Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Nina Išek Međugorac is Director of Corporate Communications of Croatian Telecom. She graduated from the Faculty of Economics and was among the first who got a master’s degree in Public Relations. On the road to the top position of corporate communications of Croatian Telecom, she gained experience in Madison Consulting and Manjgura agencies, as well as on numerous projects where she worked as a consultant for numerous clients. It is rare to meet a person in the communications industry who is almost equally committed to communication with the internal and external publics. She says that there can be no good communication with HT’s customers on the market if employees in the company are not informed, motivated and trained to be its ambassadors in the public. That said, she is not inclined to rushed, one-off campaigns. She encapsulates every idea into a comprehensive project and then insists on its long-term implementation. Only in this way you can achieve the results that the Croatian Telecom achieves today.
Media Marketing: You graduated from the Faculty of Economics, and were among the first to get the master’s degree in PR in Croatia. Economy and PR? A good, but not quite usual combination. Why PR?
Nina Išek Međugorac: Math, stats and logic were my favorite subjects in high school. After MIOC, economy was but a compromise, since at that time I considered FER my natural environment. But then love happened! Economy has opened up a world for me in which I’ve honed the skill of solving problems through a wider context and has sharpened my mind. I learned to look at different scenarios that lead to a unique result. The more I learned about life and people, the more my thoughts and words have changed the world around me more successfully. And so the perfect mathematical order where 2+2=4, replaced the love for a kind of chaos in which individual interests, emotions and passions are part of the problem, but also of the road in which the problem can be solved. PR discipline has perfectly rounded up both worlds and has opened up great space for exploration and everyday challenges.
Media Marketing: Since the very first day in this profession you started dealing with research, and relied heavily in your projects on their results. You only believe in the results of communication projects?
Nina Išek Međugorac: Result is my personal motivation. From the beginning of my career I test different approaches and tools and I am measuring my work. At the same time I diligently collect research that helps me in creating and carrying out the activities so I can achieve the desired reaction. I consider it important because it directs me to excellence and new knowledge. After such long-standing practices and numerous analyses, your guts and intuition enhance, which is especially important in situations where quick decisions and solutions are needed. I lead the Corporate Communications Department, which regularly monitors and analyses its results on a daily basis, and regularly reports to the Department of Media Effects, but it also monitors also the final outcomes of our activities. We like to test the media scene, new tools and formats. In these two years I can say that we have become experts in recognizing good communication opportunities in the market. I am very proud of my team.
Media Marketing: You have built your reputation in communications as a consultant at Madison Consulting and Manjgura agencies, but in 2015 you switched to client side, embracing the challenges of the position of head of corporate communications for Croatian Telecom. What attracted you the most? New challenges, desire to work client side, telecom industry, or a very enticing job?
Nina Išek Međugorac: There are many reasons, and most of them are in the category of “challenges”. In these two years, the number of strategic projects behind us confirms how much the telecom industry is dynamic. Croatian Telekom is at the end of a demanding transformation process – we’re a modern company that is entering a new phase of growth. The market is consolidating. With the acquisition of Montenegro Telecom we have become a regional player. We opened new sources of revenue and lead the process of digital transformation for Croatia. We are helping Croatia prepare for the coming wave of new tech. Corporate communication management plays an important role in all these processes and is part of the ultimate success. The greatest value of coming to the post of Director of Corporate Communications is the opportunity to participate in company activities that directly affect the economic growth and development of the company. Croatian Telecom has a significant role in this development.
Media Marketing: Working as a consultant for numerous agency clients you have acquired rich practical experience in all areas of managing public relations: strategic communication management, crisis communication, internal communication, strategic and communication management of foreign investments, digital media and social networks, strategic communication in politics and campaigns, media relations… What was the most comfortable for you? What suits you the most?
Nina Išek Međugorac: All areas are extremely important for the development of a communications expert. Unfortunately, still a small number of them have the opportunity to gain practical experience in all areas and this is one of the reasons why we are chronically lacking excellence in the market.
PR is a multidisciplinary activity and it is important to respect that fact. Personally, I wouldn’t choose any one narrow specialization, because I have the feeling that I would then stop growing. Mentors also have an extremely important role in career development. The choice of agencies I worked in was closely related to people, who were examples of experts who will find the best solution in any situation. You can only acquire such knowledge and experience only if you experience about one hundred situations from each different area. Also, work at Croatian Telecom opens up a great space for learning about new business areas. One of them is the Management of user experience within which I launched the internal Magenta1 project for employees. Research has shown us that employees do not use and don’t know the services the company offers on the market and therefore don’t recommend them. With the new service for employees, in a very short time, over 2000 employees began using premium HT services and are our ambassadors today.
Media Marketing: You have a saying: “Excellence is in the content we deliver!” Quality of content is today the Achilles’ heel of PR. I say that from my own editorial experience – very poor quality of content that is sent today from the agencies mostly by juniors. What is your opinion on that?
Nina Išek Međugorac: Content is the most valuable asset we have in PR. Sometimes I’m surprised how little attention is devoted to it. I often tell my team if the content won’t make the desired change, it’s a waste of time. Why is it particularly important today? There has been a big change over the last ten years, new digital channels have ensured the PR that there is no mediator between us and the user. This is a great opportunity for our industry, but only if we are excellent. If we understand the stakeholders we are addressing and the content they are asking for. Of course, the opportunity is as big as the challenge, the results are visible and depend only on us.
Media Marketing: Over the last two years you have implemented a couple of quite big projects. Let’s start with the GenerationNext.
Nina Išek Međugorac: I’m aware of the magnitude and the impact our company has on society. This is the point I start from when defining every activity through which the company can contribute to the development of our society. GenerationNext is a platform that celebrates “excellence” through initiatives that transform society and encourage the economy. Croatian Telecom is focused on the generation of young people with whom and for whom we are preparing the whole society for a new wave of technological change. We support their innovative projects that use the new technology and change the society for the better. GenerationNext also represents a number of social initiatives which raise important topics – such as security on the internet – to a higher level. We have gathered all the relevant stakeholders and launched a broad social initiative aimed at creating safe internet communication environment and incorporating it into the educational curriculum.
Media Marketing: STEM revolution?
Nina Išek Međugorac: I am really proud that we are the first company that launched the STEM revolution in Croatia. Our donation contest is entirely aimed at talented young people who want to develop in the STEM field. With the miracle of technology, we want to motivate and stimulate young people to take advantage of the potential that sleeps in each of them, to achieve success in future careers. The testimonials that we are doing good work come everyday, and I’m particularly happy when the “little” STEMers discover great things. Recently, the Observatory Višnjan received the recognition from the Center for Small Bodies of the International Astronomical Union for the discovery of ten new asteroids in the solar system. Asteroids have been noticed by students and mentors of the Višnjan School of Astronomy as part of the donation program of HT, and that’s why I feel that we share the success of this discovery.
Media Marketing: MAGENTA 1 B2B RUN is a race whose preparations and implementation we regularly cover on our portal, supporting its mission and the values it has for the employees participating in it. The race was launched in 2015 at Zagreb’s Maksimir, and each year it grows in terms of participants, and is spreading to more and more cities. What does this project mean for HT, and where are the limits? What is your vision for the years to come?
Nina Išek Međugorac: Over the last four years of the company’s transformation, the internal communication has confirmed its significant role. An environment in which the ultimate goal is an informed, satisfied and motivated employee was not always easy to achieve. MAGENTA 1 B2B RUN is one example of how persistent and ultimately successful we are in creating an environment in which employees are company ambassadors. In three years we have activated almost 2/3 of our employees and raised the business community to its feet – literally! This race is a place where even the greatest market competitors support each other, and where the head of the board and the trainee run side by side. Doing sports is a proven method to improve productivity and satisfaction within corporate culture, employees are in shape, they get rid of stress and strengthen team spirit.
Media Marketing: From the vantage point of a director of Corporate Communications at HT, you have an excellent insight into Croatian communication industry. What is the situation like?
Nina Išek Međugorac: The industry has been developing over the last decade, but not enough. I’m not satisfied with the level of knowledge and skills available at the moment. Unfortunately, neither agencies nor experts are looking for excellence in their work, nor is their work transparently evaluated. Such a situation slows the development of the industry. On the other hand, opportunities for development are great. For the first time in history, we can independently manage our content and show how a single move or sentence can make a difference and help achieve goals. This freedom allows us to try different practices and discard those that don’t work, sometimes even in real-time. New knowledge about social networks, apps and technology that comes are the knowledge without which we cannot go forward. They belong first and foremost to our industry and they dictate where our position will be in relation to marketing and online. For this to happen, we need to work on improvements in the field of evaluation, education, strengthening of our role and position in the market and budgets. It annoys me when individuals belittle the value of a project because of the large budget being invested in it. We should not be ashamed to ask for bigger budgets for our activities. Why not enable quality content to a larger number of targeted users and achieve better results?
Media Marketing: We are on the verge of 2018. What are your plans? How will HT surprise its users and communications industry in Croatia next year?
Nina Išek Međugorac: This year has considerably raised the expectations bar. In 2017, HT achieved strong business results and recorded the growth of all key indicators for the third year in a row. This year was particularly important because of the regional expansion of HT and the opportunity to export our people’s knowledge and good practice from Croatia. As the largest private investor in Croatia, we will continue investing primarily in quality communication infrastructure and new products and services that we offer our customers first on the market. This is necessary for the competitiveness and development of the country. High data traffic growth, networking, business transparency, and IoT will soon become standard. One example is our investment in the development of smart cities, for which we are recognized throughout Europe. Such solutions ensure Croatia’s position in the global digital economy, for which, along with quality infrastructure, we need smart people. That is why HT invests in a new generation of young people and experts, with a focus on STEM skills. Along with scholarships, we open up jobs and provide opportunities for working in an international environment. Finally, I can only announce that from the HT Corporate Communications Office you can expect practice from which you will be able to learn something new.
Media Marketing: Your wishes for 2018?
Nina Išek Međugorac: I am modest in my wishes, and they are always focused on my family and friends who are my stability and strength. With that peace and happiness, I have a lot of strength to try to change the world and do the job I love.