Roman Trzaskalik comes from Jablunkovsko in the Moravian-Silesian Region and when he chose a university after graduation from his secondary school, VSB – Technical University of Ostrava was a logical choice. “When I came to university, I had no idea how it would end and where I would end up. But this school gave me a real kick for my future life. I met a great group of people that I am still in touch with. During my studies, I started working for a student organization AIESEC that opened my horizons and I travelled abroad. The university was just a great start, and it trained my ability to learn, search for information and to sort it,” Roman Trzaskalik summarizes his studies at the Faculty of Economics.
He says that today your future is not just about the studies. “Today, students have huge access to information and in the end, you can learn everything. But what makes a difference is how you behave and how you approach things,” he advises today’s students of marketing and other branches. “You must be open, be able to listen to others and take some responsibility. Be willing to keep learning, educating yourself and look beyond borders,” he advises.
He studied finance at the Faculty, which he did not want to engage in. “My target was marketing, creative work. Paradoxically, after graduation, I started work for DANONE in the Sales Department,” laughs our graduate. From there, however, he moved quite quickly to marketing. In 2006, he decided to leave the Czech Republic and try to live and work abroad. “Originally, I wanted to stay there for a maximum of two years, but it turned out to be 12 years. I have gained experience from Europe through the Middle East to Africa – in Saudi Arabia, France, Algeria and Morocco,” he specifies. He enjoyed learning about new cultures. “I had to get away from the big mistake of most marketers: that they think they understand the behaviour of consumers. When you come to live in a completely different culture that does not work. I realized how distorted our view and filters are, by which we assess our consumers' behaviour. But in the end, neither we nor our friends represent real shoppers and consumers,” claims Roman Trzaskalik. Abroad, as a team manager, he had to find another way to work with people and to develop them. “Not all cultures respond to your learned management culture, I had to search for my way and adapt it. It was great progress for me,” he paused thinking.
When the job offer came from Prazdroj later on, he did not hesitate. “It was my big dream. Beer is about emotion from the point of view of my profession, and that attracted me. I have always admired my home brand Radegast, and because I spent some time abroad, I also admired the Pilsner Urquell brand that can be found even on the other side of the world,” smiles Roman Trzaskalik. He is in charge of the Czech and Slovak markets and manages a large team. “It is important to realize that you can change nothing on your own. And you will not be able to do everything yourself. My primary mission is to create an environment for my colleagues to have space to grow, to have the necessary support and clearly set borders. I want them to have freedom, to run their business, to take the responsibility for this. I am just helping them to find direction and support, to do good marketing, make innovations or do research,” he says.
The Covid-19 pandemic also affected the marketing of Pilsen Prazdroj. But Roman Trzaskalik tries to take positives from every crisis. “I think one of the things the pandemic has taught us is that we can do things faster and more efficiently. Everyone had to respond to the pandemic situation, everyone had to alter their plans,” he claims. Prazdroj brands depend on festivals, events full of people, and pubs. “All of this was all gone at once, and so we are trying new things,” he says and adds: “I think the fact that we have survived the pandemic is based on our philosophy and our priorities, which are our people – our employees and partners, together with our brands. These two factors have guaranteed our success.”
They are preparing a lot of novelties in Pilsen Prazdroj – as regards products, managers are searching outside the beer category, for ciders, soft drinks and for a new hit: hard seltzer, which is flavoured water with a drop of alcohol and fewer calories. “We are also reassessing our business model. We have a huge cooling bar in pubs, but today the HORECA segment look different. Small bistros and cafes are emerging. Therefore, we design small bar equipment, simple to operate. We are also considering digitizing our shop operations. These times have shown us that you don´t have to wait for a waiter at the end of the evening to pay. A QR code placed on each table and contactless payment can be a simple way to increase the satisfaction of the guests in the restaurant. We want to move on.”
And how does Roman Trzaskalik rest? He does several sports, spends time with friends and travels. “I don’t want to sit at home every night, I change by meeting people and participating in events. I go for everything over my head, and am willing to try everything. I like challenges and new stimuli,” he closes his story.