Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Kristijan Gregorić is Adriatic Region Managing Director and Partner at Valicon. After a year and a half since he joined the Valicon story, he tells us what’s new in the company and in the regional market, but also about the responsibilities of the regional director and what the Valicon’s strategy is in the region.
Entrepreneurship and Valicon represent a new way of creating for Kristijan – a new kind of responsibility. What he strives for is dedication, passion and positive atmosphere in the team. “We have tremendously talented young people, and that’s what makes me happy. Today, there are about 60 of us in the Adriatic region. The biggest challenge is to bring together, harmonize and motivate all those people who have different knowledge, skills and talents, in order to get complex and quality projects,” says Kristijan.
To the comment that everyone today talks about transformation, including all global research companies, he responds: “Valicon has completed this transformation. We are a regional marketing consulting company and we emphasize that ad hoc research must be there, because the real insight, that AHA moment, will always be needed. New services must be to the point, fast and innovative business solutions, not just research.”
For 20 years Kristijan Gregorić was on the client side, and it’s a side he knows very well. He says that the real issue of research is in interpretation, and that it will continue to be a problem until the clients understand that too. “Interpretation and insight are more valuable than a few figures from research. At Valicon, we offer business solutions to our clients. It’s not a transactional relationship, but a relationship and working together with our client. A quarter of a century of working with big telecommunications, financial, FMCG, tourism … clients. When you have a lot of experience in working with clients, it gives you a completely different view of business. You realize that everything is just as it is in life. Each of us is different and unique, so each of our clients (as well as their brands and business models) is different, special and unique. And you have to approach them as such, and offer tailor made, quick and easy approach to each individual client. Only in this way can you gain client’s trust, build a long-term relationship with them, and convince them that they have a trusted partner in us.”
Valicon has redesigned its organization model. Both in functional and managerial sense it is now a real regional company. Kristijan readily explains the organizational structure according to the Business Unit principle that is widespread throughout the region.
“I place emphasis on cross-functional collaboration and organization through Business Units. Valicon is a working environment that promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and creating new business opportunities. I personally focus on working with the team to further develop leadership skills and knowledge with the so-called bottom-up approach, where people actively participate at all levels in making decisions and in realizing activities related to the company’s business strategy and goals. Openness, dialogue, teamwork and clear focus on priorities are the basic elements that I use to encourage people in Valicon.”
Talking about the results and goals, Gregorić explains that Valicon’s priorities in Adriatic Region are to systematically raise the company’s competitiveness, maintain a high level of product and service quality, i.e. business solutions, and he sees potential in innovations and the so called re-innovations of new solutions that, as he says, they are actively working on this year. One of such great, but now enriched solutions is the Brand.ICON v2.0, which uses LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) method to enhance productivity and creativity and tell an even better brand story.
“As of this year we have organized with the usual focus on each of the markets in the region and within the Business Units. One of these is BU New development. Ismir Omeragić from Sarajevo is leading this stream throughout the region. The focus is on existing products, but also on new areas of growth such as tourism, branding & destination management, and there are also novelties in terms of profiling of all communication channels, Neuro marketing, …
Speaking of Sarajevo, our team there is really strong and experienced. Sarajevo hosts our center for all the research analytics BU Operative led by Dženis Midžić. I am very proud to be able to develop young people and have an operational center for the entire region in Sarajevo. The goal is to raise the Center to a new level of regional cooperation focusing on increasing the efficiency of work on marketing projects and reducing costs by increasing productivity in 2018.
BU Analytics and SPSS (and new software solutions) are run in the region by Aleksandar Milanović from Belgrade. Here we will have stronger focus on services and analytical projects where we are regional experts. The potential for analytics and analytical solutions is enormous in my opinion.
In Zagreb, the regional BU Center for financial and insurance products is led by Josip Tvrtković.
Then we have the Center for branding excellence led by Mirna Batagelj, the key FMCG expert in the region, with the help of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitators led by Jaka Oman and experts in this area, Kristina Črep, Jelena Vukelić and Naida Misimović.
Kovijana Zeković in Ljubljana is, in my opinion, the strongest person in the region for Retail Business and she holds the Center of Excellence for Retail and FMCG.
Matjaž Robinšak and Andraž Zorko are top experts for a wide area of service sector, media and top consulting in the field of political issues.”
Kristijan adds that Valicon is very strong in digitization and new technologies. “If someone is competent to talk about digitization and new technologies then it’s my friend and partner, Zenel Batagelj. Our business model is cooperation with global players from this region in the digital services industry, such as Infobip, Iprom and, of course, IBM with whom we have been working for a quarter of a century. Our business is data business, and public blockchain is the only real thing for that. About this, Zenel wrote a special blog that we will share on social networks.”
Kristijan points out that over the last two years Zenel has been focusing on the development of a platform that, taking into account the GDPR, transforms personal data into the digital treasure which can be traded with, and on the other hand it enables the development of new services that have so far not been possible.
“A little bit on GDPR. Today, we have consumers who have no data, and the companies that have them. They use them and don’t usually have the right to do so. What we do in Valicon is enabling the consumer to establish ownership of their own information, and decide how to use them. Every use is recorded by the system equally spreads the earnings among all involved: the data owners, those who have developed the value-added service, the platform that enables it, and the companies that enable data capture. Companies that have a lot of information about consumers can thus make new profit points out of data. Up until now, they were just costs,” says Zenel Batagelj.
Services that they are developing have enormous global potential. Valicon is working on connecting their panels with the data that is collected by phones – but legally! Based on that, they will create excellent singlesource analytics solutions, not to talk about new targeting options.
Zenel continues: “Along with the Valicon team that has developed analytics and panels, there are new experts as well – Mihael Modic, who worked for Deutsche borse for ten years, Gregor Zavcer, who is part of the sharing economy based on Ethereum since the beginning, and Viktor Tron, the leader of the distributed database Swarm. There are also individuals who cover the legal issues and development of new services, and all are connected, for starters, by the Slovenian business ecosystem. In terms of internationalization, we have connected with Deloitte.”
Project Datafund has a special status as the government and regulators know about it. They are very important because the project deals with things that are legally not yet clearly defined.
If you ask Kristijan whether Zenel and he are exhausted from the constant search, conquest and implementation of new things, he will give a very simple answer: “Zenel and I are only at the half-time of our lives. Before us is a period in which we can realize all our knowledge and experience. Fun starts now. We are just starting.?”