Global chewing gum brand Dirol, a brand owned by Mondelez International, has appeared in Georgian stores with new packaging which is ‘more attractive and youthful’, says Zurab Lomsadze, National Key Account Manager for the Central Asia and the Caucasus region.
“Previously, we conducted consumer research which showed that our target audience considered the old packaging outdated. Since the update we have only received positive feedback that the packaging has become very visible on the shelf and looks trendy”, he said.
In addition, Dirol is entering a new segment for youngsters in Georgia with Dirol Minions new chewing gum.
“Innovations are an important part of Dirol’s development, and we never stop exploring new market opportunities. Later on, we are going to play with different formats and product types to catch up with existing trends”, said Lomsadze.
The systematic and steady development of Dirol on the Georgian market has continued since 2011 after the acquisition of confectionery company Cadbury by Mondelez International.
“Today there are 22 products in our lineup. During 2020 we have seen a clear tendency for fruit flavors because the perception of gum changed – it became a sweet treat instead of refreshment for socializing”, he said.
At the beginning of 2020, Dirol in Georgia launched a new flavor of chewing gum – coconut-strawberry. You told us then that ‘we have more than one unique innovation prepared for our consumers but could not talk about these plans at that time. Could you please tell us now what that unique innovation was?
I was talking about our unique launch of Dirol Charcoal. It’s the first black gum on the Georgian market.
We have all recognized the tendency of all product types to play on black and it is liked by young consumers – you can find new black products in food & cosmetics. So now black is the new white! And who says that gum should be white?
How important is the Georgian market to Dirol’s business today? What growth and expansion prospects do you see in the country?
Georgia is a fast-moving market which shows growth year after year. Moreover, it’s one of the biggest gum markets in the Caucasus and the Central Asia region. Most major manufacturing companies with global brands are represented on the market, but at the same time, there are many local brands with unique Georgian offerings. This makes the market diverse and very saturated.
We, at Mondelez Georgia, feel a great demand for our products, see that our brands are becoming a part of life for many consumers, and understand that our role is leading in this category. We believe in our product and our team, and this makes us constantly move forward and grow, putting the consumer at the top of our priorities.
What are the marketing segments that Dirol focuses on in Georgia?
Primarily, we focus on Generation Z by letting them know all the news Dirol has for them. And to capture their hearts and stay relevant, we try to imbue our marketing activities with originality and purpose. Dirol has ambitious plans for promo activities in the future, so stay tuned.
How do you view the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the Georgian market and in general, how has the pandemic affected the sales/export/distribution of Dirol in the country?
The global pandemic of Covid-19 has definitely worsened the economic situation in the country and influenced market development. Nevertheless, in Georgia, we weathered last year better than in some other countries and are generally satisfied with the volume of sales to date.
Could you please summarize 2020 – what were the biggest challenges, biggest achievements?
The biggest challenge was to reorganize our business approach in such unseen circumstances. All businesses changed their strategy, their tactics and carried on. The same was for us.
Nowadays we already have experience in working during the pandemic and we are doing so successfully. Over the past year, we have shown incredible agility & our can-do spirit adapted our approach to the new reality (decrease in category growth, drop in the purchasing power, explosive e-commerce compared to retail), and continued our performance without great losses in sales and distribution. And this is our biggest achievement.
How has 2021 started for your company, what are your expectations?
The resilience and hard work of our team is translating into great results, though there are still some uncertainties on the horizon and purchasing power is recovering very slowly. Until the market fully recovers, we remain focused on our priorities and do not lose sight of our targets.
Georgian customers have named Dirol their number one favorite brand again this year. What do you think has brought Dirol this recognition?
We are honored to be named the best brand in Georgia in our category the third year in a row. This means that our brand development strategy is efficient, and we are moving in the right direction. The success of our product is certainly based on its high quality and wide portfolio, as we consider the trends and preferences of our consumers.
Secondly, it is the availability of products in every store - both in traditional and modern trade spaces. And, of course, powerful brand communication and innovations. Dirol encourages consumers to live a vibrant, dynamic life, never stop on their accomplishments, and always spare time for fun, adventure, and pleasure. Being a constant source of refreshment, chewing gum delivers a bright taste and good mood! And we do feel that consumers appreciate this.