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Milena Banović, M2Communications: „Creative hub and meeting point for great ideas”

 

Advertiser Serbia interview:

MILENA BANOVIĆ, Managing Partner of M2Communications agency: “We wish to be a creative hub, a meeting point for great ideas, talented people and high quality business partners!“

M2Communications is well-known for its unique method of brand advertizing, similar to that of global advertizing agencies and productions. The interview with Milena Banović, the Co-founder and Director of M2Communications, focuses on the agency’s method of operation in line with global advertizing standards, as well as on finding inspiration for giving a creative touch to every project.

Milena Banović gave the interview to Nenad Danilović, editor-in-chief of Advertiser Serbia

 

  1. Events organized by your agency can simply be depicted as spectacular... you obviously have a unique, tailor-made approach to your clients. Can you describe the work process that leads to achievement of high-quality results?

 

We use two separate processes in every project that we do: one is creative design and the other is implementation. The first process, which results in a unique solution, comprises three phases: fact-finding, brainstorming for ideas, and concept design.

In the fact-finding phase, we study a brand or a company in question and familiarize ourselves with its background, performance, market position and current activities. Since we are mostly working with international companies and brands, our research often focuses on the country of origin, its history, culture, art, tradition, current developments, etc. Together with our client, we try to define expectations and share experiences in order to fully understand the assignment. This is essential - our starting point that enables us to work in partnership with our client throughout the process. Hence, we make sure to use this phase to clearly explain all options to the client and what they can expect as a final product.

Defining the assignment is to us just a beginning of this phase, because it is only then that we start looking for interesting or less known information which will take us to authentic solutions. An example of this is an event we organized at Porto Montenegro, whose theme was the Carnival of Venice. We had studied the history of the famous carnival, the impact of Commedia dell’arte, types of masks and their symbolism, in order to get a better insight into one of the world’s most colourful and most legendary events. This research was used as a basis for our creative concept development.

Phase two is brainstorming for ideas. Ideas are often generated as a result of prior knowledge, comprehensive analysis of our environment, life experiences, discussions with people we meet, and our impressions of art and trends. Inspiration for ideas is born out of curiosity, learning process and research into all areas of life because creative minds can find inspiration everywhere. We may say that we are living this phase every day because we are constantly focused on creation. We always think creatively regardless of whether we are working on a project or not.

In the concept design phase, the generated set of ideas is developed and translated into viable solutions. This is the main challenge. Guided by inspiration, we often design very interesting concepts that must fit the realistic framework of what we can actually do. This brings us to the final product, which is not only based on our ideas, but is also absolutely feasible. In our work, there must be no difference between ideas and the ability to materialize them, and that is something that our clients highly appreciate.

The implementation phase (planning, production and materialization) is more operational in its nature and functions within a triangle of reliable partners, efficient team and efforts to meet deadlines.

 

  1. You’ve mentioned a pool of reliable partners ... Was it hard to find them given the fact that your clients require very high professional standards, more along the lines of global production standards than those that are used for local promo events?

 

Over the years, we have set up our own pool of associates and now we are working with top class professionals whom we trust and who have trust in our experience and creativity. Mutual cooperation and trust, as well as implementation of projects in a fair and stimulating environment, are the most important things that our business partnerships are based upon. We work with associates who are ready to think outside the box and face challenging tasks that we often give them.

 At a BMW event, for instance, we have used solutions provided by a local company that we cooperate with, which represents a global company supplying lighting solutions for concert tours and spectacular events. M2Communications, as a creative director of this event, has used the lighting equipment in an innovative way and in a totally atypical environment. Suffice it to say that after seeing such an effective performance of their lighting system at the BMW event, the management of the company from the headquarters in Italy decided to single out our work as a best practice example. Although this was a minor event compared to the type of events their equipment is mostly used for, it is still an important example of how we have managed to showcase a new dimension of the application of technical solutions with which we have exceeded the expectations of our client and associates alike.

 

  1. Apart from your standard network of partners who assist you in producing technologically challenging events, you also have extensive cooperation with various artists. How important is this cooperation to you and the artists, respectively?

 

Our profession is probably the best link between art and business. We foster cooperation with a number of local and foreign artists from various creative fields, which is essential in terms of adding value to our projects. We are also focused on young and unestablished artists who are still building their careers, so we include them in our projects to support them and make them more visible. We work with conceptual artists, photographers, musicians, painters, etc. and make sure to couple their talents with our ideas. Our aim is to put those young talented people in the spotlight and help them further develop their creative potential in our local environment.

 

  1. In the modern market environment, the bar is set higher and higher every day in terms of client expectations. Marketing agencies are faced with challenges and assignments that call for a prompt and creative response and efficient solutions ...  How does M2Communications respond to all these challenges posed by increasingly selective and sophisticated customers?

 

Right from the very start, we need to be specific in terms of what we want and what we can achieve. Our strategies and creative solutions are geared towards creating authentic experiences, quality interaction, exclusivity and emotion. Our creative thinking always goes beyond the confines of an assignment even in those cases where the assignment is easy to implement. We make sure to walk the extra mile not only in terms of completing the assignment or using a particular communication tool, but we always strive to integrate as many communication channels as possible: video, social media, digital solutions, etc.

When FCA Serbia asked us to do a preparatory guerilla marketing phase for a big campaign titled “Miracle Night”, it was our idea to tell a story about Fiat’s fairies that would usher in the “Miracle Night” and couple that story with a BTL video production. Thanks to that idea, we were able to wrap classical promotional activities in much more attractive attire. This is how a series of video teasers for the “Miracle Night” was created, which the client later used for its communication via social media.

 

  1. Can you single out some projects that you have implemented this year?

 

This has definitely been a year of Brazil and it is interesting to note that we have used this theme in several projects of ours. In mid-2016 we were commissioned to do a project for the Jaffa Cakes brand, a co-sponsor of the Serbian Olympic team. To mark the national Olympic team’s trip to Brazil, we organized for this client a farewell party for the Olympic team, which was based on two most interesting features of Rio de Janeiro, and managed to re-create the city’s fabulous atmosphere in Belgrade. One feature was a clear association with Rio as a tropical paradise and the other was a lesser known fact about Rio being a street art metropolis. We are very happy to have staged a memorable event for a much loved local brand such as Jaffa Cakes in a tropical Brazilian atmosphere and with big media coverage.

Early last year we were commissioned by Asus to develop a retail campaign for its new gaming laptop computer. This is how the "Mad Scientist’s Laboratory" was born. The theme was a metaphor for an environment in which the first water-cooled laptop was developed. The campaign took place at the "Asus Point", a specialized Asus store. Apart from activation, we took a step further to create a background story based on colourful characters - mad scientist’s team and a plot on creating a secret formula with the latest laptop model code. We can proudly say that over a short period of time and with a minimum budget this campaign has managed to increase the number of visits to the point of sale and assist our client in achieving better results.

 

  1. How do you see your agency and your operations in the future?

 

Growth is certainly among our primary goals. The 20% growth that we had planned for 2016 was achieved as early as in October that year. We are making progress, putting in place innovations with the help of our new associates and through implementation of projects in Serbia, the region and abroad. Apart from business challenges, we wish to be a creative hub, a meeting point for great ideas, talented people, good quality partners and a place where we will share experiences and move the boundaries of our profession together.

 

Source: Advertiser Serbia