Some of the world’s major brands have been moving in this direction for years, and I must underline that I am especially proud that Carlsberg is one of them. The numerous activities that the company carries out globally relating to sustainable development are one of the important reasons why I joined the Carlsberg team.
Ahead of the upcoming holiday season, we spoke with Milan Perić, Marketing and Communications Director at Carlsberg Serbia, about his abundant work experience, starting to work for Carlsberg and his favourite campaigns and plans for 2022. “Trying to reach consumers today is a complex process that requires adjusting your efforts to new trends. Being among the market leaders gives a competitive advantage,” says Mr Perić.
You have vast experience in the FMCG sector, from where you came to the position of Marketing and Communications Director at Carlsberg. Can you tell us more about your experience?
When I look back on the last 15 years and all my professional experience, the most valuable thing is that I had the opportunity to see the business from different perspectives of a commercial organization, starting with sales, finance, trade, and finally the brand.
Personally, I think that, not only in terms of expertise but especially in terms of maturing as a manager, it is valuable when you get the opportunity to understand the needs of all segments of the organization, because that facilitates work with colleagues and a more efficient approach to your job.
I started my career in the confectionery industry, more precisely in Bambi, in the sales sector (in the controlling department). There I learned from more experienced colleagues and worked together with them on large-scale projects. Since then, I have had the good fortune and pleasure to continue my professional development in some of the largest companies in our country such as Jaffa, Nestle, and recently Carlsberg Serbia.
From previous experiences, i.e. before coming to Carlsberg, I would like to single out a very important regional experience that I amassed at Nestle, where I had the opportunity to lead the markets of Southeast Europe. I worked over a year at the company’s headquarters in Switzerland. Although it may seem that the markets of our region are similar, the reality is often very different. And yet, each idiosyncrasy of an individual market encourages you to come up with new ideas and inspires you to expand your business horizons.
How complex is the Serbian market given the different customer habits and where do you see room for Carlsberg brands?
The beer market is, dare I say it, one of the most competitive markets in Serbia, and numerous beer brands sold at our supermarkets testify to this. I think that competitiveness is very good for the entire beer industry as it forces us to be constantly awake, to listen to consumers, to often start trends ourselves and to continuously develop. Since coming to the Serbian market, Carlsberg has been known as a pioneer in innovation and we are proud of our abundant portfolio that has a wide range of beer consumer preferences.
We always like to underline that our brands, in addition to top quality, each for themselves, have their own story that speaks to different generations and people with different interests, specific tastes and characters.
“Each idiosyncrasy of an individual market encourages you to come up with new ideas and inspires you to expand your business horizons”
While, on the one hand, Tuborg is synonymous with the lifestyle of young generations, always present in the activities that young people do, from music to expressing themselves in specific branches of art, Lav, on the other hand, is part of festive family meals or going out with friends after a hard day at work. There is also Blanc as an indispensable “spice” of special occasions when you want to please dear people with refined food. Our chilled Somersby is perfect for celebrating special moments in your life or transforming ordinary moments into special ones. Last but not least, there is Carlsberg, the flagship of our portfolio, which is synonymous with a proud tradition and unparalleled quality.
In short, the answer to the second part of your question would be, we see ourselves in the beer market everywhere where there are fans of good beer and positive energy.
In addition to Serbia, you are in charge of marketing in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. What connects these markets and how much does it make it easier (or harder) to do campaigns there?
As part of a company that operates in over 150 markets worldwide, international brands such as Carlsberg, Tuborg, Kronenbourg Blanc, Somersby cider and others certainly play a major role in our portfolio. Therefore, campaigns for these brands can be largely created at the level of the entire Carlsberg Serbia Group (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro).
On the other hand, each of these three markets has its own peculiarities that require an individual approach, especially in the so-called mainstream segment, and you should not ignore them. If I add to that that, in each of these markets, every geographical region requires a special analysis and business plan, everyday challenges become quite complex.
However, diversity does not imply a lack of synergy, but it can lead to better results and a better team at the Serbia Group, of which we are very proud, by mutually complementing each other and sharing experiences.
You have been active in marketing and brand management for quite some time. How would you rate the current situation in your profession and how will marketing develop in the post-crisis period?
Most big brands are already slowly contemplating the new generation called Alpha because it will certainly be the most educated generation ever as the first generation born into high technology. Exposure to technology during their formative years and full digital literacy are likely to result in high expectations, shorter attention spans and other peculiarities. Their marketing has already started. Just look at, for instance, Ryan’s World YouTube channel.
The famous 4P marketers are largely switching to 4E – Engagement, Experience, Exclusivity and Emotion. Emotional Branding is what helps a brand differentiate itself and changes the question from „How are we going to sell our product?“ to „Why are we selling our product?“ Today, the world’s largest brands sell not only the product but also the experience, emotions and the story that goes with it.
Social networks have become a gold mine of information and in the coming years, they will help us all understand more about our consumers, their habits and aspirations.
Finally, I would like to mention another change that will colour marketing in the future and which the pandemic has only expedited – that is the socially responsible action of brands and directing marketing activities on issues of great social importance, among which environmental protection and reducing the human impact the pollution of the planet take precedent.
“As for Carlsberg Serbia, our plans for next year are ready and we are very much looking forward to all the campaigns we are working on”
Some of the world’s major brands have been moving in this direction for years, and I must underline that I am especially proud that Carlsberg is one of them. The numerous activities that the company carries out globally relating to sustainable development are one of the important reasons why I joined the Carlsberg team. To be honest, this is a trend that is largely driven by consumers themselves. Today, people are paying more attention to the products they buy and numerous studies have shown that most of them prefer the brands of those companies that behave responsibly towards the community.
What are Carlsberg and your sector’s plans for next year?
In terms of the entire beer industry, 2022 will be a challenging year, because the consequences of the COVID-induced pandemic have only just begun to spill over into the global economy, and the beer sector will inevitably feel that as well.
As for Carlsberg Serbia, our plans for next year are ready and we are very much looking forward to all the campaigns we are working on, as well as how our consumers will react to the innovations that we will present to the domestic market.
I can’t divulge the details now, but I’m confident that we will meet the expectations of beer fans.
The favourite campaign
What is your favourite Carlsberg campaign?
I am a big fan of the actor Mads Mikkelsen, and the Danish way of life has always appealed to me. One of Carlsberg’s new commercials with Mads in the leading role is my favourite at the moment. I like how Carlsberg is presented as a part of Danish culture. This is certainly deserving because when you visit Copenhagen and see for yourself the rich heritage that Carlsberg has left to the Danes and the whole world.