BR met with Aura Dumitru, communication strategist & partner at MakeSense, and talked about the agency’s last year and this year’s perspectives, alongside the trends in the local PR industry.
The agency has won a Silver PR Award for three consecutive years, while a campaign created for Unilever Food Solutions was replicated on other markets.
By Romanita Oprea
How was 2017 for the agency in terms of turnover /revenues?
Year after year we have grown in a natural way, just as we hoped from the very beginning. The results of 2017 confirmed once again the sustained work of our communication and content marketing team. If we need to speak numbers, we had a turnover of around EUR 300,000, but the real value comes from the projects we developed, the long term collaborations we maintained and the consolidation of the MakeSense team.
What were the departments that were most successful? What about the least successful ones?
Starting with 2015, we have completed our portfolio of services with expertise in content creation and content marketing. Since then, we focused on these two directions and have had great results, while our PR services currently represent only 30 percent of the agency’s total revenue.
What about the pitches you took part in?
Generally, we don’t usually take part in many pitch presentations; on average we participate in 2-3 such actions per year. However, I’d like to mention a few brands added to our portfolio in 2017, many of them won in direct requests: Vitamax, Solpadeine, Coldrex, Boehringer Ingelheim, FairValue, Minunino, Atelier 507.
How would you characterize the local PR industry in 2018 in terms of budgets, campaigns, creativity etc?
I strongly believe that, in 2018, we are not just talking about PR anymore, but about integrating communication services so you can build successful communication campaigns with impact and sense for your customers’ business. The challenge arises when you have to meet creativity with the customer’s budget and the red thread of your entire strategy and action plan as a communicator.
What were the campaigns done by the other agencies in Romania that you admired and why?
We followed with great interest the MagiCamp campaign and enjoyed the tangible success recorded. I think I will remember it for a long time.
What were the most important changes & novelties in the agency in 2017 and how did they come to happen?
The year 2017 was the time for a natural business expansion – we created CreativeSense, the creative division with which we are currently developing 360 communication campaigns.
Until 2017, if you asked any of our clients about the way the MakeSense team works, most probably you’d hear less about the glamour and more about the analysis and precision. Our CreativeSense colleagues have joined us to give us a boost of creative thinking, in order for us to build meaningful campaigns that we measure step by step, always checking that we are on the right track, whether that is moving the product off the shelf, keeping the phone ringing in the reception or filling the online shopping cart.
What trends did you notice on the local market last year and how do you intend to follow them /represent them at your agency?
I think the biggest trend for the Romanian market is the spectacular evolution of Instagram channel; we know that the activity of this network has doubled and we notice an increased interest from brands to be present there. There is still a bit of work to understand the need to generate content dedicated to this platform, but I see positive actions in this direction. Other trends that have stood out last year are, in my view, the slightly forced search for authenticity and the new micro-influencing trend, also well discussed and debated last year.
However, no matter what the trends are, there is something that `never gets old`: intersecting these trends with the results you see at a business level, with the need to measure and know what they actually bring you, with figuring out if adopting a certain trend makes sense for the brand or company we are talking about. This is what we believe in the first place, as opposed to simply insisting on things that are “trending” for the sake of the trend.
What do you forecast for 2018 from this point of view?
I think it will be an exciting year for the communications industry, as we have many gadgets and tools on the table that are appealing, while global currents call for caution. We’re interested to see what the GDPR implications are in the communications and marketing industry and the full extent of Facebook and Google data-related discussions.
It remains to be seen also how the trends mentioned above evolve and how they will find their way to show their efficiency in figures and tangible results, but I don’t want to make any assumptions now.
What is your goal for 2018 in terms of revenue, but also new clients, employees etc?
We have the same goal for a healthy and progressive growth, both in terms of turnover and number of people in our team. In relation to new clients, we do not “hunt” brands and certain companies, but we meet in the middle, where their human and business values align with ours. We have in our portfolio companies with whom we have been working for more than 5-6 years, which is one of the most pertinent proofs that the way we make new business has given us the results that we want.
What do you want for the local industry this year?
Keep its effervescence as high as possible.
How do you see the Romanian market connected to the international one?
We are connected to everything and anything. The information is a click away, so what’s important is how we value it locally in order for it to be relevant to the needs we have in Romania. Our experience of working with large companies around the world confirms that it is not enough just to be connected to what is happening in other countries and to discover a good idea in another market; it takes much more work and understanding of the particularities of the audience here.