[Exclusive interview]: How Poliakov beats the vodka blues

While Vinexpo/IWSR data shows that that vodka sales are falling worldwide, Poliakov, France’s leading vodka brand, is beating the trend. Constance Descamps, International Senior Brand Manager, shows why.

Q: While vodka is one of the world’s leading spirits, is Poliakov affected by the overall decline in sales in recent years?

A: Poliakov is still growing across the world, seeking to expand and penetrate new markets. Today, the brand is present in more than 50 countries and its international volume has more than doubled in four years. Being in the world’s Top 20 brands and leader in France, the brand is constantly innovating to respond to consumers’ needs. We are confident in the future of vodka in Europe and across the world. Poliakov is supported by innovation, original promotions, proposing new ways of consumption (trendy cocktails like the Moscow Mule for example) and innovative brand activations.

Q: What marketing programmes does Poliakov have in place to develop sales in the next three years?

A: We are working on brand awareness worldwide for Poliakov. We shall continue our off-trade strategy with a massive presence on the shelves and some promotions. Regarding the on-trade we have some strong ambitions to be more active and attractive in particular via music festivals partnerships as we did a lot in 2018 in Belgium and mainly in Spain (VinaRock, Medusa, Arenal Sound…).

Q: What are Poliakov’s top three markets by volume and value?

A: While Poliakov is an international vodka brand, our top 3 markets are in Western Europe where it features in the top 5. Of course, France is historically the number 1 country for Poliakov, but out of France you’ll find strong market positions in Benelux.

Q: Please give some examples of successful promotional campaigns

A: In Europe this summer we set up a virtual reality experience at music festivals which reached more than 700,000 festival goers supported by a strong digital campaign on our social networks. Worldwide, Poliakov created a lot of successful outdoor campaigns via billboards and buses in, for example, Costa Rica and window stickers in Algeria.

Q: How big is the challenge to Poliakov from the growth of gin worldwide?

A: Poliakov Vodka targets mainly millennials and digital natives. We are conscious of the huge interest and growth of the gin category, but not really too concerned about the fact that it will impact our sales because the gin consumer seems a bit older and consumption is less democratized in this age range.

Q: Does Poliakov have marketing strategies in place to compete with gin?

A: Although Poliakov Vodka does not seem to be impacted directly by the growth of gin, we have to work on defending the vodka category through targeted communications (printed, but especially digital) attractive promotions and innovative ways to enjoy Poliakov Vodka.

Q: How does Poliakov distinquish its brand from other vodkas?

A: Poliakov is characterized as the vodka of extreme cold which carries the drinker into a futuristic and inspiring ice universe, yet with a mainstream price for premium quality. While the Poliakov flavoured range performs well, the‘millionaire’vodka brand attracts consumers in more than 50 countries.

Q: How important is on-trade promotion to Poliakov sales?

A: Poliakov used to be more famous in the off-trade, but we have strong ambitions to create brand impact and awareness through the on-trade. It is very important for us to be present where our target consumer is likely to drink vodka such as student bars and festivals.

Corporate profile: Part of La Martiniquaise-Bardinet Group, Poliakov Vodka is a major ‘millionaire’growth brand ranked number 15 worldwide.