Diary of a Methuselah #145: Valerija Prevolšek, Mercator’s Strategic Conference and Mojca Randl
Mercator is a big company – the largest regional retailer. More than 20k employees and €2bn in annual turnover. Huge!
Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Last week I travelled to attend Mercator’s Strategic Conference on the theme Opportunities for the Future.
I arrived in Ljubljana at around noon for the agreed meeting with Valerija Prevolšek, director of Media Pool and SEMPL conference. We are the traditional media sponsors of SEMPL and our cooperation is successfully evolving from year to year. As I was waiting for Valerija in Union, I drank coffee with Danica Purg, director of the Bled School of Management. We haven’t seen each other for a long time – since the Leaders with Leaders meeting which organized for the young leaders of our industry in Mokrin. Danica was our guest and held a great lecture on leadership.
I talked with Valerija about this year’s SEMPL which is set to take place in Portorož in late November. At Media Marketing we have decided this year that we will be strongly engaged as ambassadors for two events: BalCannes and SEMPL, which includes the Sempler awards.
I personally participated in the creation of BalCannes, so I have a very personal feelings towards this festival, in addition to the fact that I consider it to be very important for the creativity of advertising in the Adriatic region. For the first time the jury will sit outside of Rovinj. The Jury will meet on 13 and 14 September in Sarajevo, and host and organizer of the jury meeting will be Media Marketing. That’s why we want BalCannes to have a record number of entries this year.
As for SEMPL, we consider it the highest quality regional media conference and we will therefore strongly lobby among our friends and business partners to register as many people as possible to the conference and the Sempler Awards. Valerija and I put our plans on paper, and discussed the strategy to implement them. We plan to travel together next month to Zagreb and Belgrade to visit key agencies and advertisers.
We are not paid BalCannes, SEMPL and Sempler lobbyists. We are ambassadors who give their support to these events out of conviction of their significance to our industry.
After meeting with Valerija, I’ went to Mercator’s Strategic Conference on Future Opportunities, which was also the main reason for my trip to Ljubljana. The conference was held at Ljubljana Fair. There were actually two conferences in two days. First day was for employees, and second day for suppliers and other strategic partners. Both were attended by more than a thousand people, as it befits a big company of Mercator’s calibre.
I arrived five minutes before the conference. I entered the crowded hall, illuminated by a multicolored dimmed light with an exquisitely elegant scene filled with giant led screens. Three screens covered the entire stage. All this seemed very impressive, creating the atmosphere of a great event, which this conference actually was.
Goal of the conference was to look back on the results of the previous year and to take a look at the future, to reveal to everyone the very ambitious plans of the largest regional retailer. After a very emotional address by Miran Goslar, the “Father of Mercator”, who called for unity and support to the current administration that is great at managing the company, and the rational speech by Fabriz Peruško, the trustee for Agrokor, who rated Mercator’s performance extraordinary, promising all the support in further development, Tomislav Čizmić, CEO of Mercator, climbed the stage. In the presentation that lasted about twenty minutes, a lot of slides rotated on the screens behind him, abundant with data. Perfectly prepared (and designed) presentation. I believe that Čizmić, went to sleep every night over the last month filled with details of Mercator’s business. He probably even dreamed some of them. But even that was not as astounding as the commanding presentation that Mercator’s CEO gave. In order to command the stage like that, and give a presentation with dozens of slides, each containing at least three pieces of information, one must live their job. Tomislav Ćizmić obviously lives and breathes Mercator.
It’s a big company – the region’s largest retailer! More than twenty thousand employees and €2bn annual turnover. A large number of markets, from the smallest to the largest. If they were to set all their store shelves next to each other, they could cover the distance from Ljubljana to Hamburg. Technology is increasingly entering trade and Mercator is the leader in this space. The employees are, said Čizmić, are the largest capital of Mercator. But no less valuable is 1.8 million loyal customers who own the Pika Card. Mercator’s employees, shoppers and suppliers make up the largest family in the Adriatic region and beyond. It’s a great business to manage. But Čizmić and his associates know how to do it best. At the end of his presentation, the Board President announced the largest single investment in the history of Mercator – a new logistics center in Ljubljana, in which they will invest €100 million.
I could write a lot more about the conference, but I’ll leave that for the stories we will be talking about Mercator throughout this year, in which the company marks its 70th birthday.
After the conference I went to meet Mojca Randl, director of the agency Formitas. No special reason, apart from the friendly conversation we both were looking forward to. Still, nothing can pass without a couple of words about the industry. Mojca began her advertising career as a part of the team that worked on the Yugoslav Marketing Festival nearly thirty years ago. “Jure Apih hired me and threw me into the fire. It was very exciting. You know, we miss that unity and camaraderie in the industry as it was at that time. Somehow everyone is looking after themselves, and this is not an industry that grows and develops on these principles. advertising is an industry that develops with the full use of collective synergy,” Mojca told me. It is a pleasure for her to be included in the Creative Portfolio, which will be released in about twenty days, and works awarded with Outstanding awards for the greatest creative achievements in outdoor advertising will be included. Mojca chaired the jury of these awards which decided the winners about ten days ago.