Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
A month ago, we published the Breaking news, which sounded off like a bomb – Miša Lukić is leaving Publicis after 18 years. It was a sensational news after which a great number of friends overwhelmed me with phone calls and e-mails asking me: how, why, do you know more about it? I did and did not know, but it was not on me to speak before Miša judges that the right time has come. The two of us agreed on the same day, that he would give the first interview after leaving Publicis to us. I did not wish to ask him when we can do the interview. I knew he had more important things to deal with, and I believed his word. As always, Miša kept his promise. Seven days ago, he sent me an e-mail in which he wrote that he already had about a dozen requests for an interview, but he wished to give the first one to Media Marketing. So this very interesting and above all useful story was created for all those who work in the communications business. Enjoy reading it!
Media Marketing: Two years ago, you took over the responsibility to carry out Maurice Levy’s idea of the consolidation of all Publicis Group’s agencies into Publicis One, in 30 countries. These were the two most dynamic years in your career. You left Publicis One a month ago. How would you briefly describe this two-year period?
Miša Lukić: Being a regional CEO of Publicis ONE, in charge of 30 countries, certainly was a ONE of a kind experience. It represents the most dynamic and interesting period of my professional life, no matter my very vibrant and exciting career up until that point.
In short, my two-year mandate can be described as a great success, one which even I, as a great optimist and a highly positive person, could not hope for and will be proud of for as long as I live.
Together with the brilliant regional management, the leaders of the sub regional clusters and individual countries, which I have for the most part chosen myself, unrealistically good results, have been achieved. For two consecutive years, we were by far the most prosperous region when it came to revenue growth and profit rate, not only within Publicis One Worldwide (95 countries), but within the framework of the entire Publicis Group, and I believe it was the best business result in the world at that time, including other agency networks.
The particularity of this success is even greater when it is considered that Publicis One was a test for The Power Of One, a concept, which Publicis Group has begun to implement in the most developed markets around the world as a model of the agency of the future, based on our two-year experience in the middle and small markets. I feel privileged to have taken part in this historical moment for the transformation of Publicis Group, which by many objective criteria represents the most vanguard group in our industry (over 50% of revenue comes from digital business).
How much I still believe in the concept of The Power of One and Publicis Group itself, tells the fact that after leaving the Group I did not sell any of my shares nor do I intend to do that in the near future.
I would also like to point out that I have had the opportunity to meet the new chairman and CEO of Publicis Group Arthur Sadoun several times in joint management meetings and on one occasion had the privilege of spending half an hour in direct conversation with him. I believe that after the legendary Maurice Levy, Publicis Group has the right leader for the 21st century in Arthur. The combination of his lucidity, vision, courage and charm are qualities of only a few people in today’s corporate world. All this points to the bright future for Publicis Group in the coming period, regardless of the difficult transformation our entire industry is going through.
As for myself, I have decided to give myself an even bigger business challenge and, once again, raise the bar I wish to jump over. With a running start and the confidence I have gained in the past two years, I am entering an even greater challenge and will try to achieve something no one from our region has ever achieved in the creative industry before – create a global company with the seat in the Balkans.
Media Marketing: What is the most valuable experience of this two-year period for you?
Miša Lukić: The most valuable asset I am taking with me from this period are the friendships with Publicis One people whom I have been privileged to meet and enjoy working with.
I am also taking with me an enormous and thus priceless experience. Although I have lead highly successful agencies in several Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries for more than a quarter of a century, nothing I have ever experienced can relate to the experience of leading a region of 30 countries at Publicis One. It’s like you’ve spent all your life playing football and competing in local and regional leagues and then got to play in the Champions League and win it, two years in a row. Like in the most beautiful dream.
Having all this in mind, I feel enormous gratitude towards Publicis Group, especially Jarek Ziebinski and the global team of Publicis One, for the chance they have offered me and which I hope I have justified with my efforts and results. I also feel enormous gratitude towards all my dear colleagues in the CEE region, which have contributed to the achievement of this common success.
Media Marketing: You have left Publicis Group after 18 years. How did you experience this separation? I suppose the emotions were very strong.
Miša Lukić: It was not easy… It was especially difficult when I had the farewell speech in Belgrade. After that speech and a long applause, tens of people spontaneously felt the need to embrace me.
Very emotional was also the farewell with agency heads from my region. The farewell meeting took place in Athens, where I also held the last training for the Greek agency’s people on business design. At the end of the training, we had a long and emotional farewell in which even I started to cry after a sentence pronounced by the Creative Director of the agency.
I have received hundreds of emotional letters and messages, in which people expressed regret that I was leaving, gratitude for everything I did for them and, at the same time, support for my future plans.
My first associate and the Connections Lead for Publicis One Worldwide, Sonja Dragojević, experienced the same kind of emotional and very warm farewell. I was delighted that Sonja decided to join me in the future venture but, at the same time, deeply touched by all the warm words and farewell messages she has received as it was clear to me how much people from Publicis Group loved her and that I was somehow now taking her away from them. One way to express my gratitude, and show how proud I am of her, was to post the letters and messages she has received in just a few days from the region and the world on my Facebook profile. What Sonja has done in the last two years at the regional and global level, as well as in all of the 14 years in Publicis Group, will remain written with golden letters in the hearts of the people who worked with her.
Media Marketing: When you look back at those 18 years at Publicis Group, what is the first thing that comes to your mind, what will you always remember?
Miša Lukić: The first thing that comes to my mind is just how impossible it sounds to me to pass by Publicis One or hear something about Leo Burnett or Saatchi agencies and have nothing to do with it anymore. Then a few of the people I’ve worked with for a long time and have gone through a lot with, come to my mind. Some of them are no longer in Publicis Group.
I will also remember most of the clients with great delight. I have always chosen my clients, just as they have chosen us. It is well known that, whilst I ran the agency, we did not take part in many pitches because I wished to work only with those clients who shared our values and with whom there was mutual respect. With many of the clients I have become very close and I will continue to nurture our friendships.
I will always remember the moment when I left the Belgrade agency in the hands of Andjelko Trpković and when I appointed Branislav Lončar as the new CFO, the youngest one in Publicis Group Worldwide at that time. They are now successful leaders in the Adriatic region. I am both grateful that they have continued my journey and that Publicis One with all its brand agencies still is one of the largest and best agencies in the region.
Media Marketing: According to the contract you have signed when exiting the Group, up until the end of this year you will not work in the industry, you will not engage your prior clients, nor will the people you collaborated with be able to join your team. Has any agreement been made on a future co-operation with Publicis One?
Miša Lukić: Yes, it is true that I have such an agreement with Publicis One and I will not only respect it, but will never do anything to hurt the interests of Publicis Groupe.
No agreement on the future co-operation has been made, however, this does not mean that there will not be one at some point. I am of the opinion that it is better to have a period in which we will not cooperate so that the leaders who have taken over the sub regions could develop their personal style and relationship with their people.
In any case, considering that New Startegy will primarily deal with business consulting rather than direct communication, especially its implementation, there is a chance that we will engage Publicis One as one of our partners and thus participate in joint projects. Of course, this does not mean that we will not cooperate with other agencies as well in the future.
Media Marketing: You have founded a new company and named it New Startegy. Perhaps those reading this will think it is a typo, but it is not. Why New Startegy and why the logo of an eye with legs?
Miša Lukić: You are right, many think at first that it is a typo. Even the Agency for Economic Registers (APR) registered us as New Strategy even though our real name was clearly written on the form, so we had to ask for a change to be made on the very first day of our establishment.
As someone whose profession it is to give names to companies and brands, we have broken all rules in giving our own, but the rules are here to produce new rules. More than the simplicity and ease of pronunciation, it was important for us to have a name with an important message in itself and for it to have a multifaceted meaning – to say who we are, what we are and why.
In the name of NEW STARTEGY, STARTEGY stands out at a first glance.
Bearing in mind that business design as our core business, among other things, represents a new agile model of business strategy, it was interesting to us to name this sort of business strategy for the 21st century with a new descriptive but intriguing name such as STARTEGY.
STARTegy gives the starting direction for a business but takes into consideration that this direction can always be adjusted considering the complexity and uncertainty of the business environment in which we create. STARTEGY allows you to be focused while keeping the options open at the same time.
If a map represents a metaphor for the traditional strategy, then the metaphor for STARTEGY is a compass. When you have a fixed map and a change occurs in the field, existing roads no longer exist and you are lost but, when you have a compass, you can always try new routes because you always know where you are and where you want to go.
The best Startegies are wise, creative and transformational, and these are exactly the qualities that we as a company wish to express when working with our clients.
STARTEGY also includes the word ART (stARTegy) in itself, which communicates the fact that we look at every business as a canvas and an opportunity to express creativity. Business is one of the greatest human creations in our opinion. Behind every successful company there is one or a group of business designers who are creators and artists in the business world.
Adding the word NEW, means that as the First Business Design company in the region, we are launching something new and it is also a new start in our own careers (NEW STARTegy). Also, NEW means we have a new approach to business, we will always strive for new, original and innovative solutions as well as finding opportunities which will serve as new beginnings for our clients, a re:start in comparison with a start and a traditional way of thinking and doing things.
As for our logo (the image of a walking eye), this primarily reflects our attitude that for creative solutions to problems or finding new opportunities, one always needs to look at the world from as many different perspectives as possible. Only in such a way can new insights be reached, those which can lead us to great discoveries, whether a new business model, a new product, or a solution to how to bring energy and transform people and culture in the best and most efficient way in an organization.
It is interesting to note that Dejan Bojović – Bojke, my partner and co-founder of New Startegy, came up with the logo and I came up with the name.
Media Marketing: In the past few years, you have devoted your time to the concept of business design. Your future plans are in tight connection with business design consulting. Can you explain a bit what it is exactly that you will be doing?
Miša Lukić: The best way to highlight the greatness of the role of business design whilst at the same time not diminishing the importance of communication, can be summed up with the following sentence: The role of business design is to create a business worthy of communication.
It has never been more important for the companies to transform themselves in a way which requires creativity and innovation in every domain of business. There exists no more a safe path which will lead us to success, so we can’t choose it but rather need to design it. Every time a company designs a new product, service, new consumer experience, new corporate culture, a new business model, new processes, a new vision etc., it essentially redesigns its business.
In 1996, Steve Jobs said for the magazine Wired: “Design is an interesting word. Some people think design means what something looks like. But, of course, if you look deeper, it’s actually how something works. ”
What attracted me to business design was the realisation that I have in fact, throughout my career, for the success of my clients and my personal business success, used many of the basic postulates of business designs. Every successful entrepreneur or CEO already is a business designer. However, in the future, no one, no matter how competent, will be able to follow all the changes taking place, those to which one needs to quickly adapt to or utilize as opportunities.
New Startegy will not be yet another consultancy. We wish to create something new and not merely repeat that which other business consulting companies have done before us.
New Startegy is envisioned as a platform which will, depending on its clients and their needs, bring together specialised experts and partner companies from around the world in order to solve the most complex business challenges and create new opportunities.
Our clients will be both small start-up companies for which we will create the program and the platform to overcome critical phases in their development and find faster access to sources of funding, as well as multinational companies which need support in corporate culture transformation, business digitization or help with product, service and process innovation.
Media Marketing: Business coaching is also something that will be a part of your future activities. Given your knowledge and experience, this seems logical. How do you intend to make coaching a part of New Startegy?
Miša Lukić: New Startegy will have the role to help its clients in their transformation in all areas of business and, as we know, an essential transformation is a profound, lasting and very significant change.
In order for a transformation of an organization to succeed, it is necessary to first transform its people. However, as we all have seen, times and times again, no change occurs from reading books on change. Information alone does not produce transformation. The best support for change is coaching, especially transformational coaching, the one focusing on changing what we are doing by changing who we are.
In our company, everything to do with leadership transformation, design of relationship between teams as well as corporate culture will be led by Dragana Lukić, Chief People & Culture Designer. Dragana is one of the most educated coach instructors in the region and she currently is the Certified Professional Coach (ACC ICF), COR.E Leadership & Transition Dynamics Specialist, Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, CTT Consultant (Culture transformation in organizations), Facilitator in Transformational Change through Transpersonal Psychology, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Practitioner.
I will also include and conduct many of the trainings, especially when it comes to Energy Leadership and Evolutionary Coaching.
Our task will be to enable leadership teams of all levels of the company to have an easier time dealing with change and, what’s more, to become catalysts and trigger positive and essential changes in their organization.
Media Marketing: In our column I Have A Dream, you have recently mentioned your desire to create a global business design company. Which markets will you be dedicated to?
Miša Lukić: It is true that I wish to create a global company with its partners from around the world, and the markets we will focus on at first are the Adriatic region, the Middle East (Dubai, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar), Singapore and Turkey. The ultimate goal are China and America.
Media Marketing: Will the headquarters of New Startegy be in Belgrade, or you intend to move to some of the more intense markets?
Miša Lukić: For now, I plan to remain in Belgrade and extend to other countries and continents by establishing partnerships. This is my current STARTEGY, but as the term indicates, this is just my initial plan, which means that everything is flexible and open in the future, especially in the long run.
Just to clarify, when the time period and planning are concerned, I treat a six-month period as short-term planning, 18 months as mid-term, and 36 months represent long-term planning for me.
So it may happen that, if this job will require, in the mid or long-term plan, I also change the place of living. It was important to me that something as big as the launch of a global business design company happens in our region and my hometown.
Media Marketing: It would be a great shame for the communications industry of the Adriatic region, and even a wider, if you left it. Since you will primarily engage in business consulting in the future, are you planning to stay in touch with our region and in which way?
Miša Lukić: Storytelling or communication is certainly an important element of business and will be in the future, but this is just one of the 12 elements in creating a successful business model of an organization.
Bearing in mind that I have an agreement with Publicis Group not to be active in the communications business until the end of this year, my short-term focus will be on StoryDoing and StoryBeing components of the business.
As of 2019, I will include Brand design consulting into the offer of New Startegy, but as I mentioned before, the concept and the vision of the company are planned as a platform with a small number of permanent employees and a large number of partner companies as well as individuals across the world. Publicis Group will, if anyone asks me, be one of those worldwide partners as I do not plan to use our consulting platform to deal with communication at the level of its execution. Of course, this will not exclude other large nor small agencies, as partners in our industry.
I would personally like to stay in a close relationship with our industry and that will surely be the case but, above all, as someone who can, as a consultant, help our industry transform and adapt to the new age.
I think it would be a challenge for me to help some of the agencies at the regional and global level to essentially transform in record time. The success I have achieved so far and my references from Publicis One work in my favour, so I expect very interesting project offers related to our industry in the coming year. The readership of Media Marketing will be the first to find out about them.