Hayk Simonyan, Founder/CEO of Doping Creative Agency (Armenia) told that they never make compromises, because everything they do is based on research.
Tell us about the Armenian advertising industry. What makes Armenia special?
Armenia is a small country, we do not have access to the sea, no natural resources, war with the neighbour. You have to be really creative to succeed in Armenia!
That’s why we have so many successful startups – you need to work across the borders to succeed. We as an agency have also many clients from abroad. In this industry, you can work from anywhere in the World. The client sends you the brief and you just offer your solutions.
It sounds easy, but there is a lot of competition in the advertising World. How do get clients from abroad?
We have a dedicated sales person. Our team has lots of connections globally, Armenian community abroad helps a lot. There are more Armenians living outside Armenia – in the US, UAE, Europe – than in Armenia. Armenian agencies are willing to go and extra mile – we work harder for the same amount of money. And we are able to offer world-class quality.
How did the pandemic influence your business?
We have to work even harder, our performance must be very high. We have diversified our business – in addition to conventional agency clients, we will also invest in creating our own brands. We create our own products, we have equity in such businesses. This year, we will launch three our own brands: a Mexican fast food chain, ice cream brand and vodka brand. I believe that after 5 -10 years, 80-90% of your revenue will come from our own products.
That is quite a risky strategy – it takes time to build new brands. How do you manage financially?
We still have conventional clients, the service fees cover our daily operational costs. We are willing to sacrifice our profits for the future growth. Our employees are also motivated by the success of these our own brands we create. This approach has really changed the general mindset of our people.
The easiest thing is to find the money – there are plenty of investors if you offer them proper idea. We present the actual product to the investors – the actual packaging, design colors, brand name etc. And we never make compromises, because everything we do is based on research. If the investors want to change something – the color, for instance – we say "no". Compromise in product development and brand building is the worst thing you can do!