Anton Sadykov, director of Lioncom event agency, on the technology for building a national agency for organizing store openings.
Anton, when did your company appear?
Lioncom has been around for almost seven years. It all started with a promotion agency of all-Ukrainian coverage and work in the field of tastings, consultations, and other things. Later, the list of our services was expanding, some services became less relevant, and some, on the contrary, gained popularity.
In 2011, the company started to work in the direction of grand openings and prize draws. In particular, we cooperated with MIROPLAST (WDS ™ windows) to open branded window salons in 5 regions of Ukraine.
Who and how came up with the idea of creating a business to organize the opening of outlets?
In 2012, for the first time, we received a large one-year contract for the opening of more than 50 objects for one client. By the middle of the year, it became clear that this area is not just good, but is challenging us to grow and become better.
At the end of 2012, the final decision was made to professionally engage in grand openings, that is, to be a “wide” specialist and expert operator in this “narrow” field.
How many employees work at Lioncom?
The company’s main office currently employs 17 people. These are coordinators, administrators, and the creative team of the agency. Most of the agency’s executors are located in different regions of the country. In total, in 2013, we used the services of more than 560 employees.
“Lioncom” provides a range of services in the field of ATL, BTL, event, and printing. Which of them are most in-demand now?
From the first day of the agency’s work, the idea was the main component of any of our projects. That is why we used certain marketing tools as they were needed. If you compare us with the chef, the agency’s services are spices that are added to the main course, products of our customers. The important thing is not how much pepper or salt we use in general, but what we do to ensure that the dishes are really tasty.
Prove how profitable is it for a retail chain to outsource the process of opening a store, rather than do it on their own?
As a rule, even at the simplest store opening, 5–10 contractors are used for each zone. These are balloons on sticks, a garland, music, a host, a prize fund, accounting clearance, etc. With each of the contractors it is necessary to go through a rather bureaucratic procedure of approvals, contractual regulations, the formation of accounts, as well as other workflows; specify the time and place of the project; determine the format of work and much more.
If we are talking about one opening, then the question is not so complicated, but many clients make openings in different cities and even regions. Each event turns into a headache for the manager, because each contractor is a small “unforeseen situation”.
Another thing is delegating it all to an agency. Working with us, the manager of the trading network once agrees on the terms, stages, type, and other conditions of work, and the agency takes care of all other questions. Each client can expect that the level and quality of work will be at the same level, no matter in which region an event takes place. For this reason, network clients love working with us.
In addition, we have experience: we know which mechanics work well, which ones do not really, what to do in order to increase the amount of the average check, and how to make sure that the buyers are satisfied. We provide each client with a report on the actions of competitors and ideas for optimizing events.
What is technologically more difficult: to organize the opening of a discounter, a bank branch, or a super-technological communication salon?
There is no difference – the main thing is to do it with good preparation and love. All the complexity depends on external factors. For example, on local authorities – big lovers of prohibitions. We organize projects with equal precision both day and night, and at minus 30 and at plus 35 degrees.
Who are the key customers of your company today?
Our clients are large retail chains in the field of retail FMCG, BT&E, all-Ukrainian banking institutions, shopping and entertainment centers and others. Now we are also negotiating with several operators of the gas station market and DIY retail.
What are your development plans for 2014?
All employees of our company are in love with what we do: from project to project, we learn to do better. The plans for this year: expand the network of company offices in the West and East of the country, as well as in the regions of “big” business; increase our own material and technical base; to reach a new level of project implementation, and of course, to break our own record for the number of events.
According to the materials of: allretail.ua