Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Vuk Tomić is the Account Manager of the New Moment PR Agency and from this position he manages some of the agency’s largest clients. When you read this text, you will have a more complete picture about an extremely versatile and talented guy, who selflessly shares his energy with his colleagues at work and with children who come to his house every year at the end of December, to indulge in candy and watch the festive New Year’s lights spark to life. In the year that speeds through in between the two illuminations, Vuk gives his best at work daily. He dances and sings in Serbia’s first gospel choir with which he travels and and takes part in TV shows. He’s the Wolf (Vuk means wolf in Serbian) from the house where Santa Claus lives!
MEDIA MARKETING: You are in PR because you have to do something, or because you love this job?
Vuk Tomić: I came into PR quite accidentally, before the end of the management studies at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences. I came to gain compulsory practice and got to know the job I’ve been learning about for a long time. After a few months had gone by I realized that this job was extremely interesting, although before I couldn’t imagine myself in an office. After these first few mandatory months, I wondered what would it be like if I stayed there a little longer – there was much more to be learned. And then I realized that I love this job. I found myself completely absorbed by it, and I had a constant burning desire to learn and achieve even more. This was a lasting process, and an extremely fun one – an ideal blend of what I had learned so far and everything that a job in PR carries, and which I still had to learn. I became more involved, I asked more questions, got the opportunities to show what I know and how I think. Everything went great. This is a kind of job that, in my opinion, isn’t to be done just for the sake of having a job. PR needs to be felt with your whole being, and only those who approach it in that way can become professionals and go beyond from what is expected. Communication is a business to which everyone gives their personal stamp – here you can clearly see someone’s personal charisma, general education, the style of communication in general, and all that is infused in the message we send – to each other, to our clients and colleagues as well as to the general public.
MEDIA MARKETING: Why PR? What attracted you to it?
Vuk Tomić: I am completely absorbed by the energy, dynamics and diversity of work within the New Moment PR team. The feeling of how much we achieve together, how many projects are constantly ongoing, how much creative thinking and how many creative people are involved in the process of finding the most varied ways of disseminating information about our customers and their brands, for me all of that is fantastic. Communication has always been inherent to the human being, from the day we were born we start communicating in a variety of ways. PR is a profession that brings communication to the level of professionalism and planned creation of content for each message being sent, and for each media event held. People are often unaware of the importance of high-quality communication, but, as every profession and activity in life requires professionals in its field, so it is also true for the communications industry. This is an extremely passionate job that leaves nobody indifferent if they try it professionally. Still, in spite of all the positive aspects, we must admit that our work is extremely intense and often very difficult. Of course, I think its best part is in the fact that creativity in communication can really alter people’s thinking– it can leave a strong impression, change the laws and push boundaries.
MEDIA MARKETING: New Moment PR was declared the Best PR Agency in Serbia for 2017 by DSOJ. People say that you are an unavoidable link in the chain of success of the agency. Why is it that your colleagues say this about your work?
Vuk Tomić: Every one of us contributes to the success of the team and the agency in our own way. This combination of different characters, styles of communication, and views on the creative and professional aspect of our business make the perfect ingredients for a powerful PR machine that can do a lot. And a lot is achieved thanks to everyone’s individuality, dedication to work, and approach to solving the most complex tasks. I think my qualities have, over the years, experienced significant expansion here, and the deficiencies have been successfully reshaped through the process of learning through each new project. Probably that’s where the colleagues’ view of me stems from, which, I must admit, makes me proud. Communication has always been intrinsic to me. I always liked to be involved in organizing, creating fun content, being a spokesman, and someone who always has an idea. And then I became part of a team in which individuality is extremely valued and is very welcome. When all that is mixed with people who think in a similar way, within a company that is recognized by its creativity and breadth of view of the world of communications, then it is inevitable that you become a link in an exceptional chain of success in which awards just pile up, and where limits don’t exist.
MEDIA MARKETING: How is the situation with PR in Serbia? Is it given its rightful place in the communications industry?
Vuk Tomić: I have often heard the stories of my senior colleagues who had once sent press releases by fax, in the time when the communications industry in Serbia was in its infancy and when it was boldly pressing forward, strongly keeping to its basic principles. Since then, things have changed a lot. Communication in Serbia is reaching becoming one the most desirable and sought-after professions in the labor market, and the companies are understanding more and more its significance and power. There is still a lot of room and need for improvement and for conquering some new niches, as the world is rapidly changing. Communication, in accordance with these changes, has to go forward and constantly look for new ways to survive and to emerge to the forefront of budget planning. This is often not the case, so when a campaign sparks the public’s attention, then the bulbs with “PR” written on them light up, serving as a reminder that proper and planned communication should be paid much more attention to and be given a chance to make that lightbulb say “Success” from the very beginning.
MEDIA MARKETING: Which PR campaign gave you a special challenge? Which one do you remember most fondly?
Vuk Tomić: I must admit that every campaign has its own challenges. No matter how simple and ordinary something might seem. In our work, we meet with various companies, people, clients, cultures, associates and suppliers, and we are the conductor that creates order to produce excellent results for all involved parties. However, here I would like to mention the Huawei’s Be Present campaign, which was realized last year, and for which we won one of the DSOJ Awards.
Namely, with this campaign, Huawei invited people around the world to leave their mobile phones aside during New Year’s holidays and dedicate themselves to the people close to them. It was a pretty bold move for one of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers, but the essence of the campaign had a very human touch, and that’s what makes the impression and makes a difference. The video spot spread through social networks, and responses to this initiative , or rather comments on social networks, were a tool for raising funds for the Be Humane Foundation (Budi human). We have drawn the attention of the general public, making them realize that they should dedicate at least some of their time to the people they care about, while doing the noble thing for those who really need help. Additionally, a special flare in my work comes from the art exhibitions that we regularly organize in the New Moment Gallery and with which New Moment stands out from other PR agencies. Thanks to this, I often have the opportunity to be surrounded by extremely important artworks and great artists of today. I will forever remember the exhibition of the artistic duo the Connor Brothers and collaboration on this project with one of the artists behind that name, who, thanks to their art, succeeded in completely turning around their lives. This was a really interesting story, and for me it was a great satisfaction to have had the opportunity to share it with a wider audience.
MEDIA MARKETING: What should young leaders learn from their older colleagues and apply in their work?
Vuk Tomić: From my business practice so far I realized that from senior colleagues we can always adopt basic business ethics and culture. Their life experience and acquired business wisdom are something that every young leader should respect and hold as a role model in their professional growth and development. I believe that the unwavering enthusiasm of young people, and the experience of older colleagues, is an ideal combination for the development of a system in which they work and function together. It is certain that we can look up to them when it comes to focusing on the goal, developing personal integrity and attitude as the most important determinants for gaining self-respect and respect for the environment. Realizing personal goals and contemplating one’s own virtues and flaws are, to a large extent, facilitated when we have some older colleague next to us, willing to counsel and guide us – someone who will teach us that things simply go their own way and how to give our best to achieve our greatest successes. Everyday we learn to deal with various situations, and here the experience of our older colleagues is more valuable than gold, and thanks to it, we move forward.
MEDIA MARKETING: And what should they drop?
Vuk Tomić: We are a part of a constantly changing industry, and we need to be extremely flexible. Traditional methods sometimes don’t yield results and it is necessary to plan a few steps in advance, to overcome various barriers and be creative, resourceful and quick, bold and brazen. Everything should be given a human touch, no matter how serious and challenging a specific task is. Instead of rejecting someone’s lessons and legacy, I would rather call it mutual learning where young leaders adopt the knowledge of their senior colleagues, but also older colleagues open up their world for some new lessons. A fair balance in this relationship always gives the best results.
MEDIA MARKETING: What advice would you give to your peers, to join you this industry or to try to find a better job?
Vuk Tomić: I would definitely recommend my peers to join this industry, and since I’m part of it myself, that would be the only honest thing to say. It should be borne in mind that this is not a job for everyone, but to me it has brought a lot of different experiences, the ability to express my creativity, to understand how things and situations look like when you are on the other side, what is necessary for a brand to live and be visible, as well as encounters with various fantastic individuals. In everything we do, we need to strive to be the best possible version of ourselves, and that can only be achieved with complete dedication and a serious focus on what we are doing. Everyone needs to be prepared for that, because this is a very turbulent industry and to give your best is always the greatest challenge. For me, it’s a priceless feeling when some event or project we have been working on for a long time ends successfully, and becomes yet another step on the road to success. Resolving various situations on the spot, creating great stories from a multitude of small steps, and even the tension in the whole process, are something that gives dynamics, intensity, adrenaline and undeniably ties you to the work in the PR profession. And when the awards come, as an official testimony of a successful and well-done job, you realize that all the effort was really worth that feeling of pride that it brings.
MEDIA MARKETING: How do you see the future of PR within the communications industry? Will it move completely to the digital media, or…?
Vuk Tomić: Our business is inextricably linked with the media industry, whatever its current form. The great diversity of the public is something that we always have to keep in mind, because, regardless of how much digital media are represented, and regardless of their primacy in today’s communication, the living word and the written thought can never go out of fashion. PR is everywhere around us and constantly takes on new forms. It transforms into different forms of expression and new ways of informing, but the essence is always the same – communication needs to be addressed seriously and treated with respect. Its main medium will always be the human being, and its strongest instruments will always be passion, truth and professionalism. We, as PR professionals, are here to create the best possible content from these ingredients, both for our colleagues journalists and for our clients.
MEDIA MARKETING: You are also known as the creator of the “House where Santa Claus lives”. Since you were 17, you have decorated your house for New Year’s Eve, so for an entire decade now it is considered the best decorated house in Belgrade. Have you already started devising the decorations for the upcoming New Year?
Vuk Tomić: I can say that Santa Clause’s House is my biggest personal achievement – a project I have been developing for 20 years. I first held New Year’s bulbs in my hands when I was only nine years old, and they have fascinated and inspired me to create a magical ambiance in my family home during New Year’s Eve. I continued to build my collection of light bulbs and in 2005 the city of Belgrade announced a competition for the best decorated house in the city. Until then, I had already developed a lot of skills in this industry, so I applied, and after a while I received a call and notice that I won the main prize of the competition. Then came a solemn reception and award ceremony at the City Assembly, which encouraged me to continue to develop this hobby. Then I came up with the idea of arranging a festive event of turning on the lights and my closest friends, family and neighbors gathered there. Dad prepared boiled schnapps, and so the Festive Turning on of the New Year’s Lights was born. Over the years it expanded, the media became interested in the story, and my dreams grew. Today, my family house is known as the House in which Santa Claus lives, and the Festive Turning on of New Year’s Lights is an event that brings together thousands of curious citizens each year. It’s a night with a rich entertainment program, a choir, dance performances and vocal soloists, and the switching on of the lights. Numerous companies provide free sweets for children, all the media follow the story about the fairy tale house, which even became synonymous with the start of the holiday season in Belgrade. This year, 11 years later, the city of Belgrade again announced the same contest, and I had the difficult task to defend the title of the best decorated house in Belgrade, but I am extremely proud of the fact that I have succeeded in this and retained this wonderful award. This project has taught me that dreams really can come true, that when you love something with all your heart, and devote to it completely, when you work without excuses day and night, under extremely low temperatures, rain and snow, good results are guaranteed. In addition to the hard work, the sincerity in communication, the truth and passion for what I do, and a firm belief in one great dream, played a great role here. Hundreds of children gather in front of my lit up house every year. They listen to their parents with sparkle in their eyes while they explain to them that “inside, behind that window, Santa Claus is sleeping”. It’s an incredible feeling to know that something that you are doing affects people’s lives and gives the spark of joy to a large number of children and adults. I’m constantly thinking about decorations for my house, because it’s a growing challenge every year – to delight myself with a completely new decoration, and then hundreds of people who have been following my work for years. For this year I have prepared something quite new and I am very eager to make it all happen, and share it with all the citizens of Belgrade, Serbia and the region. Also, after years of doing new-year decorations, this year I will start my own small business in this industry, which will give my hobby a whole new dimension.
MEDIA MARKETING: Do you have enough free time, and how do you spend it?
Vuk Tomić: Free time is a term that I am familiar with, as I have always had a large number of hobbies and interests that filled days. I’ve been dancing for a long time, I’ve graduated from lower music school, I danced in folklore groups, so lack of free time has become completely normal for me. Yet, I really enjoy all this, and simply don’t know how to function differently. For a few years I’ve been singing in a choir – the first Serbian gospel choir – and this is one of my great interests. I also work promoting the choir. We have a large number of performances throughout the year, and TV appearances as well, so this is another important part of my life to which I am very dedicated. I think a person can really achieve a lot when they are focused, dedicated, passionate in what they do and honest about it. Many times I was tired, barely achieving anything I planned, missing parties, but I have always succeeded in everything I imagined, and I always found time for friends and family. I have three older sisters, each having two kids, so it’s a sort of challenge for me. It’s really great to be a six-time uncle, and besides all my hobbies, occupations and interests, that is the role I’m especially proud of.