Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Asja Dupanović
Gregor Firbas heads the Digital department of Ljubljana-based agency Futura DDB. He is a digital natural with 10 years of marketing experience. Half of this time he spent working as a marketing manager in the CEE region. Among his references are clients such as Spar, OBI, Volkswagen, McDonald’s, Perutnina Ptuj and Dana. He loves projects focusing on young people and, in his spare time, enjoys playing golf, traveling, cooking…
MM: What led you to start working in an advertising agency?
Gregor Firbas: I started my career in advertising during my studies, working as a freelancer on designing and developing websites for various advertising agencies. Later on, life took me to the client side, where I worked for several years as a marketing manager in a retail business, covering the CEE region. A desire for breadth, the challenges offered by various industries and a wish for a deeper dive into the digital – the field which has always been closest to my heart, led me back to an agency.
MM: Where did you acquire your knowledge of Digital?
Gregor Firbas: There where digital is home… online. When I started, the challenge was to find the right sources of information. Today, however, the resources are virtually endless and the challenge is to find the good and relevant ones. I gained a lot of useful knowledge through the process of work itself. These practical experiences are priceless and come very handy when choosing the channels and points of contact which will have the best effect, among the practically endless possibilities of the digital landscape. Last but not the least, I also had the great fortune to always be surrounded by amazing colleagues, specialists in their fields, from whom I could learn a lot.
MM: You are head of the agency’s Digital department. What does this mean in practical terms? What does your day at work look like?
Gregor Firbas: I am responsible for designing digital strategies, linking brands with consumers through various technologies of the digital landscape. I take care of responsiveness to trends in finding effective points of contact and integrating them into one whole. My days at work are very diverse and depend on the specifics of the current projects. They involve everything from meetings with clients, preparation and implementation of presentations and campaign strategies to project management, internal team meetings, brainstorming and campaign analysis. There is also a great deal of research that I do on new mechanics and approaches to make our projects more interesting to the consumers and effective for our clients. I also take care of the digitization of all internal projects.
MM: The development of digital channels is too fast and unmanageable for many people in the agencies. It did not manage to be faster than you though. How do you deal with constant rapid changes?
Gregor Firbas: Given the scale and the pace of its development, it is impossible for one person to master the whole of digital. The one claiming he can, is either a superhero or lying. Without a good team, this is impossible. You need several specialists who each master their own field, understanding at the same time the whole. What you can do as an individual is have a holistic overview and go deeper vertically where the project requires it – in the area where it makes the most sense. In any case, it is necessary to stay on the surface, monitor trends and try to use them when they are in their beginning. In digital, we face novelties every day – changes are the only constant.
MM: With the advent of smartphones, the attention of people has been reduced to just a few seconds. How can we make the best of those moments?
Gregor Firbas: To the right target group and through the right channels, we need to communicate the right things which interest them. An outstanding creative department is of great help to us here, distinguishing us from the competition and making us interesting, memorable and, consequently, successful in business. In order to achieve this, we must place the consumer in the center of our work, get as much insight as possible, and build our performance around his needs and desires. By doing so, we ensure (longer) attention as we step out of the classical push and switch to the pull marketing, where the consumer is prepared to listen to us for a longer time.
MM: What kind of projects do you most enjoy working on?
Gregor Firbas: I certainly enjoy setting up (effective) digital campaign strategies and designing ecosystems, especially on projects where the client is aware that the user experience is one of the key factors of success. I love working on projects focused on young people, who are one of the most difficult target groups from the advertising point of view. They have a congenial “bullshit radar” and it’s a great challenge to build loyalty with them.
MM: Which of the challenges you face each day are the most important for your further development?
Gregor Firbas: Continuously adapting to changes which are part of the digital DNA. Firstly, because that helps me find a way out of any kind of chaos. On the other hand, in the long run, it’s never good to be too predictable at work.
MM: How do you see the future of advertising?
Gregor Firbas: I think there will be more quality content in the advertising itself, both in terms of communication and production. A data driven approach will no longer be just a buzz word, as it is today. Consumer data, their correct interpretation and the resulting insights will distinguish the successful from the less successful ones; that is, those who will be able to put the consumers at the center of their actions and satisfy their needs, as well as those who will only pretend to be doing so.
The existing channels will survive for quite some time, with minor changes, but new ones will be added, for example, advertising on IOT devices in smart homes and advertising through virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa. This will further increase the complexity of channel selection.
The biggest transformation will be experienced by TV stations and print media. The first ones will have to adapt completely to the modern on demand model. The latter will have to find a way to satisfy both extremes – those who wish to be kept informed by “flash news” and those who are interested in a deepened consumption of specific topics. Advertising will also have to adapt to these changes.
MM: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Gregor Firbas: I relax in the nature. When the time allows, I like to go play golf. During my travels, I discover the hidden corners of our country and the world, those not yet flooded with tourists. I also love creating in the kitchen and enjoying good food and wine; I have long wanted to take on the WSET certification.