One of my many lessons I’ve learnt from summer trips to Russia is that simple branding and quality can be the most effective sales tools.
Pictured above is a mobile Kvass stall. A bit like Marmite in terms of its likeability. Still, many swear by its ability to refresh on a warm summers evening after a hard day’s work. For a good stall with fresh cool Kvass and a wholesome looking vendor, you reputation spreads and word of mouth marketing is king.
I prefer a pint of or Russian Standard, but I digress.
Pre 1990’s everything had a familiar label, partly because there really was only one or two options on the market*. But mainly because differentiating your product with a fancy label, slogan, catch phrase or fancy swoosh distracted the buyer. Buyers who after queueing for hours, just wanted to find their produce quick!
There was also a reluctance to step away from a recognisable symbol/labeling, as bricks and mortar stores took many shapes and forms. Entrepreneurs renting out basements and first floors of tower blocks, a house or schools, wherever the market was.
To combat this colour cues were abound. Produce or superettes all have Produckti in big letters well before any other labels and Pharmacies are always marked in green with Apteka up front. Here we give them fancy names. Neither of which screamed pharmacy to me when I first arrived in the UK.
And as Social Media takes over from Socialist Republics we see word of mouth spreading further, faster and forever (permanently recorded on the internet). Be it good or bad news.
Social Media reminds brands to compete on quality and service.
*gross generalisation that my family would shoot me for, given the quality difference between regional products.