Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Asja Dupanović
Maja Bajić Rudinac is a Client Service Director at New Moment New Ideas Company BiH. She literally grew up there – got a job at the agency as a student and went through all of the agency departments in the past 15 years. She experienced everything there is to experience in the agency life – even the Cannes Lions. As a member of the international team which created The One Book For Peace, she held as much as five Lions in her hands!
MM: It could be said you grew up in New Moment. You joined the agency as a teenager. Where did the interest to work in an agency come from, and why New Moment?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: Exactly. New Moment turned the girl in her Kickers shoes, with ponytails and hair dyed in two colours, into a woman who doesn’t know of the word impossible. It got me married and taught me how to love your job! Frankly, when I started working at New Moment at the age of 19, my interest was to be the best attorney in the state. I was enrolled in the Law School and passed all the majors for the second year already in the first round of exams. I didn’t know what marketing was, what New Moment was, nor who was Saki. I couldn’t even dream that we would talk about this 15 years later. Now, as I sit here writing the answers to these questions, I’m the happiest person in the world, because New Moment was my choice. New Moment is Saki, New Moment are the people who work wholeheartedly, New Moment is something you live and love!
MM: It was a rocky road to walk from a secretary to an executive director. Along the way, you worked in all of the agency departments. What do you consider the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in all these years of agency life?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: It really was a rocky road, and I could talk a lot about it. I started as a secretary, then moved on to be a PR assistant, later becoming a PR manager dealing with finances too, among other. After that, I decided that Account and the relationship with clients would be something I would love and live. That turned out to be a good decision and I successfully managed large clients, which got me to the position of Client Service Director. The most valuable lesson in my growing up in New Moment is that only people who love their job can be happy people and that our success depends only on ourselves!
Another lesson that I’m still learning is to let things slide sometimes, because when you deal with people who don’t understand what we, or even they, are doing, you can’t explain to them that they’re wrong. Somehow I always try to push for truth and justice. In our business, this is not the smartest thing to do.
MM: Two years ago you were part of an international team behind The One Book. The project won five Cannes Lions in 2017. How did that feel like? How was it to continue living and working after such a great recognition for your work? What changed within you?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: A Lion is something we all covet. You live for a Lion. A Lion is your trophy. A Lion means prestige and the brightest medal in our line of business. I don’t know if I was happier when my colleague from Belgrade invited me to be part of this project, when I saw my name in Cannes next to this project on the shortlist, or when I held the Lion in my hands. It’s really an indescribable feeling – when you get to tell yourself “Bravo! The Lion came to Banja Luka!”
To me, it was a huge satisfaction and a huge gust of wind in my sail. It’s a perfect feeling, because you saw that the work was rewarded, the project was rewarded, the people who gave their best to make it what it is were rewarded. Unfortunately, we live in a country where such success is not appreciated, in a country where the media don’t find this to be any success. They don’t think this is interesting to anyone. We live in a country where your colleagues won’t tell you “great job” but would rather look at you with scorn. This great acknowledgment meant a lot to me personally – it confirmed to me that I am good at what I do. But, unfortunately, for my business path, for our clients, for the colleagues in the industry, for local media, for my future career, it didn’t mean anything.
MM: What does your work day look like?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: Uh! A work day? Is there a day that isn’t a work day? I would answer this question like this… New Moment is my life, my work day is every day. I don’t know what a weekend is, I don’t know what seaside is, or any other holiday without a phone, e-mail etc. I just came back from the winter vacation, which I rescheduled three times because I had a lot of business obligations. And when I finally went, I worked every day. I get up at 7am and the first thing my eyes see is the email, right after the alarm. I finish the day most often around 1am (right now it’s 1.45am) but that doesn’t bother me. Meanwhile, while I work, I manage to do everything I want to do. That is the best part of our work – you can work from Thailand, and you can work whenever and wherever you want.
MM: What should the young leaders learn and adopt from their senior colleagues?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: I think young leaders have to listen to older colleagues. They should and need to hear about the bad side of this business as well, to know how to deal with similar situations. They should listen to their older colleagues when they talk about business ethics, smartest business moves, when to let go, how to act in situations of crisis. They certainly have more business wisdom. This is one of the things that I’m still trying to adopt. They should be listened to! Carefully! They have a lot to tell us, and we need to read between the lines. It’s a great benefit when you have senior colleagues in the company – when you have someone to learn from. I didn’t. If you do, embrace that and ask, ask, ask.
MM: And what should they definitely discard from that legacy?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: I’m somebody who loves to learn, to listen to the stories of older colleagues. I recently had the honour to speak with a colleague who is 65 years old. I learned, listened, adopted so much from that experience. I really don’t think we have to throw anything away. The only thing I believe we should do is talk – we should tell them about the new trends, about how we need to include Digital in our stories, explain that daily newspapers are good but there are other good media channels as well.
If I have to single out one thing I certainly wouldn’t adopt from the older colleagues it’s the manager-employee relationship. I am someone who wants to work with everyone on equal footing, to clean my shoes after a photo shoot, to sit on the steps in the middle of the shooting, in my high heels, and discuss with the director how to reach the best solution, to prepare coffee for myself and for the client, as well as the cleaning lady. I’m someone who wants us all to be equal, and that relationship where someone gives out orders to someone doesn’t sit well with me. We all have to be equal, we must first and foremost be friends and only then we can achieve the common goals, and only then everyone will be smiling and satisfied. No one likes to be bossed around.
MM: When we talk about crazy, brave ideas, there is a general opinion that the communication industry is gripped with fear. Agencies are afraid of losing a client, a client is afraid of losing his/her job. How can we conquer that fear, and how much can you, the young leaders, contribute to getting the industry out of this situation?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: This really has become a “disease of our era” (I had this situation 20 days ago, on both sides). There was never such fear like today – neither in the agencies, nor the client-side. You need to know how to approach the client, give them the arguments why they should pick THAT idea. I always go for the crazy and brave ideas because I know that they draw attention, I know they are talked about, I know they bring success, I know it’s the best way to reach the ultimate goal. What we should not allow in such situations is the correction of slogans related to the idea, corrections of the concept, fonts and the likes, because when an agency – account and creative team, come to this crazy and brave idea – don’t take away or add anything. It’s as if you added salt and pepper to the sweetest cake – it won’t be the same cake anymore.
MM: Research shows that young people today avoid working in advertising. They perceive it as aggressive and misleading. Would you advise them to join the industry, or try to find a better job?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: Perhaps many will be surprised by this answer, but everything that made our industry wonderful has been lost in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Advertising has become a flea market, and the only thing that works is the dumping of prices.
I always advise young people to do what they love, if they have “the stomach for it”, if they are ready to jump into a swamp full of crocodiles and cope with it – If yes, then GO FOR IT! It can be done. I fight every day. I fought that battle today as well!
MM: How do you see the future of advertising?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: Since I’ve been in advertising for 15 years, I was a part of the great changes in budget reallocation. I think that it will increasingly move towards online advertising. The traditional media, at least in Bosnia and Herzegovina, will continue to play a significant role in the media mix. If you ask me, I love guerrilla, I adore new media and direct creative communication with the target group. We will have to do things differently – to devise and design some new formats, because the market is saturated with all the existing ones.
MM: And where do you see yourself in the future?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: I see myself still in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because the country like this, and people such as these, can’t be found anywhere else. I see myself only in the advertising industry, but if some major changes happen and I’m no longer happy, if some other values become more important than the work ethic, then I see myself as a professor, sharing experiences and knowledge with students. I see myself as someone who speaks with them about everything, which is something the vast majority of professors don’t do. If some bad people or situations prevent me from doing what I love, then I see myself at some far away land, an island perhaps, with a camera in my hand, traveling with a camper and a boat, writing a book.
MM: How much free time do you have, and how do you like to spend it?
Maja Bajić Rudinac: Every free moment of my time, when I’m not at work or training, I spend with the people I love, which is primarily my family and, of course, the closest circle of friends. If a possibility of a free weekend appears, I go somewhere in nature. I love rivers, sea, mountains, forests, walks, rollerblades, snowboarding, books, long coffees with myself, in some nice garden, next to a river, or next to a fireplace in the winter.