culture and the limitations in each market and so far we are dealing with it well.
What partnerships has Nemiroff been involved in previously, and why these brands – how did they resonate with Nemiroff?
Nemiroff’s 150-year legacy gave its brand the indomitable spirit. The brand always played at the territory of ‘vodka for men’ with its 10 years of worldwide professional boxing partnership. We are proud to be a part of sport movement development and world leader in boxing raising. Nemiroff was the first in Eastern Europe to partner with the most prestigious fights of world professional boxing in the United States and Great Britain. Moreover, we keep strengthening our DNA in this territory with a constant focus on unique masculinity & indomitable spirit. The UFC strategic partnership, where Nemiroff is the first global vodka partner, was signed to contribute and strengthen brand image.
Tell us more about the Nemiroff x UFC partnership…
The UFC is a perfect match for our target audience. You have to be careful whom you advertise with and need to find some sponsorship that will help to strengthen your DNA. UFC was a really perfect match. The indomitable spirit is in both brands’ DNA. We were surprised to find out that 63% of global UFC fans consume vodka as their spirit of choice. This partnership gives us a global platform, international brand recognition and a real, authentic partnership. It’s not really a sponsorship, it’s a real partnership.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the world of distillery?
Consumers demand from brands to deliver products with character, taste, and value.
Premiumization is still one of the main trends, as consumers tend to drink less but better quality & choosing aspiring products. They have a higher demand of the products they choose, so we have to meet their expectations.
Also, we are keeping an eye on growing trends for flavored vodka. One of the strengths of our distillery is expertise in the production of handmade aromatic vodka infusions with natural ingredients. Recently Nemiroff introduced in Duty Free a new premium line-up of flavored vodka – The Inked Collection. The new tastes are bold, noble and unique – sweet and sour Wild Cranberry, bright and pure Bold Orange and rich, velvety Burning Pear. In the beginning of 2020, the new collection will become available in global markets.
Moreover, Nemiroff is supporting the trend for sustainability – we recycle used materials from production such as stretch and plastic film, wooden waste from pallets, scrap metal, etc by giving them to our packaging partners, which then sell these materials again after they have been recycled.
What makes the brand so special in your opinion?
I think it’s a unique mix of heritage, which has its roots in XVI century and masculine brand image.
Nemiroff redesign is part of our broader brand evolution that is now reflected across our marketing mix: from product to new brand communication. Our new communication campaign is more consumer-centric. We say to our drinkers: ‘We are inspired by you. The man makes his own way. We make his vodka’.
What are the most important or unique elements of Nemiroff’s vodkas that the world should know about, and how do you relay this to the public via marketing?
One of the strengths of our distillery is our expertise in the production of handmade aromatic vodka infusions. Our distillery is located in an ecologically-rich region – in a land of 1000 lakes that gives Nemiroff 100% pure spring water and 100% natural aromatics (honey, fresh herbs & botanicals). For example, Nemiroff De Luxe Honey Pepper is made based on the ancient recipes of XVI century of our region. We infuse real, estate-harvested honey and peppers. The result is a carefully balanced blend of sweet and heat. Many of our competitors tried to repeat this unique formula in their products, however unsuccessfully. Recently Nemiroff extended infused vodkas into a portfolio by launching The Inked Collection.
What sectors and regions favor Nemiroff and why do you think this is?
Our homeland markets remain in CIS countries, despite the category’s decline. At the same time, we give special focus to USA, Germany and Poland as they are the core vodka volume contributors. And of course, being a global vodka supplier, we put efforts behind extending our presence in the EU and Africa.
What kind of consumer would you say Nemiroff appealed to and why?
While other vodka brands are playing on gender-neutral field and communicate to all, Nemiroff is devoted to its positioning as a masculine brand. We are talking about fundamentally different men – bold, real man, strong in spirit, self-sufficient. Our consumer is the man who became creator of his own destiny.
What is your vision of the brand?
Today, Nemiroff is the third largest vodka seller in Duty Free & Travel Retail three years in a raw. These are the results of latest IWSR rating. We skipped ahead only to Absolut and Smirnoff. This gives us the courage to set ambitious goals to strengthen this position.
To find out more, visit nemiroff.vodka.