Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Mitja Tuškej is one of the greatest, if not the greatest brand specialist in the Adriatic region. Maybe there are those who have more theoretical knowledge, but I doubt there’s anyone with so much practical experience as Mitja. His book No Friends, No Brands is the best evidence of that.
When he sent me an email a few years ago to inform me that he had assumed the responsibility of director at Direct Media Ljubljana, I was all but shocked. I remember writing on the portal once: Had someone told me that Mitja Tuškej will direct a musical on Broadway, I would be more inclined to believe it than that he could become a director of a media agency. I thought it would not last long, but I was wrong. Mitja merged with the media business, he discovered all the links between the brand and the media strategies and began to clear the paths that few passed before him. For six years he has successfully ran the project of the Direct Media Academy – a unique training program for employees in the communications industry of the Adriatic region by all accounts. The Academy began as a process of educating DM employees, and it slowly opened up in one segment to clients, and then, as of this year, it is open for all those who want to learn from the best. Once, at a dinner in his home, he told me how much his engagement with the academy relaxes him. And even this morning, when I sent him the questions, he replied with the speed of lightning. He says that writing the answers to my questions gave him a respite from the daily fuss at work. And then he sat on his bike and went to the hills.
Media Marketing: In the team of experts of the DM Group in 2012 you established a new concept of internal education, in which you introduced an interesting and inspiring work principle – a combination of the Learn – Practice – Implement concept. How did the concept fare over the past five years? How are the results?
Mitja Tuškej: The work principle proved very inspirational for our employees. In the Learn – Practice – Implement concept we have found the optimal dose in which you can transform a theory, supported by cases, immediately into the elaboration of a practical example that you meet every day in your practice.
I will never forget the first minute of the first Academy I did. In the first row were our top accounts from Belgrade. The looks directed at me were extremely clear and they spoke a completely simple story: “Well, let’s hear what this Slovenian has to tell us!” I was aware that I only had five minutes to save the situation. Either I would get them on board, or I would face a situation where I will not be able to dig myself out for the next three days, and in the end I would be literally dead. But since I’m still here, it’s clear that I’ve succeeded. Later on I talked with the guys about these feelings and they absolutely confirmed they were thinking that in those first minutes. Namely, the fact is that we at the Direct Media have been investing heavily in knowledge for years (our staff go to a lot of education courses) so that individuals have really heard and seen virtually everything. They admit to me that what they heard and did at the Academy was “out of this world”. And when we did the evaluation, you could really see everyone was impressed. The average grade given to us lecturers was 3.8, out of the maximum 4. Similar results have been in all academies so far. I was fascinated by the results we received – it was simply incredible to see the phenomenal presentations of the projects by the participants at the end of the academy. In essence, they could pitch any of the projects they put together in a couple of days immediately to the client. And even when our youngest employees went through the Academy program, virtually with no experience, they also did everything phenomenally.
Media Marketing: Which topics did you deal with, and how did you choose them?
Mitja Tuškej: My goal in compiling the program has always been to be as current as possible, to capture all the changes that are happening around us and affect the work we do for our clients and their brands. And I always wanted to be as broad as possible in the selection of topics, so we could start from the beginning of our work and, through a logical progression, come to its end point. This means that we always start branding with an analysis of the proper data, putting each brand in a real market situation, getting deep into their main target groups and forming a real story of the brand, which we then send through those channels that are right for the target group. We have always talked, and will talk, about current trends, their influence on brands, their strength, and the necessities when preparing the strategy. When we talk about media strategies we also go into all the nooks and crannies, all the essential details, changes and trends that are current and valid. When we talk about all these things, it is very interesting – as all the analyzes show – that all the countries in the region find it cool to learn what is happening in Slovenia. If the brand managers know and understand the Slovenian market and media scene, it is much easier for them to know what will be tomorrow on the markets of other Adriatic region countries. This is one of the great advantages of our area! To find out more about consumers, brands and media in Slovenia, and compare it with the market situation in another country, today is quite simple. There are data, there are TGIs, there is data exchange. It’s great that we are so well connected and we can really use it to the best possible effect!
Media Marketing: What do DM employees say? What are their reactions?
Mitja Tuškej: Simply put, they are thrilled. I can feel it every time I come to Belgrade and Zagreb, or when I meet or communicate with anyone from our region. And, importantly, it is visible in the pitches we do for our clients.
Media Marketing: At the Academy you work in teams, which allows DM employees from different countries to exchange local experiences and inform each other about local characteristics. How are your experiences?
Mitja Tuškej: Yes, and that fact is very important. With the new knowledge they receive, one of the greatest gifts of the Academy is the connection that it enables between individuals from different countries. When you have to work on a brand or media strategy together, when you have to fight within a team, when you finally get the praise of the “professors “and the applause of all the “students” – it is certainly something unforgettable and creates good mutual relationships. I hear many times that when members of individual teams meet, they still talk about how it was for them, and the job they did at the Academy.
Media Marketing: In 2014, after the days of education you also introduced the Festival day, opening it to your clients and inviting experts from the region and the Europe. Where did the idea to open the Academy to clients and media come from?
Mitja Tuškej: The experience of our internal academy shown us that the interest in knowledge and being in tune with the moment is very great and important for all of us who are in the marketing business. Likewise, the fact is that the world is moving extremely rapidly, affecting the constant changes in consumer thinking, their relationship to brands and their media consumption. Both the clients and the media, and all of us involved in dealing with brands, are thirsty for news, knowing where things are going, what are the trends, and what changes are happening around us and affecting what we do. Within this, the conclusion was quite simple: we need to give our colleagues what they are looking for. Top thinking, ideas and news that eminent experts include in their work. The final part of the Academy offered itself as an excellent solution. The participants are with us, and we finish the Academy with a cherry on top – we give them the best in the world by offering it to our partners as well.
Media Marketing: Last year, for the first time you opened up the academic part to the clients. The same concept, but in a combination of clients and DM employees. How did the clients react, and what was the benefit for them?
Mitja Tuškej: The reactions were similar. They were delighted with the Academy and they left with absolutely positive impressions. The grades they gave to the lecturers prove this. Personally, I was very happy when I saw how good cooperation in teams at workshops was. These were the mixed teams: the guests and our employees. They were extremely well connected, each of them embedded part of themselves into the final work. Again, this has shown how important it is to listen to each other, to share our thinking, our knowledge and our experiences, because that’s the only way that ensures that the final result, which is the only important thing, will be the best.
Media Marketing: What is this year’s concept based on, and who will be participants in the program? You are trying to stop the time for a minute, because changes are taking place at lightning pace.
Mitja Tuškej: The foundation of this year’s concept is again the principle in which we learn methodologies and give new theoretical knowledge, combine them with excellent examples and on these grounds we work to solve a particular marketing problem. You said it well, “stop the time in the age of lightning fast changes.” It is my sincere belief that this is the point of modern branding or marketing. We need to have the knowledge, methodologies and data that give us the power to stop the frightening pace of changes, to get to know them, to go in depth into what’s happening on the market in the relationship between the brand and the consumer, and smartly transfer it into the strategy – starting from the brand strategy and concluding with the media strategy. Since the former and the latter are very important to the success of any company, we focus on both through two modules. The Branding module will be led by me, and the Media module will be led by my dear colleague Marija Matić, one of the leading media experts in the region. Why two modules? It has been shown in practice that in our business we are still talking about the specializations in our business. And we are trying to capture this in our academy – to satisfy media specialists and give them as much news as possible, and satisfy brand managers in order to do their job better.
I am really looking forward to the meeting with the participants, and I cant wait to see and hear their works in the end!
(More about the Academy at: www.directmediaacademy.com )