- Sunday, 28 May 2023
After cementing its leading position on the Georgian market, Proservice, the country’s first hosting company, is set to conquer foreign markets under a new brand and increase its customer base.
CEO Revaz Natroshvili told Golden Brand that the domain and brand name had already been selected, while technical work is underway to launch the website and integrate online payments.
“We plan to launch operations on the international market under the new brand. The number of internet users who want to start websites and put various software on the net is literally unlimited, and if Georgia also appears in this market and takes a worthy place worldwide, we will have even more motivation,” Natroshvili said.
Currently Proservice provides services to customers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia.
“Mostly these are transnational companies which need to host servers, including in Georgia and the Caucasus region. As for the new target countries for our company, it's hard to sort them out because there are no borders on the internet, it’s limitless. But our advertising campaign is now focused mainly on European countries."
Operations on international markets are not the company's only focus. Natroshvili says that in order not to hamper the company’s growth on the local market, they have purchased new equipment.
“80% of the capacity we have now is exhausted, and in order not to delay the growth, we have ordered new equipment in advance. Just like in manufacturing — more equipment means more resources. Everything changes and in order to remain competitive you need to invest and foster development. In a world of constant change, the winner is the one who plans ahead," Natroshvili believes.
Established in 1999, the core activities of Proservice are creation of web sites, high quality and inexpensive web hosting (web, mail, ftp), registration of domain names, creation of electronic business cards, programming of service design, consulting and web promotion planning.
The company has over 15,000 corporate and individual customers, and more than 17,000 registered domain names.
“We have created more than 600 websites for private as well as state institutions," Natroshvili told us.
In 2022 Proservice was the winner of the most influential local business award, the Golden Brand, for utmost success in its enterprise.
Q. Proservice has been operating on the Georgian market since 1999. It is interesting to compare the company's activity to the market back then, when the information and technology sector was not yet developed.
A. Back then there were only two or three companies who were making websites. My brother, Goga Natroshvili was well aware of this issue, because he was interested in this field since childhood. At the beginning of the 90s we already had a computer at home — then it was called an IBM compatible computer, because visually it looked like an IBM, but was Soviet-made part. Goga and his friend used to write small programmes together, mainly just for fun.
When the company was founded, we had no staff because everyone was self-taught. But we managed to find several physics and mathematics graduates who were interested in programming. We did our first project for a construction company. We found that no internet provider offered web hosting to customers back then.
Don't forget that this is still the time of modems and dial up. No one dreamed of the optical internet in the office or at home because it was very expensive. Besides, there was no culture of using e-mail.
I remember big companies didn't take us seriously when we offered them domain registration and e-mail service. But the situation changed in about four years and these companies changed their minds when a foreign partner asked them for their website and e-mail addresses. Around 2003 the situation changed. We brought optical channels to the office and installed the first servers.
Q. And Proservice has established itself as the leader of the market …
A. It almost came naturally because we were simply the most experienced in this field. About 80% of the companies that created web projects and started similar activities with us no longer exist today. Unfortunately, even today companies cannot stay on the market more than two or three years, because it is necessary to follow new technologies, innovations, and new requirements constantly. You can't lag behind the technology, competition is too fierce. And we have to compete not only with Georgian, but with foreign companies. There are only a few companies left from that time that are also successfully operating in web development.
If we talk about hosting alone, we are really the leaders here, because according to the latest data of the Communications Regulatory Commission, we hold slightly more than 30% of the Georgian market. Our customers are both private individuals and companies, ministries, municipalities, non-governmental and international organizations.
Q. What innovations have been introduced by Proservice onto the Georgian market?
A. We were one of the first in the field of e-commerce and one of the first to offer users online store software. This was back in 2007. But it was too early to talk about e-commerce in Georgia. Slowly the number of users has increased in Georgia as well, and probably by 2010-2011 the demand had also appeared. Also, we were the first and probably the only company to offer a hotel management and online reservation system based on Georgian software to the hospitality sector.
Q. Please introduce us to the data center that was created in 2019. What is its importance for the company and for businesses in Georgia?
A. Our data center meets all modern standards and technical specifications based on Schneider Electric continuous power supplies, cooling, monitoring, air humidity monitoring and safety systems. The data center has automatic air-conditioning equipment. Electric power is supplied from two independent supply points and is duplicated by two diesel generators provided with 24-hour reserve diesel fuel.
A private commercial data center of this standard and equipment was built for the first time in Georgia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development offered financial support in the projecting stage of the center, while later the EBRD financed us with 10% of the cost of the equipment we purchased. I would like to thank the Bank once again for its support.
After opening the data center we certainly had more opportunities and added many new services to our portfolio. I won't go into technical details, but Proservice is not inferior to any European or American hosting provider in terms of service delivery.
The new multi-functional modern building accommodates the data center and offices. Along with increased capacity and pleasant working conditions for some 25 employees of the company, the new set up ensures the company's competitiveness in Georgia and abroad. With the new data exchange center, Proservice is now exporting its services worldwide to potential customers using Google ads and other channels.Read more
- Sunday, 28 May 2023
Oktopus Fitness Club is expanding with a fourth branch scheduled to be opened this fall in Tbilisi, with plans to expand into the regions.
“We definitely want to go beyond Tbilisi and offer the experience called Oktopus to different regions of Georgia. And this is included in the development plans of Oktopus Fitness Club,” Director Giorgi Asatiani told Golden Brand.
Oktopus Fitness Club strives to offer its members the best fitness equipment, workout options and the perfect environment to keep fit in. It provides over 2,000 safe, effective, efficient, and enjoyable group class programs on a monthly basis for professional athletes and fans of healthy living.
Thanks to a good environment, professional trainers and all types of fitness equipment, Oktopus Fitness Club has become the leader on the Georgian market and also became the winner of Golden Brand Awards in the category “favorite fitness center”.
Speaking about the factors that led Oktopus Fitness Club to the Golden Brand win, Asatiani highlighted that Oktopus Fitness Club is a “100% proud Georgian rooted brand” which serves to promote a healthy lifestyle in the country.
“Today, there are quite a lot of successful companies operating in the fitness sector, and therefore it is very gratifying that Oktopus Fitness Club was praised and recognized with the Golden Brand award. Winning the Golden Brand showed us once again that selfless work always brings results”, he said.
Q. Golden Brand is given to brands following successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize 2022.
A. 2022 was a year of awakening and restart for many businesses, not only in Georgia but also the world. After the end of the two-year pandemic, companies were allowed to continue operating under normal conditions. In 2022 Oktopus also offered a lot of new things to our club members. 2022 was quite fruitful, productive and rewarding for our club.
In 2022 Oktopus Fitness Club was listed among the top 15 fitness clubs worldwide by Life Fitness as GYMSPIRATION - which makes us very proud.
Q. Please tell us about Oktopus Fitness Club’s development over the years.
A. In 2016, when we opened our first branch, we were distinguished by our avant-garde interior, comfortable environment, and high-quality trainers, but of course later on this wasn’t enough. Today it is very important for our club members to find an orderly environment during their visit to the club, which makes it even easier for them to pursue their goals.
All three branches of Oktopus Fitness Club operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week — we never rest. All members of our club have unlimited memberships, which means that the customer enjoys Oktopus club advantages without limits. We have two branches in Saburtalo district and one in Vake.
In general, Oktopus stands out for introducing conceptual innovations to the market. Oktopus is the only fitness club where access to services is simplified and customers can manage their account online without leaving home. Our mobile app was created for this purpose.
Actually, our app is something we are very proud of — we were the first fitness club in Georgia to have its own app, which has been in use by our customers for almost three years. Our app is always in the top 20 in Apple's Health & Fitness category in our region.
I think the main values that are highlighted in the name of the brand have a big contribution to the development of Oktopus: OK - for a source of positive mood and inspiration; TOP - for competitiveness and striving for victory; US - for a friendly and team environment.
Q. What workout programs does Oktopus offer?
A. Oktopus is the only fitness club in Georgia that offers more than 2,000 group exercises during the month.
We offer unlimited and diverse group classes. We have many innovative exercises such as body ballet, which is built on strength exercises with ballet elements, and fit dance, a mix of Georgian dance and exercise. Recently spinning exercises have been very popular among consumers, which is a fairly high-intensity cardio exercise and is ideal for consumers who are struggling to lose weight.
Naturally, classical exercises such as Pilates, yoga, Zumba and boxing are always popular and have had loyal customers for years.
Q. You offer sound-therapy to customers. As far as I know, Oktopus is the only fitness club to offer it. Please tell us more.
A. Yes, we were the first to offer our customers sound-therapy, led by Lika Evgenidze. Lika has been interested in sound therapy for years and studied it while living in America. And in 2022, we offered our customers sound healing classes, which are very popular and always at a full capacity. I definitely recommend to attend the class.
Q. Who exercises more, men or women?
A. Seven years ago, when we opened the first branch, the proportion of men in our clubs exceeded 70% — today this figure has dropped to 55%. Women's interest in fitness clubs has increased considerably, and now there is almost an equal proportion men and women.
The age ratio of our customers has changed a lot over the years. While seven years ago the average age was 20-25 years, today the average age of our customer is 30-35 years. I think this will increase even more and slowly a culture will emerge in our country that exercising and taking care of one's own health is a priority at all ages.
I would also like to mention that the average period of time spent at the club has also increased over the years — it’s about two hours, which also speaks to our other amenities, such as the cafe, lounge, coworking spaces and so on.
In general, the behavior of our customers towards a healthy lifestyle has changed significantly in recent years, interest has increased, and I can safely say that the whole team of Oktopus Fitness Club has contributed a lot to this.
- Thursday, 25 May 2023
The world’s number one cookie, Oreo, has been recognized as Georgia’s favorite after winning the most prestigious and influential local business award, the Golden Brand.
Davit Khutsishvili, brand manager of Biscuits category at Mondelēz International, the multinational food and beverage company based in the United States which owns Oreo, told Golden Brand that despite an “extremely tough” 2022, Mondelēz International had not only maintained leadership in the Georgian market with its Oreo brand but also “grew by double digits”.
2023 started with new products under the Oreo brand and new plans that the company will gradually reveal to Georgian customers.
Khutsishvili sat down with Golden Brand to talk about it all.
Q. Georgian customers have named Oreo their favorite brand this year. What brought Oreo this recognition in your opinion?
A. I would say that there were two key factors of our success — our disruptive innovations and marketing campaigns, and strong presence in-store. For example, last year our food-forward campaign “Crunchy creamy crunchy” helped us promote the key benefits of the product to our consumers.
Q. Golden Brand is given to brands following successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize 2022.
A. It was an extremely tough year for our team, but we managed to maintain leadership on the market, staying close to our consumers in Georgia
Q. Can you share the sales statistics of 2022 compared to 2021?
A. Being a public company we cannot disclose specific figures, but I can say that Oreo grew by double digits in our country last year.
Q. How has 2023 begun for your company, and what are your expectations?
A. We started this year with the gaming NCP oriented toward the young generation who are keen on cybersports. We launched a promo with attractive prizes like gaming laptops, mouses, keyboards and earphones.
This was followed by the Oreo Double Fun campaign – we presented our customers cookies with two mixed tastes: vanilla with caramel and vanilla with raspberry. This campaign is being supported by 360° marketing support in TVC, in-store, digital and social media.
Q. What are some recent developments in Oreo as a brand? Please share the brand's progress on the Georgian market.
A. Oreo is the #1 cookie in the world. It is also known as the most “playful” cookie in the world, and we’ve been customizing this approach to our consumers in Georgia.
Q. Please tell us about the future plans of Oreo for the Georgian market. Do you plan to introduce new products to Georgia and which would those be?
A. Yes, we’ve got a pipeline of innovations on our table, but we cannot disclose the details. Please stay tuned and look forward to news from Oreo!
Q. How are you going to deepen Oreo's presence on the Georgian market? What is the company's growth strategy for Georgia?
A. Our key strategy is to be close to our Georgian consumers — both psychological and physical availability in-store, so that every consumer can find Oreo at the right place and at the right time.
Q. Please tell us what makes Oreo unique and why Georgian customers love it.
A. Oreo is not an ordinary cookie, it’s a legend. It’s also the most playful cookie and a global icon for all generations in Georgia.
Q. Not all Oreo flavors can be found in Georgia. Why?
A. At the moment we are focused on establishing and developing our core cookie business in Georgia. All the core flavors are available in the country, and we are adding new SKUs to our portfolio. The recent Double Fun launch is one example of expanding our brand portfolio in Georgia.
Q. International media write that Mondelēz International wants Oreo to become the “Coca-Cola of cookies”, and based on comments at a New York conference in March, it’s making progress. What do you think?
A. Oreo is the most famous cookie in the world, and we want our legendary cookie to figure in collaborations around the world. For example, in recent years Oreo has partnered with such global icons as Lady Gaga, Batman, Xbox etc. – we definitely want to push our brand power however high it can go.
Q. Will Mondelēz develop its cake and pastry department? What prospects do you see in this category?
A. Yes, we see a huge potential in the development of the bakery category in our countries. That is why this year we have completed the integration of the European snack maker Chipita business with its famous 7 Days croissants. We are going to increase focus on this brand in Georgia to drive growth in the pastry category.