Grapefruit is a Romanian independent agency that started its journey on Romanian market 20 years ago. From the initial approach, offering branding services, the agency decided to go towards another direction and became a fully digital one. An insight to the direction, approach and changes within the agency was offered to AdHugger by Georgiana Dragomir, Managing Director Grapefruit.
AdHugger: What were the most important steps in the agency in those 20 years?
Georgiana Dragomir: There were four important decisions that we took in the past 20 years. The first decision was to remove the branding services from our services and keep only digital. We did this because we believed that digital is the future and branding will be covered by more & more agencies and do-it-yourself tools.
The second decision for Grapefruit to become a user experience agency came along with creating new competencies and roles inside our agency, which helped us to create and deliver new services to our business partners.
Another milestone was passed last year when we reached EUR 1.000.000 revenue. This signaled us that our partners & clients trust us and the decision to go fully digital has been fully justified.
Last but not least, this year Grapefruit is celebrating 20 years of activity. After two decades, we are still growing, performing, and we are going to continue to do this.
AdHugger: How would you say that the digital industry changed?
There was no abrupt change. The industry evolved in time and the difference resides in the rate of the change. We had the opportunity to be pioneers of the digital industry and its evolution was not surprising. In the past few years, we did notice a higher rate of digital adoption from companies of all sizes. Companies invest higher budgets in what they believe in, and they have been investing more in the digital area.
AdHugger: How has its development changed Grapefruit?
Georgiana Dragomir: We evolved at the same time with the industry. We expanded our operations, we developed new processes and introduced new technologies. It was a natural and stable process and we are quite happy that we did all this without too many risks along the way.
AdHugger: How hard was to make the leap from digital & branding to only digital and product launch?
Georgiana Dragomir: The leap we made hasn’t been as suddenly as people might think. Indeed, we made this switch in under a year, but it came naturally. We were expecting this, we had a smart transition plan and it all worked out for the best in the end.
AdHugger: What are the most important awards Grapefruit won and how did they impact the success of the agency?
Georgiana Dragomir: After 2011 we decided to no longer participate in contests. We decided to take the energy and time it took to participate in contests and put it in bringing results for our clients. We may change our decision in the future but until then it’s all about the work :).
AdHugger: What clients is Grapefruit targeting in 2019-2020?
Flavian Cristea: We are targeting 3 main categories of clients in 2019-2020. Within Romania, we are working with corporations that want to explore and create innovative projects in the digital area. We create for them MVPs in the business and marketing area and also optimize and automate various business processes.
We are also open to working with medium-sized companies, whose projects we find challenging and interesting. In the international market, we are looking to collaborate with corporations as well as medium-sized companies in industries such as energy, retail, and FMCG.
AdHugger: How has the client list changed during the years?
Georgiana Dragomir: We prefer adding new clients rather than changing them. We have developed long-lasting relationships with our current clients and we have been working with some of them for the past 14-15 years. Having those long relationships with our partners, helps us work together in creating valuable projects for their businesses.
For these partnerships to last, you need to have trust on both sides, and we could say that we have been delivering as promised every time. Therefore, the clients’ list hasn’t changed during the years, we just added new ones to it.
AdHugger: How would you characterize the digital advertising industry in Romania in 2019?
Flavian Cristea: We are witnessing a process of steady growth in the digital advertising industry. We are glad that now there’s an agency for every type of client. This shows us that the industry is gradually maturing. Also, competition is higher which forces us to become better in our field and this is good for everyone involved.
AdHugger: What about the one in the CEE?
Flavian Cristea: It’s tough to compete with offers from some digital agencies located in countries like Bulgaria because they have low costs for certain services. The good news is that we reached a level where we can deliver high-quality digital products at competitive prices.
Also, having a big office in Iasi has been a great advantage for us. In the CEE region, there’s no other development hub that can compete cost-quality wise. In Iasi, we can find highly experienced people, at a reasonable cost, that deliver high-quality products.
AdHugger: What do you wish for 2020 from the agency? What about from the industry you are working on?
Georgiana Dragomir: For 2020 I wish everything will grow as sustainable as before and to expand a bit more internationally. We want to explore more of the CEE region and I want the agency to grow without losing its principles and values along the way. I believe it’s better to grow steady and constantly without losing the level of quality you deliver, rather than growing incredibly fast in one year and losing everything even faster.
AdHugger: How are you constantly adapting to the changes of the industry and the demands of the clients and consumers?
Flavian Cristea: When it comes to change, there are 3 important aspects that we are focusing on.
The first one is our organizational culture. We promote values and behaviors that help us change. For example, one of our main principles is “stepping out of your comfort zone” meaning that we encourage people to explore new technologies, methods, and channels in order to grow and improve.
The way in which our agency is organized reflects the flexibility we have. We are able to reorganize our teams according to what our client needs. For example, if there’s a client that needs 7 to 8 people to work on his account and next week he needs only 2, we can easily oscillate between these requests.
As for the third way in which we promote change, we created an internal program called “Outgrow Yourself Programme”. This way, we offer support for our senior employees to take some time and explore other fields in which they would like to expand. Also, we are giving a chance to our junior-mid or mids to develop new leadership skills.
AdHugger: What are the main challenges of 2020 for Grapefruit?
Georgiana Dragomir: We have 2 main challenges in 2020. In the past few years, we have grown tremendously and now we want to stabilize the changes that we have already made. The second challenge is to consolidate the services we offer for international clients. We want to provide the same high-quality products and services that we have accustomed our Romanian clients and require some internal changes to be made.
For me, Grapefruit has been a chance that most of us would want at least once in their career. Since the beginning, I have been supported in everything I wanted to do in order to achieve my goals. Grapefruit is the place where you can grow sustainable and healthy, but only if you want to. My responsibilities have changed throughout the years, and the bright side was that I have discovered them along the way, according to what our needs were.” – Anca Teletin, Chief Operations Officer
Grapefruit has been the place where I could discover, experiment and perform in the digital medium.” – Flavian Cristea, Digital Strategist