Truth or dare – the question is now?

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The fifth Regional Communication Leaders Forum titled “Izazov 2019”  was held on March 25 and 26 at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade, with the slogan “Truth or Dare – the question is now?”.  The Right agency was among the active participants of the panels, workshops and other useful and entertaining content which included a broad spectrum of topics: trends in integrated communications, the situation on the marketing communications market in the region, as well as how to establish the best possible dialogue between companies and agencies…

We knew right at the opening that it would be very interesting, when we were addressed by Jamshid Alamuta, CEO and co-founder of Pi School from Italy.  His address was about how companies can use creativity in the transformation of their operations, as well as what the biggest challenges for the creative industry were in 2019.  In his opinion, only those agencies, which are narrowly profiled for certain fields, will survive, considering that clients increasingly demand that those who do their marketing and PR know their brand well, as well as the industry branch the brand belongs to, they wish to cooperate with professionals who are experts in a certain field, not “jacks of all trades”.

The co-founder of Pi School Italy explained that consumers dictate the marketing for a certain brand, not the brand itself. Because of that, when creating a campaign, one should think from the perspective of consumers, end users, what they want to hear, see, read about a certain product or service. In that regard, it is very important that every agency has at least one young person among its employees, someone between 20 and 30 years of age, because “it’s their planet now”. They do not have the experience and the expertise of their older colleagues, but they have a “sense of reality that needs to be acknowledged”.

At the first panel, titled “Are we playing with our cards on the table”, there were discussions about transparency of the market, as well as openness in client-agency relations.  Participants agreed that transparency is important, but not crucial for good cooperation. The obstacles to transparency are the absence of communication, influence of politics and connections, shadow economy, conditions for participating in the communications market, absence of clearly established standards, low budgets.

The clients on the panel said that they are not interested in how much the agency makes from ads in media, and that they instead care about the business going smoothly. Additionally, they don’t mind when the teams they work with are changed within an agency, because for good cooperation, it’s not sufficient that everyone is professional, educated and responsible, instead, the success of the cooperation often depends on the sensibility and interpersonal chemistry which exists or doesn’t exist between the client and the agency employees. The most important thing is, they note, is that the client isn’t just a number to the agency.

An interesting fact, which we also heard at the Forum, is that the majority of companies did not accept their agencies as an added value, and instead perceive them as an expense. Clients agreed that, in order for an agency to be accepted as an investment, it is necessary for the agency to know the client’s business well.

At the panel on consumer habits, it was underscored that emotions were what, at the end of the day, influenced decisions when shopping, more often than rational thinking. That is why it is important to influence the emotions of customers, and that can be done the past when we reach out to everyone individually, not to the entire target group.


Regarding that, a new form of analysing consumer wishes using neuropsychology was presented to us. Using specialized sensors, one can track what consumers pay attention to when shopping, and what catches their eye first when entering a store. The so-called neuromarketing can help advertisers and creative agencies market their products, services and campaigns as well as possible.

Another topic at the Forum was whether big agencies are competition for small ones. Panellists concluded that small agencies compete with each other, but not big agencies.

Presentation about the situation on the media and marketing market in six countries of the region (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, BiH, Montenegro and Macedonia) showed that TV is still the leading media, and that there was a record-high number of viewers in Serbia in 2018 – 3.5 million. However, it needs to be kept in mind that only a narrow target group watch regular TV programme, while the rest watch a programme that they selected and paid for themselves. Usage of the Viber app is on the rise, and it is expected that the use of Instagram will have a new meaning after the introduction of a new option – shopping without leaving the app. YouTube’s popularity should not mislead us – it is still not a good channel for marketing and PR, considering that people use this channel to listen, and not watch, but unlike radio stations, YouTube allows its users to block ads.

It is concluded that mobile advertising should be the focus in the future.


What are the mutual interests of a client and an agency, and how is a campaign’s success measured, were the topics of a panel entitled Show Me the Results. The majority of panellists agreed that clients expect innovations from agencies that will increase their profits, and real innovations are achieved by analysing customer needs, market and public opinion, as well as correct interpretation of those studies.

Henry Ford was quoted in the context, who said that analyses can be good, but that if he listened to them, he would have never made an automobile, as customers back then asked for faster horses, while he offered them something completely new and revolutionary.

When it comes to measuring the success of a campaign, it is not just about the profit, but also how the campaign affected the company’s reputation, and potential errors can be avoided if we stop looking at a brand or service from our own perspective, and start looking from the perspective of customers. For example, we should not ask bank employees for their opinion about a financial service, but those who are not in banking.

Finally, what can we conclude after two days of learning and spending time with marketing, PR and digital communication professionals from companies and agencies? Firstly, we need to adapt to needs and lifestyles of future generations, integrate technology, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Many challenges are still ahead of us, but we can respond to them if we believe in what we do.

Therefore, both truth and dare!


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