Mr. Vaughan Ryan, Nielsen Vietnam Country Manager, tells VET how confectionery manufacturers should promote their brands to cash in on the Tet holiday
■ What are your thoughts on the impact of marketing campaigns on the business performance and brands of confectionery manufacturers during Tet?
There is no doubt that Tet is a critical time of year for all confectionery manufacturers. It is the largest time for sales and also a time when consumers try new brands, so communication is critical.
I cannot specifically make a judgment on any one specific campaign, but finding space at this time of year is always the challenge.
It is a highly competitive time for marketing campaigns, so everything from TV through to share of promotional space in stores is highly sought after and naturally retailers tend to promote the biggest sellers and most profitable items, which in Vietnam has historically been beverages.
■ Are there any differences between the behavior of Vietnamese consumers and those in developed countries that confectionery manufacturers should take note of when promoting their brands?
Probably the biggest difference is in terms of the environment that products are sold in and the product mix.
In developed markets, modern trade typically dominates, unlike in Vietnam, where traditional trade still accounts for around 85 per cent of all fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales. Given this, conditions are not necessarily conducive in Vietnam to certain confectionery that has long dominated developed markets.
Categories such as chocolate are going to struggle, even with the addition of more convenience and air conditioned stores in Vietnam.
However, as we see a rapidly growing middle class develop in the country tastes are also changing and consumers are moving away from traditional confectionery native to Vietnam and are certainly increasing their trial of new products.
This trend will certainly continue and there is no doubt that confectionery categories new to Vietnam will emerge.
■ What would you recommend confectionery manufacturers do in promoting their brand image in the minds of consumers during Tet?
To be honest, I think it’s too late to make any changes this year, but moving forward it is about a number of things. They need to stay closer to consumers and forecast trends in the future.
Manufacturers should to be driving innovation around needs such as healthy alternatives, meeting the increasing time-poor but cash-rich consumer with more convenient products such as health supplements without compromising on taste.
The other area for them to really focus on is the retailer. I know this goes without saying, but they need to ensure they have products that will sell to end-consumers; products that drive foot traffic into stores and that consistently deliver great consistent quality.
Vietnamese retailers and consumers alike will no longer accept inferior products and they expect the best every time.