Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Prof. Bora Miljanović, the general director of Represent Communications, studied at Belgrade University Law School, got his masters there, and then did a PhD in Communication Studies at the faculty of Political Sciences. He created a PR department in the BK group. He established a PR department for the Royal Court. He worked as an editor and journalist for different media (BK TV, TV Politika, Studio B, Blic). Is one of the first Serbian members of IPRA (International Public Relations Association). He created and realised many communication campaigns for profit and the nonprofit sector clients. Fifteen years ago, Bora became an entrepreneur and founded Represent Communications, a PR agency which had a fast and dynamic development introducing new services for its clients. They were the first to introduce new developments into the communication industry, they continue to acquire new knowledge in order to offer their clients services offered by the most advanced agencies in Europe and worldwide.
Media Marketing: 15 years ago you were a partner in a successful PR agency and then you decided to go on your own, you bought out your partner. Why?
Bora Miljanović: I am not a person who shies away from the responsibility or decision making. I also need freedom. It is important for me to work in an environment where the sky’s the limit. That’s why I started my own business. Only then did I get to know my true self. I am sure now that I chose the right road, the road of freedom and responsibility, I made my dreams come true.
Media Marketing: You had no experience in business and running a company. You were obviously talented because for 15 years you’d been developing Represent Communications as a very successful communication system. What was the hardest part?
Bora Miljanović: When I look back, sometimes I was too brave. I joined the agency business and started a new leading brand agency without a day of agency experience. When I went on my own, I took out a huge loan to pay off my partner. They were all hard decisions, but the hardest part was in spring 2014, with massive floods, when all the communication budgets were used for humanitarian relief. We had a lot of people working for us, large credit and our income was halved. We nearly drowned because of the floods.
Media Marketing: Represent started out as a classic PR agency. As the industry changed you adapted by introducing new services. What was the development like?
Bora Miljanović: When we registered the PR Agency in 2002 we were one of the first in Serbia. Then we established Online PR, before Facebook reached our shores. Two years ago, we started The Content Studio, and now we have Native Network, we are also preparing a large project for next year. We will be the first in the region with this project. The communication business is developing fast everywhere in the world and we saw our chance there. If you do have to change you might as well be the first to bring it to the region. We are the communicators of the 21st century, we live in a disruptive economy, where with each new technological invention our job gets a new direction for development. We are not the largest agency, we are not the most creative agency, but we surely are the fastest at learning.
Media Marketing: By developing services, Represent expanded geographically. You got agencies throughout the region.
Bora Miljanović: That is our development strategy. When we learn something new, we try it out in Serbia then we spread it out in to the wider region. We were lucky to find good people to run our branches. For instance, our newest branch in Skopje gained us a regional client who we did a project for in Banja Luka. Our Ivana Čađenović in Podgorica, is achieving the best results for two years running and working on some of the largest projects in Montenegro.
Media Marketing: When the content marketing trend started to grow stronger, you embraced it and it became a large part of your business.
Bora Miljanović: When we went it alone in 2011 we were looking for a direction. We even dabbled in integrated communications copying the large marketing agencies. Luckily, we quickly realised that it was not our playing field. We are media people, we all started in media, we work with media every day, it is our strongest point. When three years ago, The New York Times, the crowning glory of world journalism fired 150 journalists and opened T brand studio for content marketing I realised what direction we should take. I went to train in American Content Institute and visited a New York Agency Contently and there and then I decided to go in that direction. We had been making media content all our lives and we do it well, and luckily all the communication industry is going that way. We just have to keep on learning to be able to use new channels and technologies for our story telling.
Media Marketing: You accepted native advertising quickly, you have a partner in Slovenia you are developing with this side of the business.
Bora Miljanović: To be successful in communication business and in the years to come, we’ll try to be deft in combining the creative story telling with new technologies. Our business model is not like the business model of the large marketing agencies. Look at the stock market losses of the six large marketing conglomerates for the first time in the last thirty years. Our business model should be like the technical start up models. We need to develop what our clients need, not what we are comfortable with. Our Native Network is a good example. We joined 15 media portals, we found partners in Slovenia who provided the software and in a few months we did our first twenty campaigns. We will move it to the region next year.
Media Marketing: It looks like video has got hold of you lately. You have your own studio for video production, you’re strengthening your journalist team… How much is video part of your business in Represent?
Bora Miljanović: Video is the part of our Content Studio, and in the last two years has seen a meteoric rise. We started with Sonja, now there is an executive, cameraman and editor. They can’t keep up with the demand. We approach the video in a TV style rather than in marketing way. Some people need a whole week and two subcontractors to produce a good video. We need two days. We are an agency as well as an editorial board. In the true sense of the word. We also have our own media which is a kind of a sounding board to establish what works and what’s being read.
Media Marketing: When you look back at last 15 years, what it is the first thing that comes to mind, what is the best memory you have?
Bora Miljanović: Anything is possible if you are prepared to learn and change. I started a private agency business 15 years ago with 400 dollars I borrowed. Now, I lead operations in 4 countries with over 100 employees. And what’s more I only started learning and I’ve never felt better!
Media Marketing: What do you wish never happened?
Bora Miljanović: I wish we never lost so many good people in a short period I was not aware how important a good atmosphere is in an agency .
Media Marketing: Things change daily, it is difficult to envisage what Represent will be like in 15 years. What is your vision for the company in the next three years.
Bora Miljanović: Of course I can, that’s my favourite pastime. We will be an agency that helps its clients to become media. In three years’ time all the regional companies will know that they need to connect with their customers via their communication content, the best example is Red Bull. As they realise that they will need us more and more.