Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many entrepreneurs and executives have gone through various stages of transformation of their digital businesses.
This was necessary to keep companies going, secure jobs and support the Ukrainian economy. As of April 2022 according to IAB Ukraine data, digital business is gradually recovering. More than 90% of both advertising agencies and advertisers are resuming their work to the full capacity or at least to some extent. The recovery is gradually moving towards a positive dynamic, also thanks to the changes introduced to business processes.
Based on the experience of our digital agency Netpeak, I will present the transition our focus has gone through.
Challenges In Organizational Processes
The 24th of February has inevitably started our new reality. Like many Ukrainians, we didn't expect that things would escalate into a full-scale invasion. In order to be prepared for the worst, we thought of the three possible scenarios unfolding:
1. "Crimea" – fast annexation with no battles
2. "Donetsk" – a lot of battles and troubled moving
3. "Georgia" – very short full-scale war.
Every scenario consisted of necessary things everybody has to do: from documents and a list of things in the “survival kit” suitcase to a map of shelters and guidelines.
When the war started, we established a workgroup, whose main priority was to organize a centralized evacuation for the employees. That allowed us to evacuate around 25% of our employees who expressed the desire to do so.
Since the pandemic in 2020, we have had remote work experience, therefore we were able to organize smooth remote operations. We had offices in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa, where 40% of full-time positions were located. Today, the whole team is working remotely from different countries and safe cities in Ukraine. Unfortunately, our office in Kharkiv was hit by an enemy missile strike. The offices in Odesa and Kharkiv have been modified to serve humanitarian needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Kyiv office, located on high floors is temporarily closed given the danger of another enemy missile strike.
Kharkiv office after the Russian invasion
As of today, our employees are relatively safe. We continue working with Ukrainian businesses and are entering the European and U.S. markets. We have officially preserved the positions and salaries of those, who decided to defend Ukraine as soldiers and joined the Armed Forces.
Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion, 70% of the Netpeak Group team has been fighting Russian propaganda online. On February, 24th we set up our own Netpeak digital army.
Our digital marketing specialists have distributed and promoted verified information about the current situation in Ukraine on Google, YouTube, Facebook and VK (Russian social network). This information has already received over 200 million views on YouTube and over 10 million reactions on social media.
The New Business Focus
As the biggest performance marketing agency in the country, we were forced to change our priorities from the Ukraine market to Western Europe. In the first days of the war, we lost about 70% of our revenue streams. We’ve created several workgroups to enter the European market and decided to focus on the United Kingdom market as well.
The main challenge we faced was Ukraine having no "brand" as an outsourcing hub. And, as a representative of Ukraine, it is important to do everything we can to promote our country as a great outsourcing place. There are about 20 thousand technical university graduates every year. Most of them have a good level of English and considerable theoretical background. The Ukrainian ad market is so competitive that people usually use every possibility to upgrade their businesses, including ad campaigns, conversions, etc.
Despite revenue loss, we’ve saved almost 80% of the team and we would be happy to provide agencies and clients with the full range of our services, from managed SEO and Paid Media to very specific analytical tasks and team out-staffing. Connecting to other western-based agencies and working with them on a white-label approach is also something we would be delighted to do.
We had to cut off some additional bonuses, terminate offices, and re-configure the team, to accomplish our main goal – save our team, and allow them to continue working and earn money. I believe we have succeeded in accomplishing that goal, and our funds allow us to work for about one year under these conditions.
Speaking of our everyday work reality, I truly believe that the word "stress-resistant” is going to be an inevitable part of every Ukrainian’s CV. :)
Eventually, one day the war will come to an end, but we will never forget all the skills we have acquired through such an experience: openness to new opportunities, rapid adaptability of services and processes, and the ability to perform tasks at a faster pace.
The Kharkiv office has been modified to serve humanitarian needs