The IAA mission is to represent the interests of the profession and promote the role and contribution of regulation and self-regulation. For years, we have been dedicated to drafting documents in the field of self-regulation, such as the Marketing Communications Code and the Creative Pitch Guide. We are currently working on the Media Pitch Guide and I believe that we will have finished the text of this IAA document by the year-end. It is important for us that all these initiatives have an educational purpose, because we believe that in this way, we can best implement international standards. The IAA is an international association and education is one of the most important prerequisites for market development. AcademIAA and the Effie Awards Festival are certainly two of the biggest and most important projects of IAA Serbia.
The third consecutive IAA academy started in September. How satisfied are you with the succeses that AcademIAA has accomplished both in Serbia and the region so far?
– The third AcademIAA validates the fact that we have a programme that brings together more and more diligent and talented students. Selecting candidates for the academy is getting increasingly challenging for us year-on-year. This year, 36 young people enrolled in AcademIAA and every day, they are proving to us that we have made a good choice. I have deliberately mentioned the students first because we are counting on our professors and their expertise anyway. In Serbia, there are many top-notch professionals who want to share their knowledge with young people and are always happy to respond to our call to teach.
Both sides have shown a great enthusiam, so all that we, the organizers, have to do is to give due attention to the rules and insist on the standards that we had set. AcademIAA is successful because it has achieved a good balance between learning, socializing, individual and team work, and young people and somewhat older ones.
In terms of our educational concept, we are still unique in this part of Europe. I am very happy to have foreign lecturers come here and them commending us for „daring“ first to create such an ambitious project and then successfully implement it.
How important is to educate marketing people and how does the work done by AcademIAA measure up in this respect?
– We clearly defined the position of this project from the very beginning. The IAA is an international association and education is one of the most important prerequisites for market development. Since we gather domestic communications experts, who are our members, it was only logical to invite them to be lecturers.
The focus should be on practice, and not theoretical knowledge which is something that universities are unparalled in.
AcademIAA’s Organizing Committee has created a module programme that lists the topics which the lectures must cover, that is, the knowledge and skills that students have to acquire during these three and a half months. We realized immediately that AcademIAA should not be a static, ex catedra concept, but that it must follow the tendencies and the needs of the industry. That’s why, this year, we have added the Innovation module to the existing modules (Business Research, Creatives, Media, Digital and All Stars), which deals with the impact that technology has on our industry. The careers of our students will be a sufficient indicator of how successful AcademIAA has been. I can already picture most of them as future leaders.
What do you consider the IAA’s most successful and ambitious projects lately?
– AcademIAA and the Effie Awards Festival are certainly two of the biggest and most important projects of IAA Serbia. Although, it seems to me that everything that has been happening in-between and parallel with them has contributed to the Serbian branch of the IAA being recognized as an important association both by the professionals here and by the IAA’s global network.
In early October, IAA Global Meeting was held in Bucharest where, in addition to the appointment the new global president (Srinivasan Swamy), we were able to see a cross-section of the activities of all the chapters in the last two years. I can confidently say that we are in no way lagging behind other associations which operate in much more developed markets. Furthermore, IAA Serbia is among the chapters that have the biggest membership and are the most stable. The strength of a professional association is reflected in its membership; namely, in the fact that quality persons/professionals contribute to the development of the profession through this mechanism.
How important is the Letter of Intent, that was signed by market communication associations in September in Rovinj, for your industry?
– If we are talking about the ex-Yugoslav region, a cultural framework is our common denominator and we are more alike than we are different. Considering that IAA Serbia is a part of a global network, I believe that we know what team work means and that we are more than aware of the advantages that such way of operating brings. There have been many instances when experiences from other countries expedited and facilitated overcoming of various challenges.
Simply put, if someone has already experienced what you are going through, they can advise you, tell you what to pay attention to, and what proved to be good and efficient and what not. The Letter of Intent that IAA Serbia signed together with the UEPS (Serbia), HURA (Croatia), SOZ (Slovenia) and MAAm (Macedonia) in a way summarized the topics of common interest – Business Standards – development and promotion of high business standards in all countries in the region, especially given the fact that an increasing number of advertisers has regional presence; Pitch Process – advocating equal standards in organizing pitch(es) based on the best international practices; Ethical Standards – development, promotion and implementation of ethical standards in industry at the regional level, respecting possible cultural and sociological differences; Regulation and Self-regulation – working on improving and unifying the self-regulatory business framework, creating a common platform for action, as well as exchanging guidelines on legal, regulatory and self-regulatory issues and the protection of intellectual property; Cooperation – providing additional value to members of professional associations, promoting existing events organized by the associations, as well as exchange of public documents and guidelines relating to different fields; and Promotion – affirmation of the fundamental values of the communication industry and joint activities of national associations in their respective environments, working on boosting the industry’s reputation.
How satisfied are you with the legislative and self-regulatory framework that regulates relations in this market segment and what do you expect from a new media strategy?
– The IAA has a very clearly defined mission in this segment – advocating the profession’s interests; protecting and developing commercial speech, on one side, and free choice of consumers on the other; promoting the role and contribution of communications as the main driving force behind healthy economies, the development of diverse and independent media in an open society; and regulation and self-regulation, i.e. initiating and providing strong support to the process of defining and implementing self-regulation in the field of communication.
Through its activities, IAA Serbia is trying to contribute to the creation of a regulatory framework (our members were also the members of the Working Group that drafted the Advertising Law), and for years, we have been dedicated to drafting documents in the field of self-regulation, such as the Marketing Communications Code, and the Creative Pitch Guide. We are currently working on the Media Pitch Guide and I believe that we will have finished the text of this IAA document by the year-end. It is important for us that all these initiatives have an educational purpose, because we believe that in this way, we can best implement international standards. The fact remains that there is still a lot of work to be done in this segment but I also believe that certain progress has been made.
The Effie Awards Festival was held in Serbia this year too. What does this mean for the industry and your profession in our country and how important are these awards?
– Effie is an international festival with a decades-long tradition and has a huge impact on the industry on almost all the continents of the world. IAA Serbia has been the license holder for Serbia since 2017 and with two successfully realized competitions, I believe that, as a market, we have proven that we need this kind of competition. Effie awards ideas that have successfully accomplished their tasks and takes into account every form of market communication that has contributed to the success of a brand. The Festival focuses on communication that accomplishes measurable results in achieving and even exceeding marketing goals, which is actually the basis of this industry.
The competition is quite important for Serbia because the marketing profession here stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world. The communication results are measured in an identical way, which means that those who win the award have proven that they had done their job well and efficiently. Effie’s international standard and result measurement are its main advantages over other festivals. Forty-nine papers submitted at this year’s competition send a clear message that the profession has wholeheartedly accepted the Effie Awards. We’re getting ready for the third Effie season. I expect that the competition will be even stronger and more exciting.
The IAA also has the Young Professionals section. Could you tell us about the successes of this section and how interested are young people in it?
– The Young Professionals section was formed in 2011 with the intention of the Association devoting special attention to the development of young people in the industry, which, in a way, is the duty of all of us – to think about the future. I believe this is IAA Serbia’s long-term goal but also one of the most important. Moreover, through the Association, we are trying to convey to them a timely message that if we work together on the development of our profession, we can expect to benefit each individual.
Our Young Professionals bring together talented, smart and valuable young people who have important jobs in their respective companies / agencies, and additionally, are very involved in the IAA projects such as AcademIAA, the Effie Awards, IntegracIAA (YP Annual Conference), mentoring, development of different applications, etc. We should note that joining the YP Section is regulated by the IAA Worldwide and that it entails having references from other Section members, meaning that not everyone can join in.
IAA Worldwide has awarded our Young Professionals for their excellence and contribution to the YP section. We are about to embark on a project that will be implemented by a YP section in Europe for the first time ever. It gives me a great satisfaction to work with young people who are willing to take on a challenge and are very enthusiastic about their work.