Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Jelena Ivanović
A few months back Aleksandar Nikolić, Digital Director, Communis DDB, together with colleagues from the organizing team of AcademIAA, worked on one of the most extensive and most dynamic projects in the field of marketing communications education. In this interview he openly talks about his reasons for joining the “AcademIAA story“, his expectations of the participants, what it’s like to design the program of the Digital Module and the coordination of 15 distinguished experts.
You accepted the invitation to join the organization of the IAA project AcademIAA without hesitation. This is considerably different from your everyday job, and it presumably sounded interesting.
Actually it’s not so different. We attach great importance to education in the agency. New recruits go through the “greenhorn” school, where they learn the basics of agency work and the specifics of each individual sector from their more experienced colleagues. On the other hand, we also have our well-known MBA program (Master of Bullshit in Advertising) which is attended by numerous domestic and foreign experts from different industries, people who are the best at what they do and whose lectures help us broaden our horizons. Sometimes some of us from the agency also muster the courage to share new knowledge and information in various fields of advertising with other colleagues. When it comes to AcademIAA, what attracted me the most, apart from the fact that I will share my knowledge and interests with the participants, was the hope that they will surprise us with different and “fresh” ways of thinking.
The entire industry reacted positively to the launch of AcademIAA. How would you explain that?
I think the profession is aware that we are no longer considered the sexy industry we were during the golden years of advertising. As an example I will mention students of information technology, who mainly want to work in the IT industry even before the end of their studies, or immediately dream of launching their own startup. I really appreciate this enthusiasm and understanding of the direction in which the market and the economy are moving. On the other hand, I think that very few of them – and unfortunately even the agencies – see the potential for development in advertising for a graduate in IT studies. Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, is a position that is more than necessary in each agency / company now. This is the person who is the link between the organization and the team of developers, the person familiar with the specifics of new technologies and who knows how to incorporate them into the business of the organization. And who is more qualified to hold this position than someone who has studied it and wants to continue improving in this area? This is why we will have a special lecture on precisely this topic within the Digital Module. The idea is that someone might recognize themselves in this role in the future, or that on their return to their agency the following day, they might suggest that their more experienced colleagues look for a person of that profile. This is just one example, but I believe that my colleagues have recognized the need to share their knowledge and experience in our industry with young upcoming talents, and that is why the reactions are more than just positive.
The Digital Module has rightfully earned its place within the AcademIAA program. What will it be like?
Starting with the basics. Vlada Zarić (Leo Burnett) will give an introduction to digital marketing, with a story about its beginnings, and which campaign can be said to have been the first ever digital campaign, and whether we can classify marketing as digital or traditional today. Then the stage will be taken by “Digital Agencies”. In the form of a panel, Ivan Živković (Pioniri) and Nikola Barać (Httpool) will take us through the secrets of agency work. Some of the topics we will discuss is how they select candidates, as well as, for example, the difference between a classical and a digital brief. Ana Marković (Adria Media Group) and Petar Stakić (Infostud) will present the analytics and will talk about how to set up and monitor the KPIs of a digital campaign. Community management skills will be presented by Željko Subašić (LBS Team Agency) and Maja Jovanović (Fullhouse Ogilvy). On the panel “Digital Companies” Maja Marković (Mercator S), Milan Obradović (Telenor), Tanja Tatomirović (Microsoft) and Nemanja Đurić (Coca Cola), will share their experiences from the client perspective. My colleague and long-time associate Lea Stanković (Communis DDB) will share her experiences in Influencer Marketing, but will also give a couple of very useful tips on how to work on your own promotion within the profession. The person responsible for Content will be Danka Trbojević (Drive). The role in the agency of the aforementioned CTO and new technologies will be presented by Goran Jankuloski (Executive Group). Participants will also have mobile marketing as well, which will be presented by Igor Marjanović (Google) who is coming in from Dublin. And finally, yours truly will talk what would have happened had the hospitality industry first come up with the AirBnB model, and what we people in marketing can learn from the experience of others in the economy of sharing.
What do you think participants can expect from AcademIAA?
There are three things that are very useful to anyone who plans to sail in the waters of marketing and advertising, or who has been there for quite some time now but feels a natural need to work on themselves and their skills every day. The first thing is that they will get to meet more than 70 top experts willing to share the experience and knowledge they have acquired over the years (if they regularly attend lectures, of course). They will meet people who know how to recognize the potential and passion for this business in young people. This may be someone who will become their mentor and colleague the next day after AcademIAA, someone with whom they will work on projects. Therefore, this is a unique opportunity for students to get to meet, and to stay in contact with, the lecturers after this program. Secondly, they will hear a lot of new experiences and information in lectures, which can awaken in them the interest and desire to delve deeper into the secrets of advertising and marketing and to constantly continue to expand their knowledge of the subjects that we offer. And third, but not least, to get to know other students, with whom they share the same desire and passion for this business. I talk from personal experience, because I consider some of the friendships I established with colleagues from my IAA studies as some of my greatest treasures, even today. These are people with whom they will share the good, and the not so good moments later in their career, and share advice, but also encourage and cheer each other on.
What do you expect from the future students of AcademIAA?
At one of the first lectures of my specialist IAA studies, Head of Department Professor Goran Peković asked each of the students: “What is advertising for you?” When my turn came, I said: “A game I enjoy.” Back then I had maybe less than two years of experience in the industry, but if you asked me that question today, the answer would still be the same. This is what I expect from our students. To be “hot” for their job if they are just starting, or to be impatient for their chance, if they are planning to apply for their first experience in an agency or a company.
Do you have a message for those who have applied?
Sweep us off our feet!
What will you remember this project for?
I will remember it for its excellent organization, which is to the credit of the entire organization team. In addition to these people, I will also remember it for the words of my friend, and once fellow soldier from our IAA studies, Andrej Milkić, who first introduced me to the idea. He said: “This is our chance to repay the debt and to transfer what those more experienced taught us, to the younger generation.” It is a great honor to be part of such an ambitiously conceived training program, and it’s an even greater challenge to coordinate a group of 15 of the top digital experts in the country. I have no doubt that we will be able to create a great thing, which everyone will remember and use as a benchmark for similar future projects. I would also like to remember this project by the acquaintances I will make among the participants, full of enthusiasm for this business, and people whom I will address as colleagues after their completion of the program.