Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Vanja Partalo is an Account Manager at the Banja Luka-based Aquarius Agency. She possesses great sensibility in client-agency communication, persistence and diligence in project implementation to the smallest detail. She also has a series of self-realized projects for the agency’s clients behind her. She is the host and editor of the m:agazin TV show, produced for the client m:tel. Those who know her well say that she has a great career in front of her. The thing she likes the most about advertising is the dynamics of it. The thing she loves about Aquarius is that she’s a part of such a strong team. About her accounts, she believes sometimes everything depends on the alignment of the stars on a particular day. Although she loves the camera (and the camera seems to love her), as long as her agency job brings her daily challenges and thrills she is staying put.
Meet Vanja, one very interesting girl.
MEDIA MARKETING: What attracted you to start working in the advertising industry?
Vanja Partalo: The dynamics of it. Well before the end of my studies at the School of Philology, I realized that learning, in itself, became too uniform and that it was not an area in which I could reach my maximum potential. The logical move at that time was a step towards the non-governmental sector. I did exactly that. I became an active member of a student organization, and soon – as people like to say – “a young leader”. I realized that the creative chaos of this kind fits me. Eventually, it all kind of spontaneously led me to the advertising industry. In fact, I just continued to “hop” from one challenge to another. There’s something special about this unpredictability.
MEDIA MARKETING: And what led you to the Aquarius Agency?
Vanja Partalo: I first ventured into the agency waters as a young PR worker. Thanks to older and more experienced colleagues I began to find my feet. After the basics were in place, the time came to hone my skills, and Aquarius, as one of the oldest and most experienced “institutions” of advertising in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was on my wish list. Fortunately, after a few years, this wish was fulfilled.
Aquarius Agency is known as one of the leading full service agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with more than 20 in business, and it’s a privilege to be a part of such strong team. I work with – I can confidently say – the best experts in this field, and, most importantly, I’m happy with the job I do.
MEDIA MARKETING: You lead projects for some of the agency’s biggest clients. With the clients you represent interests of the agency, and in the agency you fight for your clients, striving for the best team, best conditions… How do you solve that “conflict of interests”?
Vanja Partalo: I believe there are no rules. It all depends on the project, the client, the situation, and, who knows, maybe even the alignment of the stars on a particular day. There’s a lot of improvisation involved as you press on. In fact, it happens almost every day. From my point of view, it is important that I can see and clearly distinguish the interests of both sides. If I can recognize them, the solution becomes easier. True, it’s often chaotic, but I believe that everything can be solved with good communication, organization and mutual understanding.
MEDIA MARKETING: They say you are very persistent in project implementation, that you pay attention to detail and that you’re a perfectionist. What does that mean in practice?
Vanja Partalo: It means always thinking ahead. In this race with all the obstacles and risks you always need to be at least one step ahead. It’s impossible to succeed every time, but I make sure that I never trip up twice over the same thing. This little mechanism of mine has worked quite nicely so far.
MEDIA MARKETING: You’re also the editor and TV host in the m:agazin series, which you implement for the agency’s client m:tel. Is it a thing of need, versatility, talent, or something else?
Vanja Partalo: I would say it’s a combination of all of that. This engagement, like most of the others I’ve done, came quite suddenly and I accepted it as an interesting challenge. And, as they say, we ‘clicked’ immediately. After a year of work, we continue with another season of m:agazin – a project that I completely embraced and which has become very dear to me over time, and has a lot of useful and interesting things to offer to the viewers.
MEDIA MARKETING: Were there situations where you questioned yourself whether this is a job for you?
Vanja Partalo: Every day. And the answer is always YES. I actually think it is natural and useful for an individual to soul-search in this way, and often the business pressures require it. However, as long as the results of work are visible, as long as you’re learning and growing, and at the same time feel comfortable in your working environment, the answer, I believe, is always affirmative.
MEDIA MARKETING: What should young leaders learn from their older colleagues and apply in their work?
Vanja Partalo: That the learning process never actually stops. We often forget that and let ourselves drown in a routine and work mechanically, and even those who seem brave, or crazy enough, can prematurely consider themselves as the “finished product”, believing they don’t need any additional learning. Although this work is based upon communication, actually communication is often the missing link.
The experience of older colleagues is in most cases available, we just need to ask from time to time. However, young people are often too proud, they believe too much in themselves, or too little in others. They prefer to do everything by themselves, and generally won’t accept criticism.
MEDIA MARKETING: And what should they definitely discard from that legacy?
Vanja Partalo: Superficiality. A young person has many desires and is impatient to achieve them. Sometimes you it happens that you get ahead of yourself, but it’s healthier and more useful to slow down and carefully overcome every obstacle. We lack patience. I experience that every day. It’s important to be thorough and strengthen yourself and experience a variety of different endeavors – gradually. And I don’t mean only in quantitative sense, but also qualitatively.
MEDIA MARKETING: When we talk about crazy and bold ideas, there’s a general opinion that the communications industry is gripped with fear. Agencies are afraid of losing a client, clients are afraid of losing business. How to overcome this fear, and how much can you, young people, contribute to overcome this situation?
Vanja Partalo: I guess it’s that – generally speaking – ubiquitous fear of that which is different, and the tendency towards a simpler and safer choice. Young people, luckily, and especially in our region, have unique and special ideas. In my experience, no idea is stupid, and it’s often the fear that prevents young people from giving their maximum. We are very hesitant.
Sometimes it is simply necessary to package an idea better in order to give it a visible benefit for the client, the general public, and therefore for the agency. And I believe that every good and well-realized idea always serves as a trigger for a few more good ones. That’s why each of them is extremely important for the entire industry.
MEDIA MARKETING: What advice would you give to your peers – to join you in this industry, or try to find a better job?
Vanja Partalo: My advice would be that everyone should do the thing they love, wherever they find themselves. However, the reality can be, unfortunately, quite different. A job of this kind requires a lot of skills, desire to learn and nerves of steel, but also delivers a lot of personal satisfaction. Try it out, why not. I’m all for trying.
MEDIA MARKETING: Do you see yourself remaining with a communications agency, or as a TV editor and host?
Vanja Partalo: I see the job of TV editor/host as a field I have already explored and which I maintain with pleasure. Still, the agency job – especially in an agency as complex as Aquarius – brings new conundrums and riddles on a daily basis, so for the time being I clearly see myself staying put.