Jaime Flórez-Estrada, the vice president of marketing for Royal Agio USA, is a marketing professional with big goals for 2018. In June 2017, European cigar manufacturer Royal Agio announced that it would be establishing a headquarters here in the U.S. Having spent years working with well-known brands—both inside and outside of the tobacco industry—Flórez-Estrada can tell you how to uncover your brand’s hidden value and develop a well-rounded marketing strategy that will get results and build your company’s base in both new and old markets.
Tobacco Business: How do you create and generate brand interest and awareness?
Jaime Flórez-Estrada: This is a good question because generating brand awareness and generating brand interest are two different objectives. Generating awareness is essentially getting people to know that your product exists by putting your brand message in front of them. And there are many ways that a tobacco company or retailer can generate awareness for a brand, from mass-awareness tools, such as print and online advertising, to more tactical initiatives, such as in-store point-of-sale and social media campaigns.
But getting your brand in front of prospective customers is just the beginning. To generate brand interest and appeal in a way that results in a product purchase is really the ultimate objective of any brand campaign. In order to get this right, we at Royal Agio spend a lot of time thinking about our unique brand identities and related brand campaign messaging—visuals and copy—that inspire cigar smokers to choose our brand the next time they enter a retailer’s humidor.
How do you use old-school marketing platforms like print with new ones like social media to advertise and push new products to retailers and consumers?
When it comes to new product introductions, each marketing platform has its role. Media support plans for us, which focus on generating brand awareness and building relationships, incorporate a balanced approach that includes both traditional print media and digital media.
Broad-reaching print media is a great way to generate mass awareness for new products out of the gate and to keep the brands top of mind over time via key industry publications with strong national and/or regional coverage. Digital media, although it usually reaches a smaller audience, is an effective way to engage retailers and consumers on a more frequent, ongoing basis through a company website and key social media channels. We plan to leverage both effective platforms in a way that helps bring our brands to life and strengthens our relationships with the trade and consumers.