Within this year’s Forum Izazov, Dimitrije Krnjajski was one of the participants in the panel “We are all media”, which dealt with topics such as: declining trust in information placed by brands in new and traditional media, who is responsible for advertising unethical brands, which is the responsibility of brands when it comes to media and digital literacy. We talked with Dimitrije about his career, the media industry, as well as his participation in the Forum Izazov.
What did the beginning of your career look like?
I remember entering the industry almost by accident, since I am an unsuspecting anthropologist. That first role was Media Planner’s position, which relies mostly on calculation, precision in work and the ability to think logically. At the same time, it is a comic and beautiful coincidence of my life that today, after various operational and administrative positions in communications, I find myself in a place where my first love, the science of culture and cultural creations, is highly applicable.
What does your role in the agency mean?
Primarily, the role of the Regional Strategic Director is to guide New Business and Key Account teams in making strategic solutions in the markets covered by the assigned region. This can be help with annual media strategies for clients, finding answers to specific requirements for the implementation of key campaigns, deeper analysis of target groups or creating case studies during the pitch period. In addition to strategic tasks, my responsibilities also cover analytical ones (monitoring and estimating the development of social and media trends) as well as tasks of an educational nature (work on strategic improvement of individuals within the agency).
What knowledge and skills does someone who deals with media strategy need?
If we talk about predispositions, I think that open people with an affinity for a larger number of different interests have a slight advantage. It is an occupation that requires an essential understanding of the other, so it is easier for people with a wider range of interests to find a common factor and penetrate the thinking and needs of the interest group. Also, a phrase pronounced for a million other occupations, this job will be better done by people who have both a creative spark and a developed analytical apparatus.
What is the situation in the media industry in Serbia and how important is data and knowledge of trends for the business you do?
In Serbia, as in the region, the biggest oscillations in media consumption, as well as the media image of the market, are reflections of the great turmoil that has been happening at the global level in the last few years. The social crisis caused by the consequences of the spread of Covid 19 has in many ways changed the way potential consumers think and act, which for obvious reasons has strongly spilled over into the space where marketing agencies operate. After the first period of shock, in which business representatives put advertising budgets under scrutiny or, in extreme cases, completely “frozen” them, through a period of agile adaptation, we finally came to a situation where we can say that the growth trend returns to pre-start. “New normal”. I am afraid that we will only feel the consequences of the current situation in Ukraine. Understanding such, for life key, social movements and access to exact data that allow us to analyze several relevant factors are the foundations on which the work of anyone who in some way deals with forecasting scenarios, including us communication strategists.
How do you see the basic motto of the panel “Today we are all media”?
To begin with, I would like to underline one of the conclusions of the panel under this name, and that is that we are all media, but that we have always been. What is the real change brought about by the information age is that with the advent of social networks, we have got high-power frequency amplifiers, and that the word of each of us reaches much further. This not only multiplies the sources of almost unverifiable “truths”, but creates space for viral dissemination and incidental modification of information, leaving us to look for grains of truth in the sea of weeds, despite the probability.
Do you think that young people know how to receive the message of a campaign or a brand in the right way in the sea of information? How important is working with influencers in today’s world?
By the nature of things, young people are on the one hand less interested in generic messages, and on the other hand more open to new ideas. What brands and we as partners do is listen to them carefully, recognize their needs and find relevant discourses for them that fit the value systems of the brand in question. It is important to share the message in the right place, so influencers are a very important channel when we talk about the younger population. Of course, there are less fortunate examples of this approach. It has happened that certain brands recognize important territory but do not think enough about how natural the connection is between it and their value system. This kind of action almost always ends in a fiasco because young people are targets very easily and they lose confidence in a brand that does not fulfill its promises.
What is the challenge, and are there big differences in media trends in different markets like SEE?
I am lucky that the SEE region that belongs to my domain is relatively homogeneous when it comes to media image and cultural characteristics. Of course, the extremes will always be visibly different and there are specifics that need to be considered, but we easily manage to set a unique strategic approach at the regional level if it is the client’s need. This approach is especially interesting for businesses that share their internal structure in a similar way.