We’ve been exploring Moscow and St Petersburg for the past few weeks, in search of authentic Russian brands. Among our favorites is Krupskaya, a chocolate brand from St Petersburg. Today we’re on our way to their factory to meet Olga Agafonova, the brand’s corporate communications manager.
A strong smell of cacao engulfs us as we enter the building where Krupskaya chocolate has been produced since 1938. Olga is waiting for us at the reception and welcomes us in perfect English. “It’s great to have you here,” she says as we follow her into a large corridor, “welcome to our chocolate emporium!”
“How come your English is so excellent,” I ask, ” where did you learn it?”
Olga smiles. “Thanks! I actually started off as an English teacher before I went to work in communications. I’ve been responsible for corporate communication at Krupskaya since 2006.”
As she leads us through the factory, we pass by a set of large windows that offer a glimpse of the production process. “So what does the word Krupskaya mean?” Anouk asks.
“It’s a name,” says Olga, “Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya Lenin’s wife. When she died in 1939, the factory workers petitioned the government to name their factory after her.”
“Wow that’s pretty cool!” says Anouk. “Talk about a brand with history!”
Olga laughs. “It’s true but of course a lot has changed since then,” she says. “We have a new owner since 2006: the Norwegian company Orkla. They manage a range of older, well-established brands, many of them from Scandinavia. Orkla attaches a lot of importance to authenticity, which is very important to us. It means the original brand values aren’t lost and we can keep building on them.”
“Are there other advantages to being part of an international group?” I ask.
“Yes of course,” says Olga. “First of all we now share knowledge and expertise with different countries, which makes us stronger. And it’s also interesting for me personally: I get to know people from other countries who work in the same domain. I get to attend international meetings, put my English skills to good use and I’m constantly learning about new developments and trends.”
“It sounds like a really interesting time of development and growth for Krupskaya!” Anouk says. “I’m curious to hear about your plans for the future!”
“Wait, before I tell you all about the story of our brand, let’s have a chocolate tasting.”
“Wow,” I say, “that’s by far the best idea we had today!”
© 2014 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
Tags: around the world in 80 brands, Brand psychologist, Cool Brands Storytelling, Cool Storytelling, CoolBrands, Global Storytelling Campaign, Katerina Rogova, Krupskaya, Lenin’s wife, mig812, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, orcla, Russia, Russian Brands, Russian Chocolate, Saint Petersburg, St Petersburg