Jovan Stojanović, Managing Director at Direct Media Serbia: Only Excellent is Good Enough

Communications industry is known for changing at a fast pace – you either keep up with trends or you don’t exist. We chose an even more ambitious path – to set trends in the market.


Only change is a constant and when I look back from this distance, I see that Direct Media has changed throughout this fifteen years. Many things are not the same as in 2001 when the agency was established, but I am convinced that our reputation of a system that transforms the client’s budget into efficient media campaigns with visible and measurable effect, has remained the same. Apart from long lasting relations with our clients, as one of our successes I see the fact that people who come to work in Direct Media stay here and to our great pleasure, young leaders’ desire to work with us is proportionate to the percent of employee retention in our system. That is what every employer desires – to create a healthy and professionally motivating environment for its people and I think we have created it. Only then a business can make a difference for its clients and industry. We celebrate our jubilee this year happy and grateful at the same time for being able to make that kind of difference all the way.

Every business goes through some form of transformation, and the communications industry is known for changing at a fast pace – you either keep up with trends or you don’t exist. We chose an even more ambitious path – to set trends in the market, said Jovan Stojanović, Managing Director at Direct Media Serbia.

If you were to describe in a few sentences what contributed to Direct Media’s transformation from a media agency into the leading media system in the region over the 15 years of its existence, what would you say?

I like to say that people are Direct Media’s trademark, and this is indeed true. Our employees have created a system that relies on a culture we perhaps boldly termed a culture of excellence. Knowing that our clients expect no less from us, this enabled us to develop a professional code that is based on competence, trust, constant development of expertise, and responsibility toward the community, our employees, and our partners. Every business goes through some form of transformation, and the communications industry is known for changing at a fast pace – you either keep up with trends or you don’t exist. We chose an even more ambitious path – to set trends in the market. Precisely these global trends demanded that we grow from a media agency into a communications agency, and then to a media system that expanded to eight regional markets, thanks to our people and our service quality. Direct Media possesses a high level of adaptability, but our basic business principles have remained unchanged. This is the key to the success of any system, although some manage in such a transition and others don’t.

To what degree can a local company keep up with the global competition in its approach to innovative methods and tools?

This question can be answered by our clients, who have worked both with us and with our international competitors in these last 15 years. I’m talking mainly about our partners from abroad, which at the same time work in bigger and more developed markets with the largest global agencies. I personally believe that – and I am certain that we have proved this – we are the ones who have the upper hand. Of course, it’s much harder for a local agency because we don’t get tools or analyses on demand, but instead we have to develop them on our own. However, we’re better off for it, because this makes our insight more comprehensive; we acquire expert knowledge of the entire process in detail, and our success tastes much sweeter. We are proud to be self-made. Our network employs the best advertising professionals in the eight markets in which we operate. I am confident that we work on ourselves more than agencies abroad, which I think is simultaneously a great advantage. I am glad to see many new agencies in the advertising industry that are fighting for their place in the market in similar ways. This proves that we have made it.

How high is awareness in the region of the fact that the creative industries represent one of the pillars in creating economic growth and new jobs in the 21st century?

It’s obvious that the potential of the creative industries in these areas is neither sufficiently recognised nor utilised in comparison with other countries in Europe of the world. Companies in the creative industries are developing new ideas and creating new products, services and systems. They tend to be flexible and think outside the box, which is not entirely compatible with this region’s business or, perhaps more, with the mentality of its people. Here, actions and business decisions that are safe and certain are still preferred. The companies that use creative industry services and, consequently, the ones from the creative industries themselves, commonly avoid taking risks, which are a key feature of innovative breakthroughs. We are fortunate enough to be working with clients that see their competitive advantage precisely in such innovative communications, and our shared experiences so far in such projects prove us right, because what we do yields results. We work with many partners, young development companies that also grow themselves through such cooperation, which in turn also brings us certain satisfaction, because in this way we contribute to the development of the entire industry.


What are your goals for the next 15 years?

To be the most successful media system in the region and to remain the first and obvious choice of each of our partners. This is our vision, which repeatedly places new challenges before us, since it maintains the continuity of our ambition to be leaders. This is an industry that changes very quickly, and we want to remain at the very source of its trends and innovations, applying them in meaningful ways, always looking for optimum solutions for our clients, who place their trust in us, not only trivially – through their annual media budgets, but mainly through the longevity of our partnerships. Simply put, we wish to push the limits that we have set for ourselves and we wish to do it so it benefits our clients’ businesses, as well as the industry and society as a whole. We want to be a good corporate citizen, as we have been so far, and support the community whenever we can.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in attaining these goals?

In these 15 years we have learned one important thing: to see every challenge only as an opportunity to grow.

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