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Opinion of the Week – Miro Antić, M2Communications: “Things are much different in the region than in the global arena”

September 21, 2016

M2Communications is an independent communications agency based in Belgrade, Serbia. Describing themselves as “a team of hard-working, creative and committed people who love and truly enjoy their job”, the agency got recognised across the region and internationally for providing “brand experience” and event management. We talked to the agency’s CEO Miro Antić about why they consider themselves very similar to alchemists, the best learning experiences and why event production is a constant challenge.

Miro Antić, M2Communications CEO
Miro Antić, M2Communications CEO

“We are an independent agency that sets standards in the areas of brand experience and event production design,” Miro Antić, who has been working in the marketing industry for almost 20 years, describes M2Communications. Antić began his career in big international companies, such as Bel Pagette, Mobtel (now Telenor) and Daimler Chrysler. Since 2008, he founded several companies in different areas of business yet M2Communications stayed his all time favourite.

In About us section, you state “Just like modern-day alchemists, we make a creative contribution to the process of transforming ideas into original and unique marketing projects.” Let’s discuss the terms creativity and idea. Why do you find them so important? Moreover, what a creative work and a good idea represent to you?

Perhaps our company motto: “All Progress is Based on Idea” best illustrates our approach to creative work and great ideas. Positive changes, from those personal and essential to those of major, historic importance, the ones that have the power to transform the world, have always originated from somebody’s ideas, desire for progress, and determination and readiness to implement them. Being creative is an integral part of my everyday life where my work and private life closely intertwine. Creativity has become our team’s lifestyle. Our mission, as leaders of M2Communications, is to inspire our employees and encourage them to lead creative and exciting lives because personal experiences boost one’s creative nature and contribute to the work of our agency with fresh ideas and quality solutions.

Installation at M"Communications' office
Installation at M”Communications’ office

M2Communications work with domestic and international clients. What was your biggest challenge so far and what did you learn from that experience?

As far as business is concerned, a major challenge is to strengthen our agency’s position on the international market. Our goal is to position ourselves and intensify our presence in Western Europe, the Middle East and Asia through cooperation with our partners and clients.

Looking back, I would say that each project was a new story and a specific challenge, but perhaps I could single out several big events that we have designed for our key accounts in the automotive industry, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

On the occasion of the Mercedes-Benz S Class launch in 2013, we organised one of the most complex events that had ever been designed here in the region. A creative concept that we introduced involved a grandiose set design, special effects, 3D mapping, choreographies, acrobatic performances, casting of actors and performers, costume design and a plethora of other elements. The event was staged at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade. More than 100 people were engaged in the project and the deadline to prepare everything was less than 25 days. Working on this project was a marvellous experience, but what was most important perhaps was the learning experience that no matter how ambitious or complicated a project may seem, one should remain consistent and do one’s best to implement the original idea, because this will ultimately yield excellent results and prove quite rewarding.

Another challenging project was the “Driving Luxury”, which we did last year for the BMW head office in Munich, where we had to comply with high criteria and strict standards of one of the world’s biggest automotive companies. Not only did we succeed in doing so, but we also exceeded our client’s expectations and thus managed to reinforce our position as a reliable partner for the future.

You have been awarded for your work in the past. What’s your take on awards in general? Does it help with getting new clients?

Awards are great as long as they help improve the profession. If they guided by a system of interests and arrangements, then they are pointless. Awards certainly give great satisfaction to agencies and their teams, as a kind of recognition for their hard work and extraordinary performance. But, are they really helpful in implementing new businesses? Well, that is quite relative nowadays. I think that agencies have different experiences, and, frankly speaking, in our case, when it comes to presenting our own agency or projects, awards are just a cherry on top, never an evaluation criteria or something of crucial importance.

It’s interesting you offer “brand experience” on the list of your expertises. It’s obvious that brands promoting products simply isn’t enough anymore, nowadays it’s more about experience and feelings. How far do you think it will go in that regard, in let’s say 5-10 years?

This is a future. Traditional advertising and communications in a digital sphere will apparently be used more often for the purposes of creating a strong and authentic brand experience. Brand experience will have an ever increasing role in a brand-client/consumer relationship, while direct experience will have the strongest impact on consumer decisions and loyalty.

Communication systems with a strong vision are already being geared towards establishing organisations that will focus on brand experience as a key element of future marketing.

Finally, you are also an event management agency. How do you keep up-to-date with event industry changes?

Innovation and the speed of technological development are just about to enable us to implement in practice any idea that we may come up with. There are examples of spectacular events that have truly moved the boundaries both in terms of concept and technology. In the near future, it will be possible to depict and perform live everything that one can do in a movie using special effects or CGI effects. I am talking about the global market, of course.

Event production is a constant challenge, so overcoming constraints in practical implementation of a certain idea or a concept goes with the territory. Things are much different in this region than in the global arena. There are many constraints, not only in terms of budget, but also in terms of clients’ readiness to plan well ahead, their timely decision-making, understanding of the process, expectations, technological and human resources of specialised companies, etc. For instance, major events elsewhere in the world are planned at least six months ahead, while here, an average deadline to design and prepare highly challenging projects seldom exceeds one month ahead of the event.

Global production solutions are getting ever so impressive, but we still have scarce resources to implement them here in this region. On the other hand, when it comes to our creativeness or organisational skills, top international standards are not so impossible to attain.

We keep abreast of the latest international developments in this sphere, following international fairs and shows in the areas of technology, equipment, automotive industry, etc. We are up-to-date with top international productions, learning from best practice examples of how to apply innovative methods and strategies to event production. Our efforts are aimed at making the local event production as appealing as possible, as well as at creating events that are highly special and relevant. We never give up on great ideas and we are doing our best to make headway and move the boundaries with each new project.