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Interviews with Clients | Maryna from "Lavka Tradycij Silpo"

Maryna Bulatska, head of the "Lavka Tradycij Silpo" project. If we analyze her experience, no matter where she worked, she always launched and developed new domains. She considers her entrepreneurial mindset and marketing background to be her superpower. She often looks for creators to develop package design, write texts, create photo and video content. She believes that it is the brief and references that synchronize the client and the creator.


Найчастіше шукає креаторів для розробки пакування, написання текстів, створення фото та відео контенту. Вірить, що саме докладний бриф і референси синхронізують замовника та виконавця.

Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background. How long have you been involved in marketing, advertising, content?

My path in advertising and marketing began in 2005 on Minsk television. After moving to Kyiv, I started working on non-standard formats in OOH in one of the local advertising agencies (now the Kyiv operator of brandmauers – "Svit Outdoor"). And in 2009, I became one of the founders of the advertising agency known now as Zdatni.


We started with indoor placement, but in 2011 we began to develop the digital direction and became a sales house for lifestyle media of the Look At Media holding: The Village, Look At Me, Wonderzine and bit.ua, bzh.life. We were pioneers in the sale of native special projects with the participation of opinion leaders. These were expensive image projects in which we did not talk about the technical characteristics of the product/service, but created engaging content for users and organically integrated the brand. Very exciting experience!


In 2014, I launched the service of delivery of craft products "Local Food" and in parallel with the work of the agency, I received my personal entrepreneurial experience in the gastro sphere. In 2016, I decided to try hiring and took the position of marketing director at Novus. In 2017, I joined "Lavka Tradycij Silpo" as a marketing manager, and a year later I became a project manager.


If you analyze all my professional experience, no matter what company I worked for, I always launched and developed new directions.


What are you responsible for in the company? What do you focus on at work?

I am fully responsible for the "Lavka Tradycij Silpo" project: strategy development, implementation of KPI's, search for new formats, growth of brand health indicators. We work with the mid/mid+ segment and all of our marketing and content is focused on delivering value vs price to our guests: storytelling about the philosophy of farmers and craft producers, raw materials, production processes, indigenous recipes, etc. We play the role of a producer for a manufacturer, not all of them are engaged in their own marketing and content, so we talk about each one separately, conveying their values ​​and features.


In a certain sense, the "Lavka Tradycij" is an image project for the "Silpo" chain. In communication, it is very important for us to show an ethical approach to animals, the natural composition of products, the difference between farm and industrial products. Since this year, in addition to the farming direction, I have started rethinking healthy food category at "Silpo".


What challenges do you face? Did they change in the context before / after the war?

For the first week after the full-scale invasion, the whole team was looking for relatively safe places inland, and then we got down to manual control. Supply chains had to be rearranged, some manufacturers stopped production, some were physically injured, some moved their production to another region. Despite everything, we had an important humanitarian task – to make sure that there were products in the stores. Of course, we put all infrastructure projects on hold – True&Local Festivals, the "Foodprosvita" educational program, visits to farms and image projects.


Your superpower?

I consider my entrepreneurial mindset and marketing background to be my superpower.


Своєю суперсилою вважаю підприємницький майндсет і маркетинговий бекграунд.

How did your life and your work change after the start of the war? Where are you based now? What did you have to go through?

The first weeks I was burdened with finding a safe place for myself. On the 3rd day of the war, I left Kyiv and on the 5th day I was in Lviv, where I based until May 10. Then I returned to Kyiv. All of us were in a disassembled state. I immediately started working in the chain's Lviv stores, helping my colleagues put products on the shelves. There were not enough hands, it was necessary to quickly put the goods in the hall.


Such work put me in a meditative state. While putting groceries, I realized how important packaging and show boxes are for this category, how important it is for the manufacturer to understand how the work of a person engaged in merchandising is organized. It is a hard work, physically exhausting very much. If you don't think about it, the product can end up in a trap and 90% of the packages will just lie on the shelf.


What did you help to adapt to new conditions?

I still sublimate into work. I do not allow myself to skip yoga and meditation, which I have been practicing for a long time. For me, this is a serious help not to go crazy. Communication with parents.


Your advice to other marketers / entrepreneurs / business owners who left Ukraine or home city due to the war – what to do / what to avoid in a new place?

Communication with friends and acquaintances helped me a lot. We spent a lot of time together, exploring Lviv places. The relaxed chatter and laughter gave the feeling that you are not somewhere far away, but in a space where you know someone, and this eased the worries and longing for home.


I am introverted and don't really like making new acquaintances, but through my "I don't want to" I communicated with people, made many nice acquaintances and left Lviv with regret, even though I was never his fan. During that time, I made a map of my favorite places: where to drink coffee, where to have a breakfast, where to a have dinner. I literally wrapped myself with the society where I feel comfortable. And I didn't go where it was uncomfortable. In some sense, I created my own bubble.


What did you feel when you returned home?

Unbelievable joy for everything! Joy in such an amplitude, as if you are discovering the world again, joy of everything that you did not notice before. I was in a routine, as if I was running after carrots, I didn't like everything, I wanted to jump out of it. And then once it was reset! New meanings were immediately added. A feeling of gratitude.


Якщо з креатором був негативний досвід у тих, кому я довіряю, я б уже не ризикувала. Тих, хто за перших контактів викликає неоднозначні емоції: не приходить на зустріч, спізнюється. Це для мене маркери, що ми ні до чого не домовимося.

How do you usually look for content creators?

Only via friends and colleagues – ask them to advise. I also often notice works or projects on the market, look for team or agency who implemented them. Plus, I'm quite conservative: if I like working with someone, I rarely change them. For this, something extra has to happen.


For what tasks are you looking for creators most often?

Development of packaging design, writing texts, creating photo and video content.


What criteria do you help to select? How long does it take to find and choose a creator?

First of all, cases, a distinct portfolio. I always evaluate from the point of view of tasks and budget. I may have a great desire to work with someone, but not have the budget to do so. In this case, the importance of the project is also an important criterion: how important it is for the business or, for example, you just need to finalize the label for a farmer whose product was sold even with a label in Word.


Timing depends on planning. I prepare the annual budget in November. If a large-scale project is planned for the summer, I start preparing for it in February. If the project is tactical, then in a month.


Who exactly are you not considering?

If those I trust had a negative experience with the creator, I no longer risked it. Those who evoke ambiguous emotions during the first contacts: do not come to the meeting, get to know each other. For me, these are markers that we will not agree on anything.


What is important in working with a creator (about quality, skills of the creator)?

I pay attention to visual aesthetics and tone of voice. It is important to write simply, without complicated verbal prases and adjectives. I do not accept classic copyrighting, it is so plastic, very advertising, looks the same for all brands. There is no feeling that it is true. As for photo and video – I see how creators works with perspectives, angles, color correction. After all, you can shoot reports for CNN, and you can make short films.


If we talk about soft skills, it is important for me to work with those who are nice and kind in interpersonal communication, who have a sense of humor. I love witty people. Plus, I always study a person before meeting, how many mutual acquaintances we have, what he broadcasts on his social media, how he presents himself. I form an initial opinion, then we communicate and at the first meeting I already see whether we will be able to continue. I quickly understand if there is a match.


Все було комфортно та просто. Жодної бюрократії. Я шукала маркетолога на проєкт. Мені запропонували декілька кандидатів, ми одразу погодили роботу з Дашею. Разом ми попрацювали один семестр.

What brought you to the platform? How did you find out?

I heard from the founder of Taker | Maker, I saw her posts on Facebook, thought it was a cool idea and decided to give it a try. By the way, this was my first experience working with a creator picked in other way than by word of mouth.


What were the barriers? Why did you decide to try it anyway?

There were fears because I don't really like to spend time choosing people. This is due to the fact that I do not have much time to search, try, make mistakes. Time for me is the postponement of the start of the project. However, I understand that this is a trap, I feel like I'm limiting myself with this conservative approach. In the case of the platform, I didn't really think it would be bad. Loyalty and trust in Julia (a founder of Taker | Maker) as a specialist played a role here, i.e. the value of the stakeholder was the main one.


Tell us briefly about your experience working with the platform and the creators of the platform? Did we live up to expectations?

Everything was comfortable and simple. No bureaucracy. I was looking for a marketer for the project. I was offered a short list of several candidates, we immediately agreed to work with Dasha. We worked together for one semester. My experience was no different than what I had done before. Only this time the entry point was the platform, not my friend or colleague.


What do you like the most about the platform?

Simply, intuitively clear, there were no difficulties in learning to work with you.


Саме вичерпний бриф і референси синхронізують замовника та виконавця. Інакше це творчість: хто що зрозумів так і зробив. За те, що так вийшло, відповідає замовник.

Tips for clients: how to find someone who will do the job exactly as needed?

The main thing is to know exactly what you want to get as a result. In my experience, the biggest dissatisfaction with the end result comes from the lack of job acceptance criteria. The customer expects that the contractor will decide what and how to do. Therefore, he or she does not brief qualitatively. However, people do not read minds and the contractor misses the mark. I often faced such situation when client didn't explain, briefed somehow and got something. After all, it is the comprehensive brief and references that synchronize the customer and the contractor. Otherwise, it is creativity: as the creator understood it, so the creator did it. The customer is responsible for what happened as a result.


Tips for creators: how to become a creator with whom you always want to work?

First of all, to be a normal person, not an ordinary performer, to build normal relationships, to interact normally. Have a desire to delve into the issue, to be proactive. If you have more expertise than the client, you should not dominate and impose what is convenient, profitable, and cheaper for you. More often take the side of the customer, try on his situation. To be more empathetic, not to wave away: "you asked – I did." Think about collaboration as a partnership, provide a service from the point of view of the customer's business, offer him or her a crash test. Often, the customer rushes at his own pace, does not have time to think or look in all directions, so it is important to ask him or her leading / critical questions. Usually, I don't let such creators go.


To contact the marketing specialist Daria, who collaborated with Maryna on the "Lavka Tradycij Silpo" projects, and invite her to your project – drop a line to Julia Pysmenna, pysmenna@gmail.com or just fill in our Brief.

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