Alexey Pyatkov (Further in the text - A), Kristina Yabornitska (K) and Evgeny Semin (E) are RIOU MSA 2020 program graduates. After the graduation, together they created their own sports marketing agency - KRAB.agency. The founders spoke about the initial concept, its transformation after studying at RIOU and the agency in an interview with the press department of the University.
- How did the idea of creating your own agency come about? Is KRAB.agency a joint project?
E: The very idea of a branding agency in the sports field appeared even before entering RIOU. Alexey managed a branding agency that successfully implemented projects in various directions. So, initially, there was an idea to launch a new business line within the existing branding agency. However, during our studies at RIOU, the concept itself has undergone major changes. We realized that using our professional background, as well as newly obtained knowledge, we can significantly expand the range of our services. Thus, the idea of launching a new business line within the existing branding agency was transformed into the idea of launching a new company.
A: The company is definitely a joint project. KRAB.agency has three leaders responsible for different spheres of business. It is the combination of our professional and personal qualities that allows us to offer our clients from the world of sport unique products in the field of branding, communications, and digital services.
- What came first, admission to RIOU, or the concept?
K: As colleagues have already mentioned, the idea itself was born a long time ago. The importance here is that during our studies this idea acquired a clear outline: we accurately formulated what we want to do, what are our strengths and competitive advantages, and what benefits we can offer to sports organizations. The key point here is that at RIOU we have formed as a team.
- How did the skills and knowledge obtained at RIOU help you in creating the agency and its current activities?
E: The knowledge obtained through MSA studies have influenced our holistic vision of the sports world. Having considerable experience in the international sports industry at the time of admission to RIOU, we, nevertheless, received a solid package of new knowledge. Recognized experts in the field of good governance, economics, sports management, marketing, event planning, brand building and development, gave us invaluable experience and knowledge that changed our views in many ways.
A: Now, we can say with confidence, that one of our competitive advantages is a comprehensive understanding of the sports world - from the global structure to the smallest details, that we had not even thought about before.
- How would you describe your project? What did you focus on?/What was your focus?
E: We are a creative marketing agency focusing mainly on working with sports organizations - federations, leagues, clubs, private sports franchises, etc. What do we offer:
Analytics and consulting of the current brand's condition and its further strengthening
Branding and design services - starting from the creation of a new logo design to the full arena’s branding
Digital services - starting from technical and marketing audit of websites and social networks to the development of complex web-portals / online stores
Communication and advertisement - a wide range of tools for brand's contact with the audience
A: Our main task is to combine creativity, effective brand building, and its further development with the use of appropriate communication strategies and digital technologies. The combination of our team members allows us to deal with the most non-trivial tasks. We also consider international experience to be our advantage. Moreover, the set of services offered by KRAB.agency enables the client to solve various marketing, branding, and communications issues comprehensively.
It may sound pompous, but we want, and we are ready, to change the image of Russian and international sport by focusing on the latest technologies and creation of new trends.
- How does the current market situation look-like? Especially considering the instability associated with the pandemic.
K: Of course, the global sports industry (like the whole world itself) is going through difficult times right now. People are getting used to the new reality. At the same time, it is said that any crisis creates new opportunities. Now is the time to search for non-standard solutions and improve work efficiency. In other words, the crisis is a reason to become even better and stronger: “Right here. Right now.” The current market situation suggests that the global sports industry is in the process of recovering. Sports organizations are looking for ways to adapt existing products, formats, and services and to create new ones. The majority of activities have shifted online with new features, and social networks keep on accelerating. We offer our clients special marketing products that allow them to refresh or completely rebuild their image and communication strategy for the post-crisis times.
- How do you cope with this situation? Do you have to make unusual decisions?
A: From the very beginning, KRAB.agency practices the most flexible work approach. We try not to use the word “no” in communication with our clients. We always strive to explain our position as clearly as possible, and jointly seek for optimal solutions. We carefully follow global industry trends and adapt our services keeping them always up-to-date.
E: As Kristina mentioned, we have developed a special anti-crisis “Post Covid” offer for our clients. It is a clear set of basic services for updating and/or changing the image of a sports organization: rebranding, development of a new modern website and a new communication strategy. An integrated approach and “one-stop shop” principle allows you to get a high-quality result for a reasonable price.
- There are many Russian organizations among your clients. Do you plan to enter the international market?
K: That's right! At the moment, a significant part of our clients are from Russia. But, from the beginning, we have understood that one of our key advantages should be the international focus of our work. We already have several foreign partners and we are convinced that their number will only grow. Of course, in this sense, we are much supported by the fact that we are a part of the RIOU international alumni community :)
All together: As you know, sport has no borders. And we are ready to prove it with our daily work for the benefit of the global sports industry!