As promised here’s a quick introduction to our very own Russian wonder woman – Marina Vaganova. Get to know her a bit better in this short interview. Amongst other things, she tells us what her role involves and provides consumer insights into the Russian market. Somehow she even manages to find time to be a part-time lecturer!
Q: Tell us about your role
In a nutshell, I manage Product Development and Client Services. I divide my time between developers and retailers. Depending on the requirement, I will utilise GLIMMA and my expertise to help them with a project that is either being locally implemented or one that is international.
This can vary from a shopping mall upgrade to the regeneration of a city centre space to a global retailer needing a full rebrand across their international network. Each solution is customised to client needs.
Q: What is your main highlight?
I love meeting new people and sharing the GLIMMA concept in the hope that we can help them to deliver an outstanding branding programme. I believe we have a unique offering and we can step in at various points of the brand lifecycle, making it a joy to sell!
I also enjoy working amongst a diverse range of branding experts. I constantly learn from them, whether that’s regarding the most innovative materials or how we can deliver cost efficiencies on a project.
Since graduating from Moscow State University with a Bachelors in International Relations and a Masters in International Business and Administration, I have gained an extensive portfolio of successfully implemented projects. These range across banking and development for companies such as Askona, Raiffeisenbank, Binbank, Renaissance Credit, Capital Group and Afi Development where I worked as Brand Manager and Head of Communication, Marketing and PR.
I have capitalised on the knowledge I gained from working in these sectors and fully understand the needs of the client. I translate this to effectively and consistently deliver business concepts and marketing strategies, that maximise profitability and efficiency for our clients.
In terms of consumers, most are increasingly looking for goods and services that are of high quality whilst offering value for money. The real challenge for brands working in retail and commercial real estate is to rethink business models to effectively grow operational efficiency, whilst continuing to nurture the building of strong relationships with the customer.
What does this mean going forward?
It’s more important than ever to develop loyal customers for your brand, building magic moments along the whole customer journey. Key is understanding your customers better, based on their behaviour, and using this knowledge for the purpose of creating personalised experiences and targeted advertising. Oh and of course the never ending battle for a seamless omnichannel experience.
This is where I feel we can really make a difference. We have a strong focus on building each touchpoint along the customer journey to help create fine-tuned and carefully curated customer experiences.
Having attended music school I really enjoy music, whether that’s playing or listening to it.
My instrument of choice is piano. A particularly beautiful piece I enjoy playing is ‘Moonlight’ by Claude Debussy. I wish I had more time to play as I find it to be a real source of inspiration.
I also adore to study and share my knowledge wherever I can. I attend a Development Management programme at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. I also hold lectures on Marketing for the students there.
But most of all my passion lies with spending time with my family and friends, whatever that may involve, a round of crazy golf or a trip to Skegness haha! At the end of the day, it is they I hold most dear.
Q: What is one thing that not many people know about you?
Well…I can actually speak five languages. These include English, German, Spanish, Ukrainian and my native tongue of Russian.
Sadly, I don’t get to use them all as often as I’d like but they do go down well at the office party. Haha!
Q: And finally, what’s your favourite book or podcast?
I read most evenings so it’s hard to decide upon one favourite book.
I would say recently it is either ‘Principles of Corporate Finance’ by Brealey Myers Allen or ‘Good Strategy/Bad Strategy’ by Richard Rumelt.