Our Head of Marketing, Jaric Karepov, recently visited our offices in Bucharest for an intensive 4 day trip which included a training session for a client and an introductory workshop “Creating Meaningful Connections in Social Media and Beyond” – interactive workshop on inbound marketing, social media and digital practices with selected Marketing and Business professionals in Romania.
While there he had the opportunity to meet with Loredana Sandulescu from Revista Biz where they discussed Digital and the future of Digital Marketing. Here is what they talked about:
1. Tell us about Action Digital. What do you do at Action Digital?
Founded in 2015 by Action Global Communications, Action Digital draws upon over 40 years of public relations experience in the world’s fastest growing regions, with its forward-thinking team of highly skilled digital experts operating across a worldwide network. Delivering a broad spectrum of cutting edge services, they range from high quality bespoke web development and design, to engaging content strategy, and innovative and influential online marketing. As Head of Marketing, I lead the Online Marketing team and Business Development for the agency; this involves identifying new clients and pitching new business opportunities.
2. How do you work with the local team in Bucharest? Which projects have you developed lately?
Our goal is to share our international team’s expertise, knowledge and experience with the local team and to support them on projects that involve digital. It is a two-way street where we exchange our knowledge with the local team, while they provide the local insights and cultural understanding. We wholeheartedly believe in our slogan ‘Global Experience, Local Insights’.
3. What do you know about the Romanian digital market? What do you see different as compared to other countries in the region?
We have spent time looking into the Social Media landscape of Romania; the key mediums and core social platforms where there is a large and engaged audience. I was interested to hear that Twitter is still young in Romania, which I see as an opportunity for local agencies in order to develop business opportunities. Upon my visit and brief talk with some businesses in Bucharest, I came to understand that the majority of companies are still sceptical to embrace Social Media and some digital practises, but the reality that is that businesses that have chosen to embrace digital, seem to be doing really well.
4. What digital trends have you noticed that are exciting at the moment?
If you Google, ‘Digital trends 2016’ right now, I am sure you will find plenty of trends and predictions for the year. I tend to do this pretty often as I like seeing the ongoing variations in opinions and thoughts, as we are in an industry that can change from day to day. I am currently closely following the Mobile trend, where it becomes clear that businesses are now embracing the mobile era with the word ‘responsive’ becoming more and more widespread. Bots seem to be the most talked about topic in the media; it seems as though Chat Bots will step into the spot light the near future and become a commercial product. My personal interest is VR or Virtual Reality, it’s something I cannot get enough of and I truly believe that a huge leap in technology is coming with VR to change our everyday lives. Every once in a while we get these gigantic leaps in technology and we have to be prepared to adapt!
5. Among all countries and cultures you’ve been working, please explain some cultural differences in social media usage.
As a whole, Social Media became a worldwide phenomenon because of its mass appeal, people all round the world share a similar desire to connect and share their news with others. This explains why you will spot the same features in all Social Media such as the Like/Heart which shows appreciation or the Share/Retweet which shows endorsement in such instances Social Media is used in the same way whether you are in Argentina or Germany. The key differences worth mentioning are the types of Social Media used in different countries where we can see that some channels are not as popular as others. Facebook, is still by far the most popular in Europe whereas other countries, like China, have their own popular social networks like Qzone. The other difference is the type of content that people are willing to share and interact with. Individuals in the Middle-East for example, are more conservative with their content and the images they share, whereas the Western countries tend to be very open about their opinions and thoughts and tend to be very outspoken.
6. What is the most frustrating thing about the digital industry today? And conversely, what’s the most exciting?
The most frustrating thing in the digital industry is the most exciting. The volatility of the industry is what makes us follow trends, changes, developments, advancements, it is a full time job just to follow up on these, and sometimes it is difficult to be fully aware of all the changes. That’s why I surround myself with digital innovators to make sure I am up to speed, to offer the best possible advice to clients. This being said, these difficulties are what make our industry so exciting, this fast paced tech world with all its innovations is a great achievement and a challenge for us all.
7. Which recent projects have you particularly loved and why?
We work with various companies and help clients in many industries. Personally, I like working on projects that have an impact on society as a whole, to improve people’s lives. We are currently working on a project called ‘Screen For Life’ in Qatar – a national cancer screening programme set forward by the National Health Strategy – which saw us work together with our local PR team on the ground to develop an integrated communications strategy to spread awareness amongst the Qatari population to get screened for cancer.
8. How you personally keep up to date with new developments, technologies, platforms and how you go about figuring out which will be useful to the brands you work with?
Personally, it’s all about time management, and as I mentioned previously, to surround yourself with likeminded people who do not see being up to date as a task, but are actually keen to invest in the future of digital and learn about everything that is happening in digital on daily basis. But I also have my own favourite ways of keeping up to date, with a personalised Flipboard to provide content based on industry sectors like Search Engines, Websites and Social Media. I am also subscribed to some of the leading professionals in the industry and receive their newsletters. My favourite way of combining free time with work is by using an Interest List on Facebook. I think we are all guilty of endlessly scrolling our Facebook newsfeed every now and then (I certainly know that I do it) so I created a list of all my favourite digital influencers where I see only their content in the newsfeed. It is a great way to skim through content in a relaxed environment.
When it comes to the brands that we work with, we tend to test new innovations, tools and technologies with trials and demos beforehand, to monitor exactly what we can achieve and measure the results. Only once we are happy with the results and we totally understand the appropriate tools, would we offer our long-time clients a test run.
For the original interview click here.