Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
In the month of May, Sarajevo agency Via Media faced an extraordinary challenge – two major events, in two different fields, with completely different target groups.
One of them was the recently held EBRD business forum in Sarajevo, which alone brought 40 events in three days, which had to be planned and implemented while respecting all the protocol procedures, and the other one is the upcoming Branding Conference where the communications industry will have the opportunity to meet with the latest trends and talk to some of the world’s top lecturers.
The agency has picked up all the prise from partners and participants for the organization of the EBRD, and we have no doubts that the traditionally brilliant Branding Conference will bring similar results. Still, as many in the industry like to say, challenges are opportunities for learning and growth.
So, we asked Vesna Beganović, CEO, Via Media, to share these lessons and experiences with our readers, and give us a hint about what expects us at this year’s Branding Conference in Sarajevo.
MM: When you planned the time slot for this year’s Branding Conference, you had no idea about the EBRD project, so everything overlapped. The EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum was a huge, and very demanding project. You had to cover 40 events in three days. How did it go?
Vesna Beganović: From the decision that we were elected until the first working meeting with the Coordination Board and the EBRD team from London, we had only 4 days. At the time of planning we were still unaware of the size of the event. The meeting with the first team of EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti was a real explosion of information, plans, floor plans, organizational charts, with a brief explanation: “Bosnia and Herzegovina should have started preparations in June 2018, we are now in mid-January 2019. Thank you for accepting the job, let’s do it together.” In addition to the 40 individual events, we also had to do a reception for all participants and a cultural program in Zetra, we managed the preparations for the BH Investment Session, for the Partners program, and the setup of the auxiliary facility. We coordinated, among others, with the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the airport, security agencies, finances, visa team, IT, protocol, investment… and on top of all that we were coordinating the press center and implementing campaigns in 7 countries.
Knowing the complexity, we knew who was the best in the agency for which segment, we set up internal teams, with precise delegation of right people in the right places. The decision-making process was running quickly, but later it turned out that every decision we made was the right one. It also turned out – as was the case countless times before – that I can count on the synergy of knowledge, experience and support that members of the Via Media team are selflessly sharing with each other. In addition, we have selected the best suppliers, for which we knew that they would do the work entrusted to them professionally and responsibly. We had clearly defined internal processes, planning, tracking and reporting tools that took place in real time, 24/7, regardless of the time of day or night. I was only concerned about activities beyond our power, that is, work procedures with institutions which take time and slow down the entire process. Fortunately, everything was accomplished without a single hitch – which was a first for the EBRD team so far.
MM: Apart from demands for knowledge and top organizational skills that events like this demand, they are also an opportunity to learn a lot of new things. EBRD is a client that can certainly teach you a lot. What is the most important experience you got out of it?
Vesna Beganović: Essentially, the most important thing is that we have once again confirmed that the Via Media team is able to organize world-class events because we have met every requirement that they had under the EBRD standards they work by in London. Practically, we have learned a lot about how they function and how to do security aspects of an event that includes presence of a large number of state officials, how the Agency for Coordination of Police Bodies functions, how to organize transport of considerable volume of shipments through airport, how to manage information going to the world media where communication happens 24/7 in real time, how EBRD team prepares live content for social media – the speed of all of it and the manner of production.
MM: Is there someone you would like to praise or thank for support in the organization of such a big project?
Vesna Beganović: For everything that happened first I have to thank my team. They approached every segment of the event professionally, with a great dose of responsibility, but also with the ease of solving all the challenges they faced. I am endlessly proud to see what kind of professionals these young people have grown into. The EBRD team said this was the best organized event outside of London and the youngest team that worked on it in 28 years. In addition to the Via Media team, there were more than a hundred people involved in the realization of this event. Because of their sacrifice and business ethics, I am convinced that our country has the people and the capacity to achieve great success in all fields of social activity.
Of course, we also had a great support from the Coordination Team of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, FIPA and the Foreign Trade Chamber, as well as the Government of the Sarajevo Canton.
I also have to personally thank Haris Mujanović, Elma Kadrić, Dino Kasumović, Dubravko Grubišić, Srđan Dragičević, Ena Radončić, Haris Čavkić, Jelena Medan, Naida Lindov, Mirza Beganović, Mirza Redžić, Aida Merušić, Damir Ruvić, Edin Brčić, Tijana Kolaković, Samir Cacan, Elma Kolar, Haris Saračević, Irfan Avdić, Hana Trokić, Mahira Gojak, Kanita Alić, Mario Grgurević and Aidi Hadžić, our PR who had 2671 pieces of content published in the media, which she wrote herself!
MM: Branding Conference will be held in about ten days. It’s an event that is always eagerly expected. How are the preparations going?
Vesna Beganović: This is the first time I wasn’t intensively involved in monitoring the preparations for the Branding Conference, because I was too occupied with other obligations. The moment I tuned in, I immediately saw I could relax, because the Via Media team had already made sure that all the activities went without a hitch. Although I’m not used to let this process run without me, I can say that I am happy to see that it can. The biggest evidence that everything is right is that many people reacted and secured their registrations in a very short time.
MM: What can we expect from this year’s Branding Conference?
Vesna Beganović: Like every year, a lot! Most important of all, a lot of knowledge based on many years of high level professional experience. The experts that are coming are the best in the industry. The topics that we will deal with this year include marketing strategies, design, sources and means of creativity, business transformation in terms of improvement and sustainability, all in order to offer an answer to the question “How to create a brand that has such a strong and positive impact on its surroundings?”.
So, we will not talk about influence on social networks, but rather about a much more complex concept of influence that rests on the principle of creating a common value between brands and consumers.
MM: Is there someone among the speakers we will listen to in Sarajevo whom you would single out? And are there actually any more free places? If yes, this is your chance to send an invitation to those who are still considering whether to come.
Vesna Beganović: All lecturers at the ninth Branding Conference have their own specific value, so it is very difficult to set someone apart. They are top experts, with numerous awards under their belt, and their business trip led them all over the planet. That is why I say with certainty that we will give you tremendous knowledge and tools to help you start improving your business already the next day.
It will be particularly interesting for me to hear Tino Anđić. He is currently employed as a director of strategy at the largest retail chain in Russia, O’KEY, and he’s originally from our region. This means that he has equal knowledge about both markets, and I’m always interested in that comparative analysis, because I think this is a great way to take experience from good practices, but also to identify our weak points on which we should work more.
If there are still some free seats, there’s certainly only a dozen or so, so it’s best to visit www.branding.ba and save your seat before we close the registration.