Offical blog of Executive Group

Join the digital revolution or perish

The impact of new technologies on the way we communicate and almost every segment of our industry is truly remarkable. From availability of fast internet connections everywhere, the social media phenomenon, explosion of smart phones and tablet devices, to new interactive multimedia technologies and creative approaches in communication towards target audiences everywhere, anywhere and anytime. This fast paced shift is changing the way people think, consume and communicate today and the most global brands have been quick to follow or anticipate, implement and even establish their own trends, in order to capture traffic and reach their audiences.

By the time world economic crisis gained momentum, online communications have already become a global standard and social networks in particular have played a major role in the new media establishment. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have not only provided a powerful tool for marketing and communications professionals but have also enabled ordinary people to become global superstars, organize political revolutions and share the news of natural disasters, all in real time.

 We are all “plugged in”

The impact of internet technologies is obviously immense, stretching across all industries and reaching into every pore of business, social and personal life today. Companies engage online in many different manners and on many different levels but it’s certain to say that today we are all “plugged in”. These new avenues have provided an exciting new playground, empowering brands to establish unique and two-way interaction with consumers more effectively and directly than ever before. This digital paradigm has proven to be very rewarding in many ways for a number of brands that do it properly. However, it has also proven to be somewhat testing for many.

Main challenges are generated by sheer volumes of brands and consumers online, and the clutter that is being produced as a result of it. Huge amount of information noise is being generated by competition and other brands, and on the other we have even larger volumes of information generated by the consumers themselves – the so called user generated content. Key challenges include competition for online share of voice, online image of the brand, measurement of reach and ROI, but also some new ones such as the online crisis communication, conversation monitoring, digital creative and online copy writing.

In line with our strategic and creatively led approach, Executive Group Digital team advises and provides one-stop-shop supports to our clients to successfully navigate these challenges to replicate their leadership from offline world, attain maximum digital value and integrate all this with traditional marketing activities. Regardless of a particular work stream, our objective is to build and manage highly valuable and engaging online ecosystems that will attract users and provide desired context and interaction with our clients’ brands. Social media is certainly a major avenue for online communications and we facilitate engagement with over 500 thousand social media users in the region. Major platforms locally are Facebook, with over 3.2 million users registered in Serbia alone, Twitter, with over 2 million estimated users regionally and over 200 thousand blogs regionally. There is also a sizable amount of local multimedia content on YouTube and on professional network LinkedIn. Executive Group is present on all relevant social media platforms and since launching our new website earlier this year we have integrated them fully in our new web presence. In fact, majority of our web content is generated on our Twitter, Flicker, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or WordPress blog and displayed in real-time on our website in a simple, clear and modern way. This type of integrated approach is something we also carry in our work for our clients ensuring noise minimization and optimal message delivery no matter the topic, target audience or communication avenue.

 Is online presence necessary?

 Yes, it is a must have and not nice to have for quite some time now. Regardless of the industry, companies trailing behind in this new media revolution are not only disadvantaged but at risk of becoming obsolete in this new world that is ruled by communication as much as it is by economy and politics. We are witnessing a major shift not only in the way we communicate and the tools we use to do that but also in consumer sentiments, new communication habits and lifestyle changes being formed out of increasing technology penetration, all closely followed by online ad spend increase in all markets.

Apart from the obvious surge of social media engagement, traditional (TV and especially press) to new media shifts, online advertising increase and constant rise in the use of smart phones, tablets and other digital gadgets, it is important to mention one crucial factor – the human. In the communication space where content is king, user has great influence. The power of a person to express an opinion online, which can virally potentially reach thousands of others, can be a powerful ally or a foe.

The saying “you may not be dealing with the internet but internet can/will/is dealing with you” runs true more than ever before. Together with our clients we successful managed number online crises, minimizing negative viral reach and thus protecting online brand equity. Transparency, authenticity & responsiveness are key elements in this new and specialized field of practice however instant as well as long-term impact is rewarding. All this has been an increasing global trend that has reached our region and had most impact this year with expected increase in the next year – especially due to upcoming national elections. Over the last two years, digital ad spend in Serbia has doubled to more than EUR 8million. Based on our estimates for 2012, we expect this figure to reach EUR 20 million.

On tendencies in 2012 with a vision of a ten-year course of development of online communication.

Creative community management, social sensibility, building and managing brand equity, crisis mitigation, authenticity and responsiveness are some of the key terms when we look towards the projected trends in 2012 and beyond in terms of online communications. Increasingly closer working relationship between traditional communications and digital will be needed in order to provide the best possible solutions for brands. Our focus is on maintaining progress and innovation pace in line with future development of technology. With more than 10 professionals and over 15 clients, Executive Group Digital has been a great success for us this year and we expect it to maintain one of major growth drivers and key pillars of our value proposal. We are also always looking at other potential and exciting startups that will eventually complement our efforts and develop our business in new ways.

Executive Group digital engagement extends to our digital production outsourcing arm Fabrika which was launched in 2010. We draw on quality SEE talent and favorable economics in the region to provide our clients with the competitive edge, significant savings on digital production and world-class quality of deliverables. Our clients are leading marketing agencies and global brands in the UK and Western European. For next year, the plan is to scale up this operation and extend our reach to US and Australia. Benefit of this type of business is not only the export of domestic production output but also the opportunity to work with some of the top global agencies hand in hand, obtain valuable creative and technology know-how and then have the opportunity to implement those new skills and assets in the local markets, driving change and innovation in everything we do. Our vision for the coming years is over a hundred staff in domestic digital production which will be generating world class digital products for the whole world.

Darko Matijašević

Managing Director

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