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Since launching in 2004, PRODO Group grew a respected and recognized house of brands across Siberia and Russia. But it knew it faced a marketing challenge if it wanted to stay ahead in the highly competitive fast-moving consumer goods sector. It was not an identity crisis, but with such a broad customer base for its cooked meat production brands – including Omsk Bacon – creating targeted appeal for its produce was difficult.
The group used its marketing arsenal to create a cultural connection with customers through a brand that resonated with the community, rather than purely through the products PRODO sold. It needed to embrace its ‘Siberian-ness’.
Gandhi observed that “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the souls of its people.” PRODO therefore built its campaign on finding – and tapping into – the Siberian spirit and soul.
The group’s products needed no refinement – they already scored highly for taste and quality when benchmarked against competitors. This challenge was in brand awareness and, crucially, brand positioning.
In terms of establishing brand resilience, the business only had to look to the doorstep of its Siberian production plants for inspiration.
“The sharply continental climate of Siberia is a test of strength even for the healthiest organism,” the company acknowledges. “That is why Omsk Bacon sausages are the perfect fuel for Siberians, prepared from the best ingredients, with excellent taste. The brand spirit is in tune with the hardened nature of the local people.”
It embraced this reality and held workshops to further refine the characteristics Siberians identified with. As a brand that is inherently tied to the region, it was important for PRODO to provide a product that Siberians could be proud of.
The campaign included both digital platforms and physical event-hosting. Promotional videos to communicate the new brand positioning have reached more than 25 million views, while a 2017 rap anthem ‘Minus outside, plus in our hearts built around PRODO’s Omsk Bacon brand became an iconic reference point.
Further initiatives aimed at promoting both the brand and the broader region of Siberia followed, as 2018 saw a musical road-movie ‘Let’s meet in Siberia’ starring real Siberians and highlighting the beauty of the region. A year later, the campaign launched ‘Password Siberia’ – a music track inspired by the Student Games in Krasnoyarsk.
The PRODO Group mission is to “always offer the best” to its four key stakeholder groups: consumers, employees, partners and society. To consumers, it pledges the best in quality and taste. To employees, a sense of security, continuous development and confidence in the future. For partners, a commitment to the pursuit of open and mutually beneficial relationships. And to society, a contribution to regional economic growth and improving the standard of living.
Society lies at the heart of this campaign, but each of these stakeholder groups has benefited, and PRODO has won new business as a result, recently expanding the scope of its work with leading international fast-food group, KFC.
“Cooperation with KFC is important and valuable for the PRODO Group. This is not only a major partner, but also another recognition of the high quality of products and the serious level of production of our poultry farm,” said Peter Ilyukhin, CEO of PRODO Group.
The group’s reach is impressive. The Klinsky meat processing plant alone produces more than 30,000 tons of meat products per year, and its products are not only sold in retail chains but also in international hotel chains including Radisson, as well as serving the State Duma and the Presidential Administration.
The campaign has prompted PRODO to receive regional and national recognition, and the stats speak for themselves.
PRODO Group is now one of the top 10 largest agricultural companies in Russia.
Omsk Bacon, one of the PRODO Group’s more prominent brands, was recognized as the No. 1 most consumed brand in Siberia by Ipsos Comcon. It saw 22% sales volume growth from 2015 to 2018, and 21% revenue growth.
The company’s campaign efforts achieved cult status and this cultural cut-through allowed PRODO to associate itself with “what it means to be Siberian” among its target audience. New adverts were eagerly anticipated. PRODO videos were reposted by the Russian Embassy of London and the Mother Russia portal, while academic institutions around the world have also requested to use PRODO’s Omsk Bacon ad campaign videos as part of their teaching syllabuses for Russian and Siberian studies.
Recognition has come in many forms and extends beyond the financial impact metrics referenced above and, by placing culture at the heart of its strategy, PRODO has successfully tapped into the spirit Gandhi alluded to, building a community connection.
This community is both internal and external – the elevation of the brand has not only separated PRODO from its competitors, but has also boosted employee satisfaction levels. PRODO identified its four key stakeholder groups and made a decision that has brought rewards for all.
We are familiar with the campaign strategy of “winning hearts and minds” but, by winning hearts and souls as Gandhi outlined, PRODO was able to maintain its edge.