UP Founder on the Need for Good Public Relations

Public Relations (PR) plays an increasingly important role in today’s society, with ever more individuals and companies turning to PR specialists to create and maintain a favorable public image for them. However, it is no easy task to find a highly qualified professional, least of all in Georgia, where there are only a few trustworthy companies operating in this direction. PR company UP is one of the ones you can trust to get the job done and exceed expectations. Founded in 2014, UP has already implemented several successful projects and obtained a high reputation among customers. It is the first company in Georgia to offer three directions: public relations (PR), marketing, and advertising services, all in one convenient space.

GEORGIA TODAY met the Founder and Director of UP, Salome Makharadze. She started her career as a journalist and went on to work as a head of PR at various State agencies, including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. She then decided to use her experiences to establish her own PR company. We took her away from her business successfully managing UP and conducting lectures at the training center of the International Black Sea University, to elaborate on her experience in the field, the successful projects implemented by UP, and the importance of PR for those companies and individuals who want to achieve ambitious goals, build relationships with key people and manage their reputation.

“Before establishing UP, I studied the market for almost 12 months to be sure of the situation and the needs of customers. I had a lot of experience working in the PR departments of State agencies, where everything is arranged in a different way to the private sector, but there were few opportunities and tools to develop this direction. Accordingly, we decided to establish a new company and it really worked for us and for the companies that collaborate with us. Consumers can be provided with a tailored service, integrated or full services. UP offers services at all levels - planning, management, consultation, research, organizing, and implementation. Our services include PR, marketing and advertisement, which combines events, branding, promotion, image, design, printing, web-service, and more,” Makharadze explained.

When asked about the segment of the company’s customers, the UP Director noted that the range of those using their services is quite wide.

“Our customers range from private individuals to political unions. Our customers also include companies with over 10 years’ experience operating in the market. What we particularly enjoy is successful collaboration found with companies who have tried several PR services before, but who still have a low number of customers and low income growth when they come to us. There are plenty such companies in our portfolio, who are very satisfied with our services and we are proud of it,” she said.

What makes the UP service distinctive is its approach to its customers. Makharadze elaborated on their working strategies, which can be counted as one of the keys of the company’s success and excellent reputation among users.

“We offer a different service to customers. Firstly, when we start negotiations with the customers, we give them guarantees about the future results. For example, we offered one company our marketing service, guaranteeing them 15% profit in the contract. They needed pay only for the rebranding works and then we started working on increasing the profit margin. Six highly qualified professionals worked for them, and, according to our agreement, we would not take anything if we failed to meet our agreed obligations. In the end, we got that promised 15%. Giving the customers such guarantees about the quality of our work, plus offering PR, marketing and advertising services in one space, which contributes to optimization of the customer’s expenses, is what distinguishes our company from others. If they can’t get what they need from UP, they won’t have to pay for it.”

When asked about how customers can get maximum benefit from UP, Makharadze noted that they have many choices related to using the company’s services.

“Our customers can use the full service of PR, marketing and advertising, or they can use any one of them. We also provide consultations, do strategy planning, consult with them, achieve the goals planned by their marketing specialists, manage social media, and more. We have a full service in all these directions. We also have a subsidiary company, Openup, which offers a catering service. Establishing Openup was important because we started operating for larger companies and it was necessary in order to optimize customers’ expenses and offer a higher quality service.

The most successful (and most challenging!) project implemented by UP, Makharadze told us, was their collaboration with Gino Paradise, the largest Aqua Park in Tbilisi.

“Before our collaboration with Gino Paradise, they had tried 17 different marketing services, however, we got the result for them after working for just six months: a 65% growth in customers and approximately 84% growth in income. It was winter but by setting up a real ‘summer’ at Gino Paradise, we made a distinctive success for our company. While working on it, everyone told us it would be difficult, but I love challenges! It also helped that the representatives of Gino Paradise followed our suggestions and recommendations, which made the work easier,” she said.

The main challenge for PR companies is that often the customers do not believe in the possibilities of PR and marketing.

“Sometimes, it can be difficult to convince companies to follow your PR and marketing ideas, to do their work in a different way. But it’s all about what customers want, not what the companies want to do. I tell them: ‘We will ask the customers what they need, and then you produce the relevant products.’ Or, ‘You should make them want your product, but you should actually create it, not just package it in an attractive way.’ That’s what Gino Paradise had been doing- and by spending out on our ideas, the result we brought them and the pleasure we brought their customers made everything worth it,” Makharadze explained.

Currently, UP is actively collaborating with the owners of various restaurants, as the number of foreign tourists visiting Georgia is on the increase and the dining sector is booming. They plan to work even harder in future and add more successful cases to their portfolio.

By Ana Dumbadze

15 October 2018 16:58