BalticBest jury member: creative agencies should follow the IT companies

Olga Peresild, one of the jury members of BalticBest 2021 and the CEO of MediaCom Estonia, said whether the works submitted to the competition can be adequately evaluated without knowing the local market context and that the biggest challenge in the advertising market is lack of talents.

Is it possible to adequately evaluate advertising works without knowing the local market context, because in most cases the advertisements work best in the market it is targeted at?!
I quite agree that understanding the local context helps to adequately evaluate and better understand advertising, but let us not forget that books and films are also created in a specific market and cultural space. However, regardless of geographical location, consumers and fans will find good things, because people’s needs and feelings have been taken into account in the process of creating them. The same is true in marketing and advertising – of course it is extremely important to know the local context, but everything is still based on the person. I believe that an experienced and trained eye will notice effective advertising solutions, regardless of whether it is created in his home country or not.
Let’s take a small digression and see how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has changed during a pandemic. Two basic basic needs have moved from place to place – self-actualization and the need for recognition. In the new reality, people’s behavior and emotions are primarily influenced by belonging and safety need. These two needs are significantly more universal and enduring than those at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
To date, we have also accumulated enough knowledge to be able to interpret these two basic needs without getting caught up in cultural differences. I am certainly not saying that cultural differences have disappeared altogether. If we talk about Estonia’s neighboring markets, then Lithuanian consumers are still more visual and Estonians react primarily to verbal components. In addition, Lithuanian budgets are many times larger than in Latvia and Estonia.
Not to mention the micro-trends that gain influence and reach, following which brands pay significantly more attention to social media conversations and user experiences, which is strongly influenced by local practices. In any case, the world is very open, and the jury’s responsibilities certainly include doing the background work so that their assessment of the advertisement is as professional as possible.
How do you currently rate the advertising landscape in general?
I agree with Nick Lawson, CEO of MediaCom Global, that the golden age of agencies is coming. It is a known regularity that the greatest development takes place through pain. COVID-19 has shaken all traditional areas. Although advertising and tradition are rather opposites, there have been relatively few revolutionary changes in the advertising industry.
To face the future more boldly, we are forced to thoroughly review our current business models and competencies. The pandemic became a catalyst for projects and dreams that have been waiting a long time at the bottom of the drawer. If developments occur, disincentives must also be taken into account. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges in the advertising market is the lack of talent.
Agencies’ brains are flowing into start-ups and the demand-driven economy is growing. Given that advertising and marketing is an experience-based field, the efforts of universities alone will not help us out of this situation. Obviously, we need to prepare for the diversity of cultural, linguistic and generational teams in the agencies operating in small markets. The same strategy is used by IT companies.
The diversity of the team has become a guarantee of their competitive advantage and stability. When it comes to recruiting new talent and staff turnover, agencies should follow the example of IT companies. As for the international competitiveness of Estonian agencies, there are many acute examples of agencies that have won the hearts of international clients in Estonia and our neighboring countries (Latvia and Lithuania).
I believe that their formula for success is not only a cheaper price for the service, but a combination of professionalism, freshness and courage. My coach Lennart Hintz, who is MediaCom’s EMEA regional manager, constantly points out that the strength of a small market like ours lies in the fact that Estonian specialists must have several competencies and be multifunctional.
In the field of advertising, a number of disciplines are merging, as this will provide brands with more comprehensive and sustainable solutions. Our specialists are simply better prepared for a world where there are no longer clear boundaries between different disciplines.