COMMUNICATIONS Sector In Serbia 2017
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Vibrant Start-Up Connecting Over 800 Million People With the growing trend of messaging, can start-ups help us be ourselves when we communicate, and build bridges? This is the story of Viber's journey and the challenges of connecting hundreds of millions in a rapidly changing environment. It is also the story of the man who tells it NADAV AVIDAN Global PR Lead at Viber
eleased in December of 2010, Viber has connected more than 800 million registered users around the world in just six years. This crossplatform app for messaging, calling, videocalling and a lot of other ways to interact with friends, family or brands, gives its users a secure space to be themselves, to communicate and share. In just 60 seconds of Viber’s peak hours, three million messages are sent, 300,000 stickers are shared and 1.5 million images are downloaded. Nadav Avidan, Viber’s Global PR Lead, is on a mission to tell this brand’s unique story and communicate with this vast, world-wide community of users. • How does a day in a PR Lead’s life at a business with more than 800 million users look? - Very busy, but always interesting and fun. I’m in charge of global PR, so on any given day I’m guiding our story with agencies and
team members in many countries and time zones, from Nepal to NYC. I love telling the Viber story because I truly believe in it – we all do – so even though our days are usually hectic, it’s always with a smile on our faces. • Viber is localised in 30 different languages worldwide. How do you manage to communicate effectively on a global level, and in different local communities? - There are many differences between dif-
tell a story that will resonate everywhere and with everyone. • What are your greatest challenges? - The way I see it, my biggest challenge is to find new ways to remind people all over the world that we are more like each other than we are different. This is the story of Viber, the fact the people are more similar than different, and finding ways – especially with everything that’s going on in the world – to
In just 60 seconds of Viber’s peak hours, 3 million messages are sent, 300,000 stickers are shared and 1.5 million images are downloaded ferent places in the world, and it’s mainly a question of how much you want to pay attention to the differences rather than embrace the similarities. And because we are all about people it is really important to us, so when we tell our story we do our best to really pay attention to making it both a global fit to what we want to tell and giving it a local relevance to the specific market in which we tell it. With that in mind, we always make the effort to
keep reminding people about that. It’s a challenge and an opportunity, but I think this is one of the main reasons why I love what I do. • What’s the company culture at the office like? - Crazy start-up culture, mainly. It’s like a big, crazy family. • Viber started free and ad-free, and it plans to stay free and ad-free. So how is
it monetisable today, and how challenging is it for such an app, such a start-up, to strike a balance between value for its users and monetisation? - First of all, without going into specifics, Viber is free for users to use, but we are looking into several ways of monetising it through working with partners, businesses and brands. Like, for example, the recent launch of public accounts that we did, and branded sticker packs and all sorts of things. So in that sense we are looking into ways of getting our revenue from businesses, so the service can be as free as possible for users. But the idea of Viber is not to be free at any cost, because we don’t want to compromise on quality, for example. The idea is to be as cheap as possible, and when we can give it free, we will give it free. But the tag line of the company is connect freely, which is different from free, because if you call someone with Viber Out for example, you need to buy credits. The difference is you pay a few cents for an international call instead of paying a few dollars for exactly the same call. So it’s not 100% free, but it’s very, very close to free. …with an app that deals with communication, if you fail to provide 200% security you just don’t have a chance to survive. • You mentioned public accounts, that is something Viber is famous for. What are the benefits of such an account for businesses and for users, in comparison to more standard services for example? - For users, they can contact businesses the way they’re used to contacting their usual points of contact in their daily lives. Meaning when they talk to businesses, they can send videos, they can send stickers, basically they don’t have to leave the app. So everything feels familiar, and everything is built so they really don’t have to change themselves and learn a different language and different UI every time they need to communicate with a business. From the business perspective, I think first the fact that users feel at home with Viber really helps the conversation. Secondly, I think that we offer a very large set of tools to help businesses create the right way for them to communicate with their clients,
because there is a difference if you’re a service that helps people to book flights or a local restaurant or a shoe company, there is a difference in how you want to interact with your audience. In that sense, I think Viber is the most advanced solution out there today for businesses to really tailor their solution to their needs. • What role do you think messaging will play in marketing in future? - I think that we will see messaging apps growing more and more towards these kinds of solutions, I think that many will
bot is basically the best way to provide added value on a large scale, because once you create a tailor-made bot that solves the pain that your business offers to solve, from that point on it can serve ten people, ten thousand people or one hundred million people. It’s just a question of how many will find you, and for that we have Discovery solution that helps businesses. • How do you stay relevant in an industry that is so rapidly, constantly evolving? - I think that we don’t really care about anything but our users, we just listen to what they are asking and listen to what they need, and we make sure we provide them with what they are looking for to enrich their experience in the best possible quality on offer today. I think our users feel it, and I think this is why they stay with us, and this is why they tell their friends and families that they should download Viber as well. • With such a great user-base comes great responsibility and challenges, especially when it comes to privacy and security. Viber offers end-to-end encryption without a middle man, not even Viber itself. Was it hard to maintain this and on the other hand to communicate these kinds of standards?
The idea of Viber is not to be free at any cost, because we don’t want to compromise on quality, for example. The idea is to be as cheap as possible, and when we can give it free, we will give it free follow what Viber is doing now. In the end, people are moving from voice calls to messaging, you don’t need me to tell you that, and with the move to messaging as the preferred way of communication, it’s only natural for businesses and brands to find ways to interact with users in the same way that they interact with their friends. The challenge for businesses is how to interact with users on a large scale. Because if you want to offer even the simplest customer service, if you want to do it only using people, you’ll need to hire a giant team of people to answer everyone with a normal waiting time. So this is why we also added the option to have bots. A
- If you’re asking internally, it was always obvious to us that there is a difference between security and privacy. When it comes to privacy, you’re basically in charge of yourself. I’m explaining so that we are clear on this: privacy means that if you send me something through Viber or anything else, I can immediately take a screen shot and forward it to other people, right? When it comes to security, it means that if we are having a conversation, then the platform that provides you with the means to have that conversation should make sure that no-one, including the platform itself, can read the messages that we write to each other. Because COMMUNICATIONS
this is the whole idea of communication, the fact that you can choose who participates in a conversation. You can have a conversation with your wife for example, or a girlfriend, or you can have a conversation with a group called My Family, and you will share different things in those two forums, but it’s you who chooses what to share and with whom. So in that sense, when it comes to security and making sure that no-one else has access to your conversations, I think it was always one of the very basic understandings of Viber from the moment
before them and after them, it’s not that we are necessarily smarter than other generations, I don’t want to call other generations not smart, but I think we are much more aware of what’s happening around us. So in that sense, you only need to use words like “transparent” if you’re doing things that shouldn’t be transparent, that’s the way I see it. We are who we are, we do our best to answer everyone, and we do our best to make sure that everyone understands where we’re coming from and what we are trying to achieve, and I think part of the reason why Viber is so special is that we don’t use fancy words to describe what we do. It’s just who we are. There is no point in doing what we do if we can’t share it with our users, if we can’t be ourselves with our users. You can’t create a platform that calls on everyone to be themselves when they communicate, and then not be yourself when you’re communicating it. • Do you have a golden PR rule to live by? - A golden PR rule… I have many. I think that one of the biggest rules that drives me is to focus on quality and not quantity. And by that I mean that whenever you tell a story, you should always make sure that you’re
it was founded that we need to provide the highest level of security possible, because with an app that deals with communication, if you fail to provide 200% security you just don’t have a chance to survive. …part of the reason why Viber is so special is that we don’t use fancy words to describe what we do. It’s just who we are. There is no point in doing what we do if we can’t share it with our users… • PR specialists have many new challenges with the growing trend of social media and the pressure on businesses to always be in touch as well as transparent. How do you manage these challenges at Viber? - First of all, as someone who works in PR, I’m used to being available all the time so social media doesn’t change anything (laugh). No, seriously, I think social media just gave a name to something that was already happening. I think that generations like millennials today, and the generation
the time to develop your storytelling skills and your ability to identify a good story when you see one. When I’m talking about storytelling skills it’s really like reading the newspaper or watching the news or watching a movie or having a conversation with your friends and trying to find angles that make a story out of it. Try to be the one that people want to listen to when you tell stories about the time we went to Greece or the time we went to this party or something like that, try to understand what creates a good story, that’s point number one. And point two is, once when you have a specific topic to talk about, with your first client for example, as a PR person you need to find a way to look at the world from their perspective, which means every day find at least two or three angles that, if told correctly, are relevant to their business. You can’t just sit and wait for the client or the company or the brand to feed you with the stories whenever they have them, you need to be proactive and you need to come up with stories by yourself, and to do that you need to be able to look at the world through the eyes of a storyteller. If you are looking at the world through the eyes of a storyteller, and you’re think-
You can’t just sit and wait for the client or the company or the brand to feed you with the stories whenever they have them, you need to be proactive and you need to come up with stories by yourself, and to do that you need to be able to look at the world through the eyes of a storyteller not just telling it because you like the sound of your own voice, but you tell the story because it holds real added value to those who listen to it. I think that if you do that you can become a good PR person, and if you forget that you’re just a carrier of information, which is something completely different. • After 15 years and diverse experience in PR, what’s the most important advice you can share with a colleague just starting a career? - Choose a different profession! (laugh). No, I’m kidding! I think it really is: invest
ing: what I’m seeing right now, how can it become a story that is relevant to my brand? It feels weird in the beginning, but after a while it becomes second nature. And it’s amazing. I can tell you that when I’m talking with my friends, or watching a movie, or going to a party, or having lunch, and I see things and every time I’m like: this could be a story, this could be a story, this with a small change can be something amazing, and it’s fun because the world keeps changing in front of your eyes if you do that, as opposed to when things just happen and you don’t pay attention to them. ■
KATHY CHRISTODOULOU, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ACTION GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATE
Combining International And Local Networks Over more than two decades, as the first international PR firm in Serbia, Action Global Communications has built a unique, farreaching communications network, with its own offices in over 40 countries across three continents
he strong, local teams of Action Global Communications experts offer specific communications solutions with localised strategies that consider research and authentic insights from each market.
• In the past 45 years, Action Global Communications has expanded its operations to over 40 countries in Eastern Europe, the CIS, the Middle East and Africa. Given the cultural diversity across these markets, how do you achieve consistency? - Our approach was to go into emerging markets before anyone else and, in fact, this was the case in Serbia, where we began operations in 1996 – as one of the first international PR firms in the country. We help make our clients’ stories resonate by creating meaningful, lasting connections with diverse stakeholder groups in places where change is constantly impacting reputations and trust. Our award-winning structure combines agencies in each country that are led by local PR experts with a deep understanding of the local language, culture, politics and key communications channels, as well as our international client hub teams. Strong, local teams mean we can offer clients market specific communications solutions with localised strategies that consider research and authentic insights from each market. For clients who need communications support on multiple markets, we set up our expert hub teams in Cyprus, Russia and Dubai over 17 years ago, in order to coordinate and
manage the work and act as a single point of contact for our clients. Our knowledge of each market is a crucial part of our philosophy. At the network level, our local focus is supported by the latest tools and best practice in traditional, digital and direct communications. In addition, we facilitate frequent interaction and the free exchange of ideas between our offices, as similar ideas often resonate well in seemingly different places. We therefore achieve strong and measurable results across our network by considering both aspects.
specialised arm, Action Digital, is led by our experienced central teams offering strategic consultation and oversight of our local digital teams on each market. Therefore, our clients benefit from localised campaigns crafted with an international strategic approach. • What services are most in demand in the Balkans? - There is high demand in the region for an integrated offer of a wide range of services, incorporating digital and face-to-face communi-
The revolution in communication technologies is undoubtedly transforming how we live and work, and the effects of this are significant in the markets where Action is present • Communication technologies are growing fast globally. How does AGC incorporate new technologies into its offer? - The revolution in communication technologies is undoubtedly transforming how we live and work, and the effects of this are significant in the markets where Action is present. That is why we have been one of the front runners in adapting our client communications by providing integrated solutions with a strong digital element. Online, mobile and social networks are not just ‘other channels’ to target, but extensions of existing media strategies which require an integrated approach. Recognising this as a game changer for brands looking to build stronger connections with their consumers and stakeholders, our
cations (through events), on top of traditional PR solutions like media relations. Media relations traditionally form the basis of our activity when we are building the corporate reputation of many businesses, such as Etihad Airways, Saxo Bank, OMV and Boehringer Ingelheim, to name just a few of our clients in Serbia. We are proud of the strong relationships we have forged with journalists across our markets. Apart from our renowned strengths in corporate communications, our clients favour us for our event management support, as well as our crisis and issues management. We have seen increased interest in integrating digital services, internal communications and CSR programmes, as core elements of the overall communications strategy. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS
From Emoticons To The Future Of
Communication SCOTT E. FAHLMAN Inventor of the emoticon, Research Professor at the Language Technologies Institute and Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University
The sideways “smiley face”, or emoticon, has become an internationally recognised symbol
ne could argue that there’s noone on the planet that hasn’t used it or at least seen it at a certain point. Today, the inventor of this global phenomenon works as Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the exciting field of AI. • Back in 1982, you proposed using :-) as a joke marker, and soon Smiley literally took over the world. Where did the idea for emoticons come from? - A number of us were discussing how to mark posts meant to be humorous – not to be taken seriously. Someone proposed putting an asterisk in the subject line of such posts, but nobody would have known
what that meant. It occurred to me that a little smiling face in the subject line would be a good way to indicate this, but how could we do that in a single line of characters? At that time, we had only upper and lower-case English-language characters, numbers, and some punctuation marks. The first thing we needed was eyes, but how could we do that? I looked all over the keyboard. The colon character would make good eyes, but unfortunately it was sideways on, so that's no good… and then it occurred to me that if the reader turned his head sideways, you could make a nice smiling face like this: :-) So I suggested using this for "I'm joking" and :-( for "This is serious". • Did you expect that emoticons would have such a huge, viral success? - Not at all. I thought that it would amuse a dozen or so of my friends who were taking part in that email discussion, and it would all be forgotten in a day or two. I didn’t even save a copy, and we had to make an archeological search 20 years later to find a copy of the message on our old backup tapes stored in a warehouse.
The Smiley-emoticon story is a good one, along with all the other stories that brag about CMU's achievements in AI and Robotics, and the fact that 48% of our incoming undergraduate students in Computer Science are women, compared to less than 20% nationwide 6 |
• Nowadays, we use a lot of emojis, as well as more and more stickers (e.g. in messaging apps). In a way, they all came from the original emoticon. But do you like what emoticons have "mutated" into? - If people are having fun with emojis and stickers and so on, that's fine with me. Personally, I find most of the graphic versions ugly, and lacking the whimsy and creativity of the text-based ones. But perhaps I'm biased. :-) • Have you heard of bitmojis? A bitmoji is an app that lets you make your very own avatar that becomes your personalized emoji. Do you think it's a cool idea? - No, I've never heard of them. Again, if people have fun with this, that's fine, but it doesn't sound like a cool idea to me. • First there were emoticons, then emojis, bitmojis... What do you think comes next? - It seems strange to me that people are still using any of these things. If I want to send someone a smile, it's now easy to send them a little smiling selfie, perhaps even animated, or a picture of some object. In the future, maybe even a hologram. Why settle for a limited set of yellow circles and piles of … whatever it is? • Do all these new emojis, bitmojis and shiny new things make you feel a bit nostalgic about the good old sideways “smiley face”?
- Well, those are the only ones I use, plus sometimes ;-) or :-P or :-O. • Back in the days, it all began with the "smiley face" :-) and "frowny face" :-( Soon, people started making their own variations, for example, using the figure eight for a smiley face with glasses 8-). Do you like how you initiated all this creativity as well? - I like many of those that are text-based. But they serve a different purpose from the simple smiley and frowny faces. Most of the more complicated ones have to be explained to people, and then they think they are funny. But these are not useful for communication since people often can't guess what they mean. • There was a certain challenge in making emoticons out of the standard characters we get on our computer or mobile phone. Maybe this challenge was good for our creativity. Do you think we are being less creative now when everything is readymade for us in form of emojis or stickers? - I think that making meaningful symbols out of a limited character set does take a little bit of creativity, while yellow circles take almost none. But in any case, we're not talking about Michelangelolevel creativity here. • Besides being famous for the sideways "smiley face", you've worked on many different projects related to artificial intelligence. How do you feel about the state of AI nowadays? Do you think there’s a big new revolution going on? - Right now, progress in AI is faster than it has ever been before, so it is a very exciting time in this field. This is the result of a slow accumulation of good ideas, mixed with much greater processing power than we had in the past, and the huge amount of data that is easily available on the Web. Suddenly those things have reached a critical mass, and have exploded with lots of exciting applications. But most of the current AI gold rush lies in what we might call the sensory-motor areas of intelligence: recognizing patterns and performing simple physical actions.
We still have a long way to go to match the common sense or language abilities or flexible planning of a human child. • AI is also a trend in messaging. For instance, some e-mail clients now suggest pre-written e-mail replies, and there are different chatbots being used more and more. It sure is good for time efficiency, but is it as good for communication?
one, along with all the other stories that brag about CMU's achievements in AI and Robotics, and the fact that 48% of our incoming undergraduate students in Computer Science are women, compared to less than 20% nationwide. So the emoticon story is just one among many. It has been fun for me, but hasn't helped my academic career, and it shouldn't. It feels a bit strange to be better known for a silly message I wrote in ten minutes than for my 40-plusyear career doing cuttingedge AI research. But I've made my peace with that – it’s been a fun ride. • Emoticons are used everywhere, but has some student ever handed you a research paper with Smileys in it? Would this be a good idea? Maybe we need more emoticons in scientific papers too - or not? - My students often use
Some of what we write, especially in business, is very stereotyped. Even a very shallow AI can produce this stuff. But Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling are safe for the time being - Well, some of what we write, especially in business, is very stereotyped. Even a very shallow AI can produce this stuff. But Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling are safe for the time being.
emoticons in email messages to me. We're not very formal around CMU. But I do remind them that proper emoticons should have noses – the :) and :( versions look like frogs to me.
• Universities are traditionally seen as high-pressure, serious places, while Carnegie Mellon, the birthplace of the emoticon, where you still work, embraces emoticons and the joyful side of its story. There is even a Smiley award. How do you feel about this? - The PR people at CMU, like PR people everywhere, love "feel good" stories. The Smiley-emoticon story is a good
People often ask me if emoticons are appropriate in journal articles or in business letters. I say that they are appropriate whenever other forms of humor would be appropriate – maybe in some intra-company communication if the company is not too formal, but probably not in international treaties, lay-off notices or obituaries – except maybe for mine. :-) ■ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE JASNA DUGALIĆ, ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, DIRECT MEDIA
Regional Motor For The Development Of Communication The past fifteen years have been marked by the maturing of the marketing industry in the region in every sense, first and foremost through the entry into the market of large foreign corporations and the business principles that they have implemented, which have consequentially resulted in the modernisation of the work of the media and agencies
irect Media has been a motor of this development in the advertising domain, and not only on the Serbian market. Direct Media’s most valuable assets are people, their expertise, continuous development and relations of trust with partners.
• Last year saw the formal celebrating of 15 years of Direct Media’s successful operations, during a time that has been covered by major economic and social turbulence in the region. What values have helped to ensure you are still at the top? - For our continued success we can thank our high standards, unified criteria for providing services in all countries and constant work on ourselves through the development of tools and expertise, but also the courage to make advancements in the implementation of technologies and new advertising formats. No business can function well without high quality markets. I believe that our advancements have made the difference for the betterment of the entire industry.
• Major technological innovations have also characterised this period. What technologies do you think are particularly important for advertisers, the media and agencies? - The time of technological disruption in advertising is yet to come, although technologies also marked the previous period to a large extent. Interpreting the habits of consumers, good targeting and delivery of a high-quality user experience remain a continuing priority, albeit now in the world of Big Data, Machine learning and Programmatic buying. Agencies will have an increasing role in the process of improving CRM for clients with large bases of users and consumers, and that kind of digital knowhow will play a decisive role. When it comes to ‘Brand’ and the perception
of it, all kinds of technologies, such as virtual reality tech that simulates reality, strengthens the user experience and leads a Brand into the context of story living, will continue to be current. • Ever reducing budgets, coupled with increasing client demands for improved budget efficiency, emerged as a result of the global economic crisis and created great challenges for agencies. What trends do you expect in this sector until the end of 2017? - Reduced budgets are the situation in which we have operated for the last few years and, if we exclude a slight increase in investments in digital media, no major changes in this area are to be expected during the course of this year. A challenge that has lasted for an equally long time, and which has shifted the focus away from budgets, is finding how to secure ROI at a time when consumer attention is divided. As an agency that gained its reputation thanks to the efficiency of its campaigns, with visible and measurable results of that which clients invest through advertising, we are developing new models for evaluating the effectiveness of advertising. These models can clearly, and to date most accurately, predict the effects of a campaign. • Direct Media is active in almost all Western Balkan countries. To what extent does this fact contribute to the efficiency of advertising budgets for companies in the region? - Large clients that operate on multiple markets seek a uniform level of service on every market, and we have managed to achieve that in 15 years of doing business, by taking into account the level of development of certain markets and the specific local demands of clients. Centralising advertising cam-
paign management brings clients great optimisation in terms of the time and resources invested in communicating with agencies, while the agencies gain a better understanding of customers and their needs, which creates a long-term win-win situation. The digital age brings new job opportunities that move beyond the borders of countries in which you have physical operations, thus opening the door for agencies to provide services on many more markets than has been the case to date.
• What are the next steps towards the further development of Direct Media? - Our fifteen-year journey has been followed by constant evolution, first from a media agency, via a communications agency, to a provider of full services as a media system that manages the com-
• Direct media has an exceptionally rich portfolio of clients, but also the widest array of services and media
As an agency that gained its reputation thanks to the efficiency of its campaigns, with visible and measurable results of that which clients invest through advertising, we are developing new models for evaluating the effectiveness of advertising. These models can clearly, and to date most accurately, predict the effects of a campaign outlets with which it communicates. Which of your new “product” would you give priority to at this juncture? - I would place an emphasis on strategic brand positioning, through creative strategies and digital communications, as complementary disciplines that will, together, increasingly determine the quality of communication with consumers. Alongside that, we offer integrated communication services across all channels of communication, and that implies an extremely large range of services.
munications of brands. The next step is to build our digital expertise even more and develop new software and tools for creating and evaluating advertising campaigns. We will always be the first, or among the first, to try out new technologies, and these are the advances I have spoken about. On the other hand, experience tells us that something that is a trend elsewhere in the world often won’t work here. We remain consistent in the application of technology with meaning, but not at any price. ■ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE DEJAN RANĐIĆ, GENERAL MANAGER OF DNA COMMUNICATIONS
Crisis Is No Longer An Excuse… Consumer habits have been changing, and with them – ways to reach consumers. The difference is in new dedication to communication...
ur cooperation with most of our present clients has already lasted a long time, and is based exclusively on results and our contribution to them. “Strategy-Results-Support” is much more than something we say; it describes our main focus on a strategic approach and mutual work towards achieving results. The last year was a challenging one, but one filled with successes for us. We continued our cooperation with existing clients and also gained some new ones. We can even say that 2016 was the year we grew most. Although locally orientated, we worked for our clients on many foreign markets, which is a precious experience. We’re now active on 10 different markets. • The global economic crisis led to a reduction in advertising budgets with the simultaneous need for greater efficiency. How have you responded to these challenges? - The global crisis is far behind us. It is still visible when comparing budgets with the period “before the crisis” and in dominant “hard selling” activities, focused on products, special offers, discounts etc. But time has passed and new circumstances don’t allow crisis to be an excuse anymore. Consumer habits have changed, and with them – ways to reach
consumers. Just remember that “before the crisis” we had no social networks and you can grasp the change. The difference is in new dedication to communication, in the fact that big companies using traditional media are no longer efficient enough to justify enormous investments. A large chunk of the population does not follow the traditional media and the only way to reach them is to be where they are… These changes have nothing to do with budgets. The answer is in partnerships between clients and agencies to transform the message and communicate. Our obligation is to direct and lead the clients, even before they recognise that need themselves. • What prompted you to start a project like Employer Branding in the period of reducing advertising budgets? - Employer Branding is one of the key topics for any company, but too little is known about it; it’s rarely discussed and almost nothing is being done. Employees are inex-
• How does it feel when an agency opens a pitch and switches roles? - A “pitch for clients”, we now realised for the second time with the Serbian Association of Managers (SAM), serves to direct clients to where we want them – it’s about the mentioned role and obligation of agencies to sometimes steer and lead. We’re very satisfied with the process and the response from companies. I think we managed to shed some light on Employer Branding as a major communication topic, to make them think about it and ask themselves why they didn’t do it earlier. • With what expectations did you enter 2017 and where you expect good and bad market news to come from? - Nothing suggests that 2017 will differ significantly. Trends will continue, both the positive and the negative ones. I’d like to see agencies as important business partners of their clients, meaning that they trust us and are more flexible and daring in decisions. The
Our obligation is to direct and lead the clients, even before they recognise that need themselves tricably linked to a company’s image, but also to the communication of products and services. Employer Branding is much more than HR support and the “desired employer” definition. More than ever, success depends on the team and climate, and on the dedication of staff to their corporate brand. Employer Branding works on exactly that connection, which is what prompted us.
key process in any company, regardless of the branch, will be to find new business models, which is mostly dictated by communication innovations and new target group habits. It is precisely in this process that partnership between clients and agencies is vital, but lots of learning is also demanded in order to have global practices properly applied to our specific market. ■
Employer Branding Or: Return Of The Brand! In a branding deficit, we wanted to do something… There have been almost no corporate campaigns in Serbia lately, just products, discounts, special offers... No company values, messages intended for staff, employees, clients, partners... At the same time, as an agency, we felt like we were becoming a service supermarket (however professional and creative), so we decided to do something for corporate communication in Serbia. And to have some fun! And we chose Employer Branding! …meaning: the promotion of a company or organisation as a desired employer, via its corporate values, culture and climate. Why Employer Branding? We wanted companies to think about how they present themselves, what atmosphere they create, to engage on their brand as employers... One more reason: to get better clients (for us, agencies)! So we opened a pitch! Yes, an agency opened a pitch… because it’s a familiar process, just with a role reversal. And to enjoy a bit in being the one who gets to choose. So we invited companies to describe the values of their corporate brand, with a deadline and an expert team in charge of the decision. We tried not to be late. Nothing succeeds like success! This winter, in the second such pitch, the winner secured the prize: a thoroughly prepared Employer Branding Strategy by us! It’s a prize for us, too: a chance to work with great clients on great corporate stories, to bring the need for such communication into the spotlight. And all that – with the best possible partners! Companies that understand and wish to take part in our pitch are surely clients that any agency would be delighted to have and to work with. DNA Communications COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE MILENA AVRAMOVIĆ-BJELICA, CO-FOUNDERANDEXECUTIVEDIRECTORATCHAPTER4COMMUNICATIONSCONSULTING
In Step With World Trends Chapter 4 Communications Consulting Group is the exclusive representative for Central and Eastern Europe of Burson-Marsteller (BM), the world’s leading PR and communications network, with which Chapter 4 cooperates on a daily basis, through quick and timely exchanges of knowledge and experience, but also through participation in individual studies implemented by BM
he Chapter 4 PR team comprises experts from various fields with a wealth of experience in providing advisory and strategic planning services, crisis PR and campaign implementation of international and local companies, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations. • Chapter 4 is the representative for Serbia and the region of renowned agency Burson-Marsteller, which is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary. What forms the basis of your activities in Serbia and to what extent are your standards harmonised with the requirements of BM? - Members of our team often attend various regional and international seminars and webinars of the BM network and we are always happy when we see that our profession is one of the few in this country that keeps pace with global trends. Chapter 4 provides PR support to the business activities of our clients through consulting services, strategic planning, the creative implementation of agreed activities, but also follow-up activities without which modern business is unthinkable, such as analytics and the evaluation of results, digital communications and design. The target groups and tools used changes depending on the industry in which the client operates. We constantly monitor market conditions and the factors that impact on them. Through a comprehensive approach we ensure that the relevant content and messages of our clients reach the intended audience at the right time and through the most effective channels.
Our analytical skills, proactive approach and focus on measurable results are part of the world-class standards of business and advantages that our customers value. • Based on your experience, is corporate PR accepted and how would you assess the trends of this sector in Serbia? - Increasing acceptance of corporate PR leads to a better understanding of the benefits that companies gain from effective positioning related to different target groups. If there was any doubt that PR is necessary, that is no longer the case. At a time when the mobile
what PR implies, although this is also starting to change and we have already established cooperation with several companies from the SME sector in various areas that PR covers. Likewise, companies in the current era of digitisation have an increasing need for crisis communication and at Chapter 4 we have a lot of experience and knowledge in this field. • What are your priority target groups, and in which systems do you perform education? - Our target groups are all the sectors of the public with which we build relationships, clients from the profit and nonprofit sectors,
Increasing acceptance of corporate PR leads to a better understanding of the benefits that companies gain from effective positioning related to different target groups phone is a tool for informing, both related to work and play, which people unlock on average 150 times a day, and when the attention span has been reduced to just eight seconds, this is precisely the time when a potential user makes a decision regarding whether they will have further interaction with a brand, which depends on the quality of the message sent. The only important thing in this mission is strategically planned communication. The significance of corporate PR is recognised primarily by large foreign and domestic companies. We have noted that the segment of small and medium-sized enterprises do not have sufficiently developed awareness of
the private and public sectors etc. Apart from them, we devote a lot of attention to working with students – within the framework of our practice placement programme. They stay with us in a period that suits them – optimally for about three months – in order to acquire certain knowledge in the field of public relations and to learn how to use certain tools and acquire adequate skills that will help them to do this work. We are proud of the fact that some of them even gained permanent jobs at our agency, as well as those who used the knowledge and skills acquired with us to obtain positions in international companies and thus spread the good reputation of Chapter 4. ▪
NEVENA KURTOVIĆ, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT FUSION COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATE
Creative Content Forms The Basis Of Good Communication Good and creative ideas that extend beyond the borders of the obvious always find their way, regardless of the limitations of the market. All those who work qualitatively will remain on this scene
n 2017 we can expect a continuation of the battle for every client, while digital channels of communication will continue to develop and improve, gaining dominance over other classical communication channels.
• Serbia and the rest of the region has long been on the threshold of using new media technologies, but limited markets and economic reasons limit the full implementation of things that have long been available in developed countries. How does a modern agency handle such an environment? - Fusion Communications comprises experienced and creative people with rich experience, who are characterised by a strategic approach, dedication and innovation, as well as good familiarity with trends and new technologies. It is precisely people that are the greatest treasure of an agency, while teamwork and team spirit are what get it moving. Likewise, as an integral part of the strong regional system of Direct Media, we are always a step ahead, monitoring trends and creating new ideas and solutions that ease clients’ communications with all of their target groups. • There is a lot of talk about the differences between a PR text and classical journalistic news. How can you shape a PR text to be like a news item that will be of interest to the media and readers/viewers? - This is a challenge that our agency faces every day. To our great fortune, the compa-
nies we work with are very aware that “content” is the most important element of all communications, including in the creation of news that is adapted to today’s reader/ viewer. Media consumers are slowly becoming their own editors of good and interesting content, and this is simultaneously a chance for all media outlets to attempt to impose themselves through digital as the leading platform. In every communication you need to find that nice, emotional note that will touch our audience and produce some kind of reaction, and later also action. In that sense, brands, and the companies
and where do you see Fusion Communications in that area this year? - In 2017 we expect more intense and more demanding pitch processes, as well as a continuation of the battle for every client among agencies. The digital channel of communication will continue to grow and slowly gain dominance over other classical communication channels, and the profession will continue to face the challenge of developing integrated campaigns. Years of strenuous joint work and great experience in various fields, which have
Years of strenuous joint work and great experience in various fields, which have united the team at Fusion Communications agency, have become the basis for our assuredness, which we today use to turn great ideas into reality. We are aware of our responsibility towards the community and our work that stand behind them, must use good content targeting the psychology of consumers and specific target groups in order to fight for a place in the media, and that is not only to increase their press clipping archives. Quantity becomes less important if we have not touched the right target group and caused some kind of reaction. • What trends do you expect in 2017 when it comes to advertising and the media sector,
united the team at Fusion Communications agency, have become the basis for our assuredness, which we today use to turn great ideas into reality. We are aware of our responsibility towards the community and our work. We aren’t just here for short-term campaigns, but rather we are also here for reliable and long-term cooperation, which most commonly, to the satisfaction of all, converts into partnerships. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE TIJANA ŠKORIĆ TOMIĆ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, I&F MCCANN GRUPA
Focusing On Quality, The Best People And Pushing Boundaries I&F McCann Grupa Executive Director, Tijana Škorić Tomić, is at the head of a team which is celebrating an important jubilee this year. More than 600 employees in 12 markets will celebrate its 20th anniversary
ince its establishment, I&F McCann Grupa has been pushing the boundaries of business in an innovative way, from spreading to other markets, introducing new services, winning the first Cannes prizes in the region, and developing the profession and good business practices, to the continuous development of an inexhaustible group of talented individuals who are leaders in various fields. The previous year was marked by the expansion of operations to the Nordic countries. • For several years, since the beginning of the global economic crisis, we
have recorded continuous reductions in advertising budgets. How are these trends reflected on business in your industry?
- As a company that operates on 12 markets, we listen to how advertisers breathe in both the south and the north of Europe. And we live the
In the North, budget increase is perceived by clients as an investment in the growth of their own business. In this regard, the South is still not open, with a decrease in a client's budget the result of conservative business, and in this respect it represents a continuous reduction in operating costs. Both approaches are completely legitimate, though I perceive the first one as being better quality in the long term and the only sustainable one. These are two completely different approaches, you will agree
business life together with our clients, partners, in an environment affected by the force of the economy - we are delighted when any of the markets where we operate start growing. Since the occurrence of the global crisis, our industry has undergone a major transformation. Our goal has always been dedicated to finding the most effective solutions for our clients. “Where the peril is, also grows the salvation” is a favourite quote of our founder, Srđan Šaper. This is also reflected in our constant commitment to improving our organisational structure, and our flexibility as an organisation that can provide its clients with the best service in any market and achieve good results for our clients. In the North, budget increase is perceived by clients as an investment in the growth of their own business. In this regard, the South is still not open, with a decrease in a client's budget the result of conservative business, and in this respect it represents a continuous reduction in operating costs. Both approaches are completely legitimate, though I perceive the first one as being better quality in the long term and the only sustainable one. These are two completely different approaches, you will agree. • To what extent is it possible to insist on quality and innovation in an industry in which everyone is fighting for survival? - I&F McCann Grupa is a multidisciplinary company, versatile in its qualities and services. In addition to creativity and deep knowledge of consumer behaviour in the media environment,
which ensures we are well-known in the region, we have also recently committed ourselves to digital development. For example, we will apply the business model of our Drive agency to the Nordic market. The reason why our business partners place their trust in us is that we always insist on quality and pushing boundaries. This is supported by our long-term cooperation with the leading advertisers, as well as numerous awards. Also, the development of the talent pool is an essential characteristic of our company, our goal is the best people in the right positions, as well as continuous investment in
Lion, innovative campaigns, through new services, Wave and McCann Truth Central research which has helped us discover the truth about consumers, to the fact that we are the first in our industry to expand business to the Nordic region. This is confirmation of the vision set by Srđan Šaper from the first day. We have a dedicated team, client confidence, as well as courage and wisdom to make the decisions that seem risky at first, but ultimately prove to be properly thought out in strategic terms. We are entering the celebration satisfied with the year in which we have become an agency that
We are entering the celebration satisfied with the year in which we have become an agency that covers a market of 58 million people, has won numerous awards, won new clients and introduced new services, and this is a great way to celebrate the anniversary in a good atmosphere and with further development plans their education. The modern age requires adaptation of our behaviour, and requires innovation in all professions, regardless of whether you are a creative person, an engineer, or you are engaged in investments, like me.
covers a market of 58 million people, has won numerous awards, won new clients and introduced new services, and this is a great way to celebrate the anniversary in a good atmosphere and with further development plans.
• This year you celebrate 20 years of operations. What would you highlight as the key milestones in your work? - I do not want to be falsely modest, but I think that I can rightfully say that we have often been the first to do many things. From the unification of business in the region, the clients we have worked with since our establishment until today, the first Cannes
• I&F McCann Grupa in 2016 expanded its operations to Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. How has this contributed to the work of the company? - The basic idea of the business expansion is to become even more competitive, and the vision of Srđan Šaper implies the search for new challenges, and their transformation into success stories of people who make I&F McCOMMUNICATIONS
is something our company has been dedicated to since the first day.
Cann Grupa. Now we cover 12 markets, and it is already a serious force on the international scene, and also it is the knowledge that comes from different backgrounds, experiences and customs. We will work towards sharing teams, experience, and knowledge in all markets, and we are already working together in areas where we have identified as potential for growth. It is a great thing to see that the Nordics can learn from us, it makes us proud. I believe that the synergy of the two regions, two different energies, will give an excellent result which will bring benefits, above all to our clients who will get the best of the South and the North in one place, tailored to their specific needs. • Are you still planning to grow through acquisitions, and how challenging is it today to run a company with several hundred employees? - The year behind us was a year of great enrichment of our business family, so next year we shall have an opportunity
to round up everything we have done so far. Although, knowing Srđan Šaper and his spirit, he will surely ask, “What's next? Let us see what the next step is in our growth.” If there is a good opportunity, of course we'll enter a new market. However, next year is primarily intended for the strengthening of our
• In Europe, which is in a continuous crisis, these negative trends have been reflected in the marketing budgets and the decline in innovation. Where you do you find your inspiration? - New technologies in the digital age are offering possibilities that could not be imagined just a few years ago. Even in a challenging environment, they have offered numerous ways for the company to continue the development. But they have also presented numerous new challenges. It is no longer enough to know your client's business well, to participate in the building of its brand or to be deeply familiar with the target group. Today, messages are made for individuals. And that is a huge field where
The new era requires from us to constantly educate ourselves, to use different skills, in a range of strategists, linguists, analysts, programmers. Inspired people, with their ideas, knowledge and experience - make the distinction that gives us the advantage in the market teams. Our strength is reflected in the power of our people. You cannot have a quality team if you do not know your people. Different individuals are motivated by different things, and the task of the first among equals is to recognise the difference. The bottom line is to find, in each team member, the thing that motivates them, the thing that drives them and their environment - so that we can all move forward. This
we seek our inspiration for success. After the era of information, we are moving back to the era of empathy, nurturing human relationships. The new era requires from us to constantly educate ourselves, to use different skills, in a range of strategists, linguists, analysts, programmers. Inspired people, with their ideas, knowledge and experience - make the distinction that gives us the advantage in the market. ■
Presenting Seven Communications Trends For 2017 Grayling, a global PR consulting agency, presented the seven communication trends for this year, dubbing them #7for17
#1 Me, myself and AI With the number of wearable devices on the market constantly growing, we can expect consumers to create their own ecosystems, adjusted to their personal needs, routines and lifestyles. We are mainly talking about the Generation Z, because their expectations regarding smart and connected platforms are growing simultaneously with ther personal growth. In the future, brands will have to embrace the technology more than they are doing now, and will have to leave the customers and clients with more control, and allow them to interact in ways they want to interact. #2 Uncertainty factor – can a CEO earn the trust of citizens? Citizens, as consumers, are losing faith in political figures and seeking verification and answers from CEOs and brands. They want them to take the lead. Research shows that 82 per cent of consumers are more likely to trust a company or brand whose CEO is active on social media.
#3 New generation of social media influencers Numerous companies have already recognised the importance of cooperating with social media influencers, meaning bloggers, vloggers, Youtubers, Twitter and Instagram influencers who cover different segments – fashion, beauty, gastronomy, gaming, IT etc. It's wrong to treat influencers as just another channel to communicate your goals and messages. These campaigns must be thoroughly planned and executed in order to dominate the creative community of YouTubers, Videobloggers, Instagrammers and SnapChatters. #4 Hybrid reality Companies that recognise an advance in user experience as a key element of innovation, using AR, VR and MR, will gain a competitve advantage on markets that require more sophisticated services. The way we communicate is evolving very quickly and, with the development of AR, VR and MR technologies, digital and physical worlds are becoming more integrated, enabling users to gain experiences they could only dream of in the past.
#5 Cooperation between the public and private sectors The previous year was, from a political point of view, very turbulent, but underneath all that chaos political decisions are still being made, and in 2017 we will witness stronger cooperation between the public and private sectors. #6 New competitve environments Favourite social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are focusing on paid content more than ever, but the amount of messages and campaigns on those platforms is unbelievably big, and, according to recent research, the more fans you have on Facebook, the smaller your organic reach. There are new and non-traditional platforms that brands and companies can use, which are not crowded with competition and content, and which can help them reach their goals and strategies, without the risk of their content being lost in the “sea” of other information. #7 Raw and uncut The biggest changes we witnessed in 2016 related to the fundamental use of live streaming platforms, such as Facebook Live and Periscope. This enables companies to broadcast their content on a global scale, with little or no filters. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE MARINA GRIHOVIĆ, DIRECTOR OF HEADLINE
The Client Is Our Friend – We Are Their Support Headline was launched nine years ago as a PR agency offering a wide range of services in the field of communications. Thanks to a good team of people, Headline offers expertise in the fields of media, communications with the business and influential public, and corporate and crisis communication
ublic relations have a future both in our country and elsewhere in the world, but we all have to be aware that it is necessary to adapt, invest in people and essentially observe the world around us. Our profession is part of globalisation,” says Headline’s director, Marina Grihović, speaking at the start of this interview. • Headline offers a wide range of services and PR activities that are not at all easy to implement in the current economic environment, particularly in the media sector. Which of your services attract the greatest interest on the market? - Regardless of our successful years doing business, we have also always followed communication trends. That’s why by entering into a partnership with agency Dkit we also managed to position ourselves on the digital communications market. That is precisely the segment of communications that is most in demand and which offers a future to all those who deal with communications. Moreover, I must emphasise that in our conditions for doing business – not only from the perspective of the financial crisis, but also the common social problems that we all encounter every day – it is essential to present yourself to clients as a business friend and a pillar of support. And that means not only sticking to the paper on which our services are listed, but also that we are advisors in all areas required by the clients. Communications are all around us, and through different segments they impact
on image and positioning, so we also relate in that way to our clients, regardless of whether they are a local start-up company or a major multinational company. • Corporate PR is among the most commonly used channels for presenting companies worldwide. How would you assess the situation in Serbia in this regard? - There are no rules, and based on my experience I can say that it varies from company to company. There are even no rules when it comes to dividing between local and foreign companies. Everything depends on the vision of a company, on the ability of management to look at modern operations and market position, but also on the products that a company is actually offering. I personally think it’s always good for rules of corporate
selects itself on the basis of the target group and the message itself. But why do I say that the answer is also complex? That’s because those of us who deal with communications must target very well in order for some company to achieve good results. One of the best ways is to research market positions and consumer needs. That is what is missing on our market, and which represents the basis for all communication on developed markets. That’s because when experts talk about the future of the PR profession, the first thing they note is precisely market research, which provides the basis for all further development. And the market research segment has never been sufficiently developed in Serbia, because many want to save costs precisely in that segment, without considering that this will
Like in some other areas of business, the situation here has forced us to educate ourselves more and to operate in broader frameworks than we might have planned initially communications to exist, for corporate PR to be developed through various activities. And we always recommend that to our clients. • Which arguments provide the basis for decisions when it comes to selecting media distribution channels for content that you make public? - The answer to this question is both easy and complex. Why easy? A media channel
bring them much better financial results. On the other side, thanks to numerous good experts in our field and awareness of the need to monitor and research markets and trends, most good communicators are also good analysts. Like in some other areas of business, the situation here has forced us to educate ourselves more and to operate in broader frameworks than we might have planned initially. ▪
SUZANA MILIČIĆ, DIRECTOR, KONTAKTA PR & MEDIA CONSULTING CORPORATE
Everyone Has Their Own Version Of The Truth What kind of users, consumers and voters will we encounter this year? With those who are exposed to a vast amount of information that they receive via numerous channels of communication, whose attention is dispersed, and who are often their own form of media, creating their own versions of the truth. The road to reach them will be ever more complicated; we have to constantly monitor them and predict what will be the next thing to have an impact on them
e live in the post-truth era, a time when emotions and personal views, as opposed to objective facts, shape public opinion; a time when citizens (users, consumers, voters) have less trust in the media and more trust in their own versions of the truth, and I believe that is the trend that will mark communication this year and in the coming years, says Suzana Miličić, Director of public relations agency Kontakta PR & Media Consulting, which has had a team of professionals in the field of public relations and media operating in Serbia for the last five years.
• In which way will the post-truth influence, or is already influencing, the communications market; what does it means for professionals in this domain? - The road to the end user, consumer, voter, will be ever more complicated. We will have to contrive, to be less certain and more suspicious; to “chop” and adapt our messages; to determine smaller target groups as precisely as possible in order for us to be able to measure actual results. We will have to be ready for the fact that those who we are addressing will perhaps surprise us with their decision, regardless of what our research shows: just as the whole world was surprised by the Brits (Brexit) and Americans (Trump). We have to have a Plan B, for example. • You do plenty of work on campaigns intended to promote European values, women’s rights, the youth situation etc. How interested are people
in these topics and how do they understand those messages? - In recent months I have travelled around Serbia, due to the project we’re implementing with the EU Delegation to Serbia, and I’ve seen how people react to topics concerning the EU, Europe and Euro integration. The strength of myths and misconceptions, and the power of misinformation about this area, are still enormous. However, I have noticed that we are more pragmatic: parents are most interested in how their children can study in the EU, farmers and entrepreneurs want to know which funds they can access. This is actually a step forward, as it gives us the opportunity to offer them the correct information and deconstruct their misconceptions. When it comes to campaigns for women’s rights, this is a topic that,
- We are a small local enterprise that receives work on the basis of the quality of project proposals or recommendations from satisfied clients. We depend solely on our work and commitment, which is why we are able to fully understand SMEs that are in the same position. Just like them, we need to take care about each move, to carefully tailor our budget, to cautiously introduce new channels of communication while considering cost-effectiveness. And here we will fight with the effects of the posttruth era – when customers are exposed to vast amounts of information, with their attention dispersed, when they have their own versions of the truth and do not forgive mistakes. They should be intelligently informed, with their loyalty nurtured, protecting the credibility of the brand and being entertaining and useful
Consumers are exposed to enormous amounts of information, their attention is dispersed; they have their own versions of the truth and do not forgive mistakes in principle, everyone will talk about and everyone will condemn violence, but they will not notice that there is misleading reporting about that; they will not perceive misogyny in public performances and they will react aggressively when you find fault with that. There’s a lot of work to be done in this field. • What challenges are being faced by the SMEs with which you also cooperate?
to them. We will move in the vacuum between consumers with low purchasing power and clients that are compelled by the logic of capital to achieve a real profit and earn actual money. Together with clients, we’ll have to constantly re-learn how to find and retain our customers. And we’ll have to be ready for customers to very quickly change their informing habits and thus escape from our view, so we will have to create a new tactic in search for them.▪ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE MIRO ANTIĆ, PARTNER AND CO-FOUNDER OF M2COMMUNICATIONS
Experience As One Of The Key Elements Of Marketing Communications Being present, establishing direct contact and developing emotions have become key factors in a world in which almost everything is online, instant, and virtual. Technology helps in a lot of things, but we forget that individuals isolate themselves in the online world. It is necessary to establish a direct connection and offer something more – emotional, tangible, real
he future in the field of modern communications is more in the creation of relevant experiences than in the delivery of content. Creating an authentic experience – through environment, content, interaction and emotions – will have a key role to play in building relations between company/ brand and client/consumer, and it is direct experience that will have the greatest impact on the decisions of consumers and their loyalty. Brand experience is becoming one of marketing’s key elements. Studies show that direct experiences have a more enduring impact on the attitude of target groups towards a brand, company or individual. In accordance with that, one of the biggest trends in 2017, which will be dictated by companies with a strong vision, is certainly the allocating of marketing budgets to the event and experience field of communications. • One of the major channels in the creation of a brand experience is certainly the event. How can you keep pace with the trends and changes in the event industry? - The event industry is one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing sectors. Investments in events are growing year on year, and in the last five years so-called event entrepreneurship has blossomed. It is interesting, for example, that in the USA the meetings and event industry contributes more to the country’s total GDP than air transport or the film industry. Global production solutions are increasingly impressive, but in the creative and organisational sense it is not impossible
to achieve global standards. At the global level, events are organised on a daily basis that continually push back the boundaries in conceptual and technological terms. It is very exciting to be part of this industry and to monitor how the whole story will develop in the future. Our goal is not to be mere observers in that process, rather active participants and among those who contribute to progress. Event production is a constant challenge, while confronting limitations in the implementation of certain ideas and the carrying out of concepts is an integral part of the job. Is is different in the region than at the global level, because there are numerous limitations, and that is not only in terms of budgets
tions rises from day to day. In what ways does your agency responds to the challenges of the modern market environment? - Our strategies and specific solutions are based on a mix of the so-called 4Es: experience, engagement, exclusivity and emotion, which, in combination with authentic and advanced creative solutions, yield excellent results. We always look beyond our given task and try to go the so-called extra mile. We are extremely dedicated to details, and within the framework of each individual project we try to integrate as many communications channels as possible. • How do you see your agency and the business in the future?
Our strategies and specific solutions are based on a mix of the so-called 4Es: experience, engagement, exclusivity and emotion, which, in combination with authentic and advanced creative solutions, yield excellent results or the technological capacity of specialised companies, but rather also in terms of the willingness of clients to plan ahead and understand the entire process. It is necessary to continuously work on yourself, to be motivated, to monitor trends and to love this job in order for ideas to translate into innovative solutions with global standards of quality. • Agencies today face increasingly greater challenges, while the bar for clients’ expecta-
- We are orientated towards the global market, while further growth is one of the primary goals. In 2016 we achieved growth of almost 30 per cent. We are improving and introducing innovations with new contributors and through the implementation of projects in Serbia, the region and internationally. The start of this year was marked by us signing a contract with a client in Singapore, while we are also starting cooperation with several companies from Russia. ▪
BRANKA CONIĆ, PR AGENCY DIRECTOR, NEW MOMENT NEW IDEAS COMPANY CORPORATE
Nothing Is Created Unless It Is First Dreamt! Agency New Moment conquered the regional market long ago and is now operating, without much fanfare, on the global market. After the United States and Canada, New Moment’s creatives have since last year been slowly emerging on India’s huge market
reativityisthespicethateverygood meal has. Creativity is possessed by top chefs, professors, scientists, athletes, musicians... It is the only constant every success, so that is also the case in our business,” says Branka Conić, PR Agency Director at New Moment New Ideas Company • Last year, alongside around twenty other awards you were declared by the Serbian Association for Marketing Communications (UEPS) the most successful agency in Serbia. From that position, how would you evaluate the trends in the advertising and media industries Serbia in 2017? - I have noticed that as we are digitally more connected and better informed, so emotions and creativity are valued more. Alongside all of that is the product: the production of ads, PR articles, events and announcements. Our profession is given credibility by its creation, social responsibility and expertise, and it is on these things that it needs to build its reputation. In the last few years, we are proud to have received awards for projects that help to solve some important social problems, that draw attention to insufficiently known and affirmed members of the community, that promote healthy lifestyles and mobilise people for a “good cause”. And here we come to one of the most important goals of our profession. The projects for which we received recognition do not leave anyone feeling indifferent; they are emotional and socially relevant. And that is a story that everybody wants to have!
• Considering that your plans include the further expansion of your network of agencies around the region, do you expect the market consolidation of agencies which would, with the use of new channels for the distribution of information, increase the efficiency of use of clients’ budgets in the region? - New Moment has its own agency branches in nine countries of the region and it is interesting that the company's philosophy, that which we believe in and even the atmosphere and team spirit within them, which we consider as being the most important, are the same. This is what our customers have recognised and for most of them we lead PR and advertising campaigns on more than one market. That offers clients assurances that their message will be properly adapted to the local population and that we will always
from India, Dubai, Paris and London, with which we demonstrated that boundaries of creative thinking do not exist, and that the expertise, knowledge and creativity of our people are at the global level. • If it’s not a business secret, what will be the basic strategy for the further development of the agency, on which you will build your cooperation with clients? - We are trying to continue our tradition and our belief in ideas and dreams, and to help the people around us to develop and be successful. Regardless of the fact that we significantly increased our number of employees in the last year, we want the company to remain human and for us to relate to all employees and clients with respect. We will continue to further strengthen
Our agency was selected in competition with the biggest international agencies from India, Dubai, Paris and London, with which we demonstrated that boundaries of creative thinking do not exist be sensitive regarding its specificity, whilst also taking care not to deviate from the central philosophy of the brand and campaigns. Alongside our regional presence, we have also been operating on the global market for several years, with our creative people from the Balkans having created campaigns for the Canadian and American markets, while last year we also conquered India. Our agency was selected in competition with the biggest international agencies
the agency at the global level and we will to give our creative people a chance to work for the whole world. A good idea speaks all of the world’s languages, so the fact that we live in Serbia, or elsewhere in the Balkans, does not prevent our billboards from seeing the light on streets of New York, which we are lucky enough to have happen to us. We are part of the world, and we not only part of it, but rather we actively shape that world! ▪ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE DRAGAN RADIĆ, DIRECTOR, NINAMEDIA
For more than a decade and a half, the content distributed by Ninamedia has been indispensible morning information, not only for marketing experts, but also for business leaders
inamedia is the most prominent clipping agency in Serbia that monitors, on a 24/7 basis, all happenings published in the Serbian media, including more than 5,000 websites, social networks, blogs etc., thanks to its network of correspondents, but primarily thanks to the introduction of technological innovations. • From its establishment until today, Ninamedia didn’t require a long time to become a leader in the field of media content monitoring and analysis in Serbia. What are the most significant market changes that you have confronted during this period? - From November 2001, when we first believed that we could create the market leader in monitoring, we have today arrived at the fact that this is what we are now. The pace of technological and social change is growing rapidly and it was inevitable that we would adapt and achieve that form. In our work, that specifically meant that, after our decade-long, 24-hour monitoring of all media outlets and portals, the needs of the market also imposed the necessity to monitor social networks, where news is most commonly born today. And I can state with pride that we have not only succeeded in that, but that we are still the only company in Serbia that offers this service to hundreds of its clients.
• Which “products” do you offer clients and which information formats are most in demand? - What separates Ninamedia on the media monitoring market is the fact that we consider it our duty to proactively develop the media monitoring market and that, in addition to focusing on developing our core business, we also develop in terms of breadth, adding operations and other market segments that are complementary. Some 15 years after the original Ninamedia, we now offer: Global Analysis Clipping – online platforms through which we deliver to our users the results of media clippings from print, TV, radio and internet media;
and public opinion surveys carried out by adapting a wide range of research methods to the specific needs of clients; Ninamedia Production – a network of correspondents that covers Novi Sad, Belgrade, Niš, Kragujevac, Kosovska Mitrovica and Priština, and which enables mobile teams to meet at any place where events are happening in Serbia within an hour at the most. We also film and produce documentaryfiction broadcasts, promo films, videos, commercials, corporate and special events. The market, in addition to basic media clipping reports, today also demands reports from social networks (Buzz monitor), adequate images (Ninamedia production), as
The needs of the market, in addition to basic media clipping reports, today also demands reports from social networks (Buzz monitor), adequate images (Ninamedia production), as well as feedback from consumers and users (Ninamedia Research) Buzz Monitor – advanced application for digital monitoring that covers more than 5,000 sites in Serbia, social networks, blogs, forums and internet user comments, with our users provided with reports of relevant mentions in real time; Personalised analysis of media content – created by a team of expert analysts; Ninamedia’s media exposure report – reviews of media reports according to area, provided on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis; Translation services – enabling us to provide all of our services in foreign languages; Ninamedia Research – market research
well as feedback from consumers and users (Ninamedia Research), and we offer them all of that in one place. • How do you design your development path, considering the market’s constant technological innovation? - We haven’t slept from day one; we monitor the trends and needs of our clients 24-hoursa-day. We see our further development path through the expansion of existing services, in order for all market niches in the field of media, production, translation and research aspects to be covered, and for us to be the best in each of them. ■
MARKO PEŠIĆ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT ADVERTISING AGENCY OvationBBDO
OvationBBDO – Helping Brands Stay In Shape Further market integration of several major global brands might set new industry standards and challenge market players. The advertising industry will have to respond to these challenges
e asked Marko Pešić, Executive Director at Belgradebased advertising agency OvationBBDO, about the year behind him, why it is important for brands to be fit and what challenges the advertising industry in Serbia will face in 2017. • How would you rate the previous year in terms of business climate? - We are satisfied that we managed both to fortify the relations we had with existing clients and establish cooperation with new ones. The progress of OvationBBDO is based on three important facets: first is organic business growth, which is a result of the agency’s teamwork with our clients; second is our international projects; and third is the adding of new clients to our portfolio. Of course, each of these three facets is based on the development of human resources within the agency and the acquiring of new talent. • You mentioned international projects. Are local agencies creative enough to generate business opportunities for themselves on other markets? - For us, the fact that we are able to set up and execute projects designed for other markets simultaneously inspires us and obliges us to the clients who gave us the opportunity to work on them. The projects we did for Pepsico on the Russian and Greek markets show us that Serbian agencies can be competitive outside Serbia. These projects, which were developed in close co-
operation with the client, demand significant commitment and bring great honour for us. • What is the next professional challenge for you, as one of our most awarded agencies? - The awards we’ve been receiving are important signals that we are permanently doing a good job. They honour the final product – the project which we sign, but in the background of the award is healthy, even-handed communication with the client, focused work and creative leaps. We continue our work with clients, with the ambition of advancing our further cooperation. Nurturing current relationships is a professional challenge and we know that it
support clients in their low-cost investment approach, but in this way we’ll try to encourage them to step into more creative ventures, because the potential of these kinds of benefits could be outstanding. A perfect balance between the two brings the optimum results. Our job is to get brands fit and ensure they stay in shape in order to challenge the competition. This strategy
In 2017, we'll encourage our clients to use the "barbell" strategy as a tool to get benefit from more creative ventures benefits both sides. Of course, the expansion of our client base, diversification of our portfolio and upgrading of our agency work are other challenges for us in 2017. • What will you suggest to your clients when it comes to investing in advertising in 2017? - We’ll advise our clients to apply the “barbell strategy” in developing their brand. That means that clients should use one side of the imaginary barbell for brand-building, with recourses directed to low-risk investments that bring safe income, while on the other side of the same barbell should be investments that are riskier, but also potentially more profitable. Of course, we
will also be the topic we will present to clients and colleagues at Marketing Mreža’s conference “Izazov” (Challenge). • How will 2017 differ from 2016 in terms of doing business? - This year will resemble the previous one. New elections are coming up, which will create a certain market distortion in our industry, but we are prepared to adjust. Besides that, the further market integration of several major global brands might also set new industry standards and challenge market players. The advertising industry will have to respond to these challenges. We at OvationBBDO are ready. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS
CORPORATE ALEKSA ČOKIĆ, ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, RED COMMUNICATION
Harmony Of Diversity Good interpersonal relationships are the key to the success of Red Communication agency, which is comprised of different individuals who compose a perfect entity
his is confirmed by the recognition of the “Excellence Awards”, the most important awards in the fields of communications which ranks Red Communication among the top five firms in Europe, in competition among more than 1,500 candidates, including Microsoft, Samsung, Coca-Cola, the BBC and others. • How would you assess the trend that sees no reduction in the number of advertising agencies in Serbia, despite the current crisis in the country; do you expect the consolidation of this sector to happen soon? - Looking at the situation from my own perspective, I can say that we are generally a very adaptable nation. Advertising agencies have learned to function during crises and profit from them, which I suppose is logical. Large companies are those that have money and a product that they need to sell, and we are there to figure out how to make that seem affordable, high quality and “organic” to our people. That is why I think the economic crisis encouraged creativity in Serbia,
and that people from this industry have, perhaps in a tough way, become much stronger in their work than they would be if we were living in a perfectly regulated country where people do not know what an economic crisis is. When it comes to the consolidation of this sector, at least when it comes to PR agencies, I expect that in future we will witness the general job consolidation and narrower specialisation of work, according to the Western example. Time was needed for people in Serbia to understand PR; for companies to grasp the importance of of public relations sector, and for the people to stop perceiving Samantha Jones as an example of PR.
naturally integrated into some part of our society, whether that be business, fashion, politics, sport or entertainment, so we can provide the perfect recipe for work in any field, a winning combination for working with clients, hence these good results that you mentioned in your question. There is no vanity. It is dynamic work and every day we learn something new, which is actually one of the things I love most about this job: no two days are the same. • In which direction will the further development of Red Communication progress in 2017? - I’m not superstitious, but I read everywhere about how this year will be special.
Red Communication is comprised of completely different people who compose a perfect entity, which is unique on the market • Red Communication bases its good results on qualified people, creativity and widely established channels for the distribution of messages. Where do you achieve the highest level of efficiency? - It may sound like the worst possible cliché, which readers will probably be able to read in every interview on this topic, but good interpersonal relations really are the key to the success of our agency. Red Communication is comprised of completely different individuals who compose a perfect entity, which is really special on the market. Each one of us is personally,
We are not waiting for miracles. Behind each of our successes there is a lot of work, and this year Red communication will, by trying something new, perhaps surprise our industry colleagues. We certainly plan to expand our portfolio of clients, but also to strengthen relations with existing clients and grow together with them. In this business it is impossible to make long-term plans, especially in this time of “crisis”, therefore the month of March seems too far away, but what is certain is that we will await it ready with a smile, and we will add touch of red. ▪
NATALIJA RACKOVIĆ, DIRECTOR OF V+O COMMUNICATIONS LTD CORPORATE
Dedicated To New Trends
V+O Communication is a leading consulting company in the field of communications in Southeast Europe, with offices in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania and Cyprus. They are also present in Brussels, which is a centre of strategic importance for all EU issues, as well as Nigeria, which has one of the world’s fastest growing economies
+O Communication has been operating in Serbia for almost a decade and bases its work on experts of various profiles from multiple industries, especially the field of environmental protection, the FMCG sector and the health and nutrition industries. • You operate in almost all SEE countries and offer a complete service with your 150 experts from almost all areas of communications. However, what would you present as your core business? - As regional partners and consultants to numerous corporations, governments, institutions, organisations and their leaders, we cover an entire array of services in the field of consulting and communication, providing support to more than 120 companies. Although we use international knowhow, we understand the local market very well, and all challenges faced by companies on it. There is no longer such a clear division of services as there once was, rather now you need to combine several approaches in order to provide proper support to the client. You must start from a good understanding of the needs of clients and your strategic approach, in order to satisfy that need. Then you need to use different PR tools, such as media relations, public affairs, CSR, internal communications, digital, event management etc. All of this together comprises integrated communications, which is precisely our approach to communications. • What are global trends like in the field of
communications? Are they changing and, if so, in which direction? - Communications are very dynamic and you must monitor all of the changes brought by modern times. Most change happens in the digital segment. Ever more campaigns are precisely designed and conducted through these channels. On the other hand, you have consumers who have become increasingly more sophisticated and who know exactly what they want. They have also become supersaturated with the standard ways of placing information, which represents a major challenge for all of us in the profession when it comes to determining which method to use to catch their
munication has a wealth of local experience, given that it has been operating in Serbia since 2008. During that time we have implemented a large number of campaigns and organised more than 1,000 of the most varied events. Although we have communications experts that are able to cover the most diverse industries, during operations we have profiled ourselves as a consulting company for several industries and fields, such as environmental protection, where we have vast experience. We created the communication plan for EU Accession Negotiation Chapter 27, led strategic consultations about the introduction of primary waste separation, im-
V+O Communication is part of a group and has a wealth of local experience, which in Serbia dates back to 2008. During that time we have implemented a large number of campaigns and organised more than 1,000 of the most varied events attention. It is precisely all of these changes that force us to constantly improve, research, innovate and change. Impacting on all of this is our alertness and dedication to monitoring new trends and combining them adequately, with the aim of pushing back the boundaries of professionally dealing with communications, all of which makes a difference for the client and the whole society. • Where are your strengths in comparison with similar agencies? - Apart from being part of a group, V+O Com-
plemented numerous awareness raising campaigns and led communications for a variety of clients in this field. The second segment in which we have vast experience relates to the FMCG industry and health and nutrition topics supported by this industry. Experience in managing awareness raising campaigns with the NGO sector, various institutions and under the patronage of Ministries, is something that has set us apart in this specific area. Also, as of recently we are also part of the excellent “Future #for5” campaign”, which deals with youth empowerment. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS