Gabriel Eremia (Arctic): “The strategy we have been building on for five years aims to bring us closer to the younger target”

Business, Marketing

For him, it’s always something special about the way digital communication influences the way people interact with brands. And he is in love with observing and always improving this experience with all the brands I manage. He is thrilled to help grow businesses, to master the digital & interactive channels, to engage in creating teams of digital superheroes. Eager to identify challenges, develop solutions and execute integrated campaigns utilizing metrics, creativity, and communication, Gabriel Eremia, Marketing & Product Management Director at Arctic, brings in his activity daily the whole 13 years of experience and marketing. had a very constructive and inspiring talk with Gabriel Eremia about Arctic’s marketing strategy and new campaign, how the pandemic challenged the brand, as well as how is to be chosen Romania’s number one brand and having a purpose in everything that you do.

What were the insights for the new Family as a Business ad campaign?

The new campaign aims to highlight the quality and performance of Arctic appliances, by portraying a new typology of Romanian families, which have constantly evolved together with Arctic.  

The whole concept is built around the insight that family life began to look like managing a small business, in which things happen quickly. Under the slogan “Family is your business“, the campaign fits perfectly into the brand’s digital first strategy, through which we want to approach our young consumers.

What is the main idea/ message of the campaign?

A family is now “working” hard to meet the needs of its members, and just as businesses  require quality equipment to function in the long run, so do families need to rely on sustainable home appliances with modern technologies and functions. And Arctic fits perfectly into this story.  

We built the campaign using an inner perspective from Romanians’ homes and showing the challenges, but also, the joys these businesses can bring when you can rely on Arctic appliances.

In this direction, the campaign reveals 4 entrepreneurial stories and all the work and joy that come with a “business”. And Arctic appliances, tested for many operating cycles, are always here to sustain the “business”, no matter how many clothes must be washed, how many pies will be cooked, or how many times the refrigerator door will open and close.

Gabriel Eremia, Marketing & Product Management Director Artic

How many TV ads and what media channels are you using? Why not TV?

The strategy we have been building on for five years aims to bring us closer to the younger target, so it was normal to focus our messages on those platforms where our audience is. We plan to continue to strengthen our digital communication and we are confident that, through a creative approach and quality content tailored to the public, Arctic will continue to rank 1st in digital channels.

Brands have turned much more towards digital, but we can already see how the traditional communication channels are starting to regain an important role in the mix of 360 campaigns. And brands need as many touchpoints as possible, especially now, when the pandemic has changed consumer behaviour.

Therefore, classic communication channels, such as print, OOH or TV, should not be omitted, but the mix must be carefully adapted to the specifics and objectives of the campaign. In fact, the main challenge remains to identify the targeted channels that will help to reach consumers easier.

The pandemic has also created a migration of audiences between channels or platforms. People are required to stay in homes which led to an increase of TV consumption. We are also looking carefully at this trend and we will take it even more into account in our strategy for next year. We take innovation in communication even further and starting this year we use the connected TV ads service Smart Tube, which is essentially digital advertising, which means we can accurately target by location, gender, age.

What are the agencies that you cooperated with for this campaign?

Oxygen and Zitec are our reliable partners.

How did the behavior of the Romanian consumer change within the context of the pandemic in general, and specifically, related to the white goods market?

The pandemic has made the Romanian consumer more aware of the family spending. With a new mindset regarding their finances, value for money became the most important shopping criteria. Despite the current situation, people continue their way of living in a cautious manner, following a sense of normality that includes resuming some of the important purchases. With a new perspective on their financial situation, Romanians turn totrustworthy brandsthat promise to offer them the highest value for money level and an insurance for their investment. In March and April, there was a decline in the household appliances market in terms of sales, but since the middle of May, there has been a very good reversal of the situation. And being top of mind when it comes to value for money, Arctic managed to maintain its position as a leader in volume in the category and leader in all brand awareness indicators: total brand awareness, top-of-mind and prompted brand awareness.

What CSR actions did Arctic take this year in order to support the fight against Covid?

Even though our marketing plans have undergone changes in recent months, we have continued to be active and have focused our efforts to support the communities in which we are present. We have been actively involved in supporting our employees, clients and partners, as well as the medical system, and we have run several campaigns to this end. We focused our attention on the intersection between our pressing social needs and our capacity, and we provided support to healthcare professionals to limit the impact of the epidemic through the donation campaigns we conducted. We are glad that we managed to contribute to the endowment of over 90 hospitals and ambulance services, with products worth over 1.4 million lei, necessary for medical staff and patients.

We initiated, on the occasion of the Easter holidays, a solidarity movement entitled “Respect for the front line!”, a manifesto campaign in order to show gratitude and appreciation for those professionals in the front line in the fight against this virus. The message “Respect for the front line!” was brought to public attention in our factories, in the service network, in social media through the hashtag #RespectLiniaIntai and outdoor media.

We also came to the aid of our senior customers, by treating their requests with priority and by offering free intervention for the repair of all Arctic, Beko and Grundig household appliances, during the emergency period, when there were traffic restrictions for this age group.

Do you believe that brands with a purpose will be winning the hearts of consumers? Do you have a strategy in this direction?

Definitely, brands with a purpose will occupy a meaningful place in their customers’ minds, especially in this context. Having a brand purpose can help build a more emotional relationship, which in turn, helps to boost loyalty. Our strategy is very strong embedded into our business process and brand identity and the best evidence are the CSR campaigns developed so far: „♥ Arctic” in partnership with MagiCAMP and “Arctic for Health”, a campaign through which we helped the medical staff and patients by donating home appliances worth RON 1,4 mil to over 90 hospitals and ambulance services around the country and mechanical ventilators to hospitals in Dambovita county. We are very careful to not reduce purpose to a marketing tactic or a quick campaign, thus consistency of messaging and actions around purpose is critical. I leave some room for surprises here because next year you will see some interesting actions that go beyond Arctic’s brand promise.

What do you believe to be the qualities of a good marketer and why?

The marketing world is constantly evolving, which is why marketers need to be ready to react and adapt quickly to new trends. If until recently we were talking about long-term vision, now we must consider the rapid changes generated by this new reality we are facing and we need to pay event more attention to contextual marketing which has never been more relevant than now. A successful marketing professional dedicates a large portion of their personal time to developing their career. If you want to keep up with all the challenges that this industry puts on the table, you must be an eternal learner and make also a personal investment in order to develop your skills.

What pieces of advice would you offer to someone at the beginning of the professional path in this field?

Marketing field requires a unique blend of skills and nobody is born with them all. I think the most important thing for a young professional is to have a decent grip on technology and to be able to learn it quickly. If you feel deficient in a particular area, seek help: training, workshop, mentoring, whatever works best. It is very important not to be ashamed to ask for help or advice, or let pride inhibit their growth. Another piece of advice I would give is to get out of the marketing department and hit the field with the sales team, for example. They should work a few days on the production floor, talk with people in different departments, shadow a finance leader. They will be impressed by how much they will learn, and they will also strengthen personal bonds in the process. They will be working with diverse teams in their future careers, so they will have to know how to communicate well and build strong teams.

What made you choose marketing and digital marketing field?

I have listened to American rap a lot in the past and I found in this music genre some inspirational hymns that tell stories of young people fighting for their goals and dreams. It seems that what I was listening to, turned out to be very relevant to the work environment in terms of the challenges that come up and this helped me to make important business decisions throughout my career, from the entrepreneurship phase to a position in a large company where I coordinate and work with a number of cross-functional teams. Many of these stories are about how you present yourself, how you move the crowd, lessons that the marketing industry also gives us today.

How has Arctic’s marketing department changed after you started coordinating it?

Improving marketing operations becomes more critical for digital marketing teams trying to get ahead and this was also our main priority. We focused on understanding our customers, implementing customer data properly, measuring campaign performance and gaining the trust of our stakeholders. All this encouraged us to experiment, test and measure different approaches to find what works best and we even implemented a new workflow – Working in Squads with cross functional teams. This way of working helped us to increase agility and to develop and monitor in real time the process of improving the performance of our campaigns in order to consolidate our position in the market categories in which we were not leaders.

We have creative and curious minds in our team, who embrace collaborative culture within the business. We always challenge each other, because we believe that this is the only way we can evolve within a department that manages 3 brands in all price range. We have a dedicated team that is focused on content strategy and consumer insights and this has made the process of launching new products and connected appliances range easier.

We also did an audit of the agencies we work with because we wanted to choose partners with the same vision.

Without all these we would not have been able to reach the results we are proud of today. Arctic is the strongest and most loved Romanian brand (according to the study conducted by Unlock Market Research and BIZ Magazine, 2020) and has been certified as the home appliance brand that offers the best value for money by the International Certification Association (ICERTIAS).

Arctic was named nr. 1 Romanian brand recently. What does it represent for your company to be considered Romania’s most loved brand?

This recognition honours us and shows us that we are on the right track in our efforts to develop appliances that can improve the lives of our consumers. We are also aware that this title brings many responsibilities, challenging us to maintain the highest standards and to continue investing in innovation, quality and technology.

How do you believe you achieved that recognition?

A differentiating element for Arctic is the way it relates to its consumers. Our innovations and technologies are always translated into real benefits for people, reiterating that everything we develop must be useful and easy to use.

Also, our strong belief is that consumers need to see the brand not only through products, but also through communication and relevant initiatives, so it is essential that the efforts to be adapted to the context and to address consumer expectations and needs. Another important pillar that brought us closer to people’s hearts were the CSR campaigns, which aimed to meet the needs of society. Among them I would mention „♥ Arctic” in partnership with MagiCAMP and “Arctic for Health”, our most recent campaign through which we supported the efforts of medical teams in the fight against the crisis generated by the Coronavirus.

What are Arctic‘s main goals for the rest of 2020 and for 2021 (from a marketing perspective)?

We will continue to focus on strengthening our position as a leader in the white goods industry and this cannot be achieved without an active involvement in society, especially in this context, when people lost confidence and expect that brands will take the initiative to help.

As all predictions show, we expect next year to come with many challenges, and despite the uncertainties, we have already drawn up a direction. We will start by consolidating our CSR plans and by developing new consistent and powerful activities to create a positive impact on society. I believe that in the future all campaigns should have a cause, whether we are talking about direct actions to the community or education. Regardless of the direction chosen, brands must be actively anchored in society and provide only truthful, genuine, and relevant content.

How do you believe that the pandemic changed the industry and what will be its effects long-term?

With the end of this crisis, we will return to normal, or rather, to the “new normal”, but it brings with it new patterns of behaviour to which brands must be receptive. People who were previously reluctant to shop online have now experienced, somewhat forced, this way of shopping and are unlikely to give it up in the future. The time will soon come when we will rely even more on digital communication and here, we must come with messages adapted to the context, optimistic, encouraging messages. Such a tone of voice is needed. There is already a shift in people’s values and a focus on more responsible consumption, and brands need to be sustainable and, most importantly, genuine.

What does creativity represent for you and for the brands you represent?

Great question! The entire world of brands has changed dramatically over the years and it’s not so easy now to stand out from the crowd. What I believe has remained constant is the value of thinking differently about how to exploit opportunities and deliver results in the most efficient way possible. I always try to see things from a different angle, and I encourage my team to do the same. That is what creativity looks like to me. I recognize it when a strategist challenges a brief. That’s where creativity has to come from first, not just from concepts and brand activations. It’s impossible for a brand to rise above the noise without a creative strategy to help it shine.

What are the main challenges in digital marketing these days, in your opinion?

The online marketing world is tough to navigate now due to the speed of technology and adoption. As businesses continue to build out their online presence, consumers are provided with more and more choices. Even if they have generous budgets to invest, it has become almost impossible for a brand to stand out from the crowd without having creative strategies and a consumer-centric culture that makes people want to come back and recommend a certain brand to their friends. More than ever we need to take risks with creative ideas to capture consumers’ attention and make them curious to discover the brand. Creativity plays a key role in this process and brands need to group their efforts on delivering the best ‘return on creativity’ to increase their performance.