McCann Tirana is a part of I & F McCann Grupa, stating they are »XXI century Albanians” who “dropped their grandparents' Turkish coffee for short espressos, but kept their endless and intense conversations.” MM spoke to McCann Tirana's managing director Suela Shtylla about being part of I &F McCann Grupa, how advertising in Albania differs from advertising in other countries in the region and Albanian market.
Would you please introduce yourself and your agency for our readers? What’s your mission? What do you stand for?
I would like to thank Marketing magazin for showing interest in Albanian market and I have to say that I’m very glad to have a chance to talk to portal from Slovenia, since the Golden Drum festival is one of the important events for us. In Portoroz we were the first agency from Albania to receive international advertising award for our project “Respect the living”
McCann Tirana as full service agency is operating in Albania for 9 years and I am proud of our hardworking team for supporting our clients every day in reaching , Albanian consumers. McCann moto “Truth Well Told” for us represents a path in creating communication. Please let me make this as easy and informal as it gets. We understand what the clients asks from us, but we really dig deep ’till we find what the consumers needs and then we put our effort into it, use every network resource and know in which order to create effective communication. Our agency consists of strategists, media planners and buyers, designers, PRs, event managers, producers… Our partners are numerous local and international companies. With some of them we have a long lasting cooperation. And I am proud that I can say that McCann Tirana is one of the leading agencies in Albanian market.
How’s it like to be a part of I & F McCann Grupa? How many people work in Tirana office?
It is thrilling being a part of I&F McCann Grupa and McCann Worldgroup. We feel like we’re an important link to this colossal chain of the advertising world. Advertising market in Albania brings new challenges each day, but the network that we are part of is a big plus in exchanging experiences, learning more, becoming supportive for each other and finding solutions as a big, mature family. In Tirana office there are more than 15 professionals from different backgrounds and I feel lucky for being able to lead that group of people and being responsible for our team’s performance and success.
Do you work with domestic only or with international clients as well?
McCann Tirana cooperates with both international and local clients. Albanian market is growing every day and international business is being established forever more.
For us it is very important to invest a lot of time in education and business community since we are still an emerging market, vast area for improvement still exists and we are glad to see that there is growth of local brands. I see that as an important part for further growth of Albanian market and opportunity for us to show our expertise in brand development.
During this past nine years it was very important to build expertise, reliability and strong team as well as good reputation on our market and we are glad that advertisers see us as one of their top choices for collaboration both in creative, media or digital.
How would you describe advertising landscape in Albania and its biggest challenges?
Advertising panorama in Albania is very complex. If I could describe it with a word, I would say ‘evolving’. Albanian advertising history has started after the ‘90s and during the years it has been struggling to catch up with the quality and the technology of European standards of advertising. There is something new every year and the demand has been growing progressively. Whatever you think that it is too advanced – the Albanian market can accepted and absorb it very quickly. On the other side, Albanian market is not blooming financially and this affects the budget’ for advertising and PR too. In these circumstances, our biggest challenge as an agency is finding creative ways of communication that can match the client’s budgets. Sometimes we need to educate our clients in deeper understanding of consumers and advertising. I believe that this way of cooperation is helping them in valuing advertising more and they can see how our partnership is producing relevant business results.
Is advertising in Albania any different compared to advertising in other countries from the region? Is there anything specific that needs to be taken into consideration?
Not very different. Some tendencies are crystallizing just like everywhere else in the region. Brands are trying to innovate their communication in order to separate themselves from the competition. There are efforts of strategy and tactics in a way in which the campaigns reach people with innovative advertising channels usage, product innovation, as well as digital that are slowly taking over traditional advertising. Brands do not advertise just products anymore, they are trying to solve people’s problems and make their lives better, they try to become part of their emotional world trying to go beyond just advertising some values but also the attitude and philosophy of the brand.
So it’s evolving, but most of the time they don’t succeed. Lack of budget, but mainly luck of genuine great ideas and creativity are main reasons.
What’s your take on this year’s Cannes festival and awarded campaigns?
From what I have observed, the trend in advertising is focusing towards brand experience more than just transmitting an information about a product. What is clear now is that the dividing line between different media is dissipating every day, as we speak. It is impossible to define weather a campaign will be online or outdoor or in traditional media. The media are merging to reach one purpose: to give the client an emotion connected to their brand with the belonging background. The emotional connection is what makes a difference today to create loyalty and belonging to the safe and secure state of mind.
Last question. How would you describe the position of digital in Albania and in the region? At what stage is it?
Digital media in Albania is on the rise. The number of online visitors is rising although it’s still in the beginning phase. Working in an agency for so many years has given me the possibility to observe how digital media is starting to attract clients more and more and becoming important part of communication and growing trend.
Nowadays, Albania counts approximately 1.8 million internet users, most of which are equipped with smartphones. As in the rest of the world, this has forever changed the way how companies engage their consumers.
Albanian companies are showing more interest in creating online campaigns for two main factors: lower costs and immediate feedback. We are constantly investing in digital education bringing the newest standards following the trends in digital communication. I believe that it is not very different in the region and I am sure that we are all growing together in this field.