Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the organization.
We are Zgraya Digital — a full-service digital agency that operates in what we love to call the Holy Trinity of Digital, namely design, development, and marketing. We love getting our hands dirty with our client’s pains and tasks. We create award-winning websites with world-class performance. We build mobile applications and web platforms with foolproof UX, beautiful UI, and pristine clean code behind it all. We do quite a bit of branding — swinging from basic visual identities to full-blown brand strategies.
But above it all, we love solving complex issues our clients are dealing with. This is where our Marketing department takes charge and assembles a team of designers, developers, brand masters, and business analysts to paint the big picture and apply all of our skills and resources to deliver the most effective bundle of digital solutions.
I am the founder and CEO of this incredibly talented team of 35 digital professionals that are Zgraya (by the way, in Ukrainian it means a pack of wolves, a pride of lions, or a flock of birds).
What is the story behind starting this company?
This is a fun one. Zgraya is a classical divorce-child turned-out right. Back in the day, I used to be a partner in a design studio. But at some point, my ex-partner and I stopped seeing eye to eye on where to go next, and we split. She kept the brand and all the digital assets that came with it, and I kept the team.
So, basically, we faced the challenge of re-inventing ourselves in a short period of time. Essentially, we had to do to ourselves what we usually do for our clients. Except we had literally no time to do it as we needed to start generating revenues to keep afloat.
This was probably the most intense and the most fun thing I have ever done business-wise. The team really came through and showed that we are a pack. In only 3 weeks we came up with a new vision, new name, new brand identity, and managed to release a landing page to start directing our clients to. Our CMO took what our designers and developers put together and managed to build a pipeline that pretty much immediately got us proper attention, so that within a month after the kick-off we had the first contract to our new name.
Truth be told, I still think that this was somewhat of a properly calculated and exceptionally executed miracle, which made me believe that our team is capable of absolutely anything.
What is your company’s business model — in-house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We believe in keeping things in-house. Don’t get me wrong though — we do get people involved when a project requires expertise we do not have. But those gigs are collaborations rather than blatant outsourcing. For example, when we worked on a new website for our long-term friends from Burfa (an Estonian fintech conglomerate), we knew that to breed trust we need to highlight the real people behind the business. So we took one of Kyiv’s best photographers, the project’s art director, and flew to Tallinn for a two-day long photoshoot.
There are more examples like this but in the vast majority of cases, the only hands that touch our clients’ projects are those of pure-bred Zgrayans :)
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
Well, I bet everyone answers this question in pretty much the same manner — “we see the big picture, we solve the problem, we care for our clients and we always deliver.” Don’t get me wrong, we do all of the above plus a bit extra. And I guess this extra bit is what makes us stand out:
We respond to our client’s requests in no longer than 24 hours (unless there’s a weekend in the middle, of course — people have to have a break). Our offers are not only more detailed and tailored to the issue at hand, but they are also beautifully crafted, showcasing our designers’ touch.
We are transparent to the point of getting our clients fully engaged in our inner works. We are vocal and opinionated when we see that what the client requests is not the best solution. At the same time, we always keep in mind that first and foremost the project is our client’s baby.
We are global and cross-industrial, so we are both culturally sensitive and adventurous in sourcing inspiration from places people don’t usually care to look at. Our developers think design, our designers think marketing, and our marketing packages it all to create an unstoppable customer-centric machine.
So, in a nutshell, it is the energy to take that extra step and to venture out of the expected along with crazy internal synergy that makes our clients come back to us for more.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We take pride in our sensible opportunism. We work with one of the oldest US marketing companies, had a gig with one of Europe’s coolest performance car manufacturers, worked with one of the world’s best cyber-sport teams. At the same time, if the project is fun, we are eagerly jumping into a gig with a garage startup. So, no limits here. Instead of locking ourselves in one industry, we learned how to extract our clients’ expertise and put it through the prism of our experience and creativity in order to deliver. Regardless of the geography and the industry in question.
Our clients love it, and if they have new projects to tackle — 3 out of 4 come back for more.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most?
We are seeing a serious shift in paradigm. Previously, people would mostly come with specific tasks — “I need a mobile app” or “I need a logo” or “I need a website”. Now, more and more, our clients approach us with more complex issues like launching completely new products, venturing to new markets or target audiences, re-vamping old brands (verbal, visual — the whole 9 yards), or detecting and getting rid of the bottlenecks in their digital strategies. The more mature we become, the more we see clients come to us for solutions rather than for products. And we love it as we get a chance to juggle with the multiplicity of our digital skills to get things done.
What is your customer satisfaction rate according to you? What steps do you take to cater to your customer’s needs and requirements?
We try to leave no stone unturned here. The dissatisfied client is a force majeure and a personal tragedy for the team on the project. If things go South, we channel all the resources needed to get the issue fixed. In these rare cases, if needed our C-level rolls up their sleeves and dives in to put out the flames taking care of communication and brainstorming with the team on the task about what went wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.
We also have a process that allows us to avoid negativity. We believe that honesty is the best policy and that the more transparent our actions are, the less chance for a client to be disappointed. We always warn our clients that once we sign, there is going to be a lot of us in their lives. We show interim deliverables and collect clients’ feedback at every major milestone to make sure that we are building and what they expect us to build are one and the same.
What kind of support system do you offer to your clients for catering to their queries and issues?
This one is easy — full transparency, personal care, and full accessibility. Each project has a Project Manager that takes care of the logistics, paperwork, communication, and, essentially, making sure that the client knows where we are in the project at every given moment. Each project also starts with a kick-off, where we introduce our clients to the project’s team. Each member of the team is fully reachable, and should the client have a specific inquiry — we are always open to chat.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
It very much depends on the nature of the project. Shorter web design and development gigs are always a fixed price. Our estimates and timelines in these cases are rock-solid unless we deal with a change of request or a lag in the client’s feedback. These projects are usually milestone-based unless they go over $50k. In these cases, we may offer a sprint-based billing, so that the payment structure reflects the amount of work we do.
Branding is a box-solution with a pre-set pricing for different components and for a full-blown brand strategy.
Product design and development are normally done on T&M basis to be able to properly engage in the product cycle and to provide our clients with proper flexibility. Here we believe in a lean approach, quick MVPs, thorough analysis, and fast iterations. So we bill our clients monthly on a two-sprint basis with full disclosure on what we are going to accomplish and detailed reporting on what we have already done.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
We usually do not engage in projects that take less than 100 hours, as they take as many administrative resources as the larger gigs while delivering significantly less revenue. However, this is also not set in stone. We had a major international organization approach us for an idea of a digital Xmas card. Given the size and the values of the organization, we were totally up for the task, despite the fact that it took us a mere 60 hours to accomplish.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2020?
The smallest one was just over $6k, and the largest one is still underway and already brought us over $130k.
Where do you see your company in the next 10 years?
I see us bigger. I see us as more experienced. I see our current seniors leading new branches and opening new offices. I see us having these offices in the world’s most beautiful places so that the team has an opportunity to move around and get inspired while inspiring others.
But at the same time, I see us stay true to our origins, to our ideals, and, most importantly — to each other. Because we are Zgraya.