The value of the Romanian media market will amount to EUR 403 million in 2017 and, if this pace of growth will be sustained in the following years, the market is expected to reach the 2008 peak once again by 2020, shows Initiative’s Media Fact Book 2017.
By Romanita Oprea
In a very effervescent media market that is always evolving and changing, the media agencies are the ones making waves these days. At the end of spring and start of summer, three big, important, multinational media agencies announced their rebranding.
The series of rebrandings started with Zenith Media, which announced a new approach in media communication, supported by the re-launch of their brand identity, positioning and the network’s platforms. The action was coordinated by Vittorio Bonori, global brand president of Zenith, and represents the most important moment in the network’s development, after the launch of the ROI Agency positioning in 2002. “Our vision is to offer our clients growth in business results and for this, a new manner of work that harmonizes technology and innovation is needed. I am convinced that the new Zenith brand vision and identity build a distinct positioning, centered on ROI which differentiates us from our competitors,” said Bonori.
Under the ROI+ name, the new approach aims to solve the clients’ business challenges through advanced communication models. In this context, the new Zenith mantra became about “combining data, technology and specialists in order to explore new opportunities, to find solutions to complex challenges and to raise the clients’ business results.”
As Vittorio Bonori points out on Zenith’s blog, new technology has created new opportunities for brands to engage with consumers – and vice versa. Consumers expect to be able to discuss, research and buy products and services at any time and in any place; their relationship with brands extends way beyond paid advertising. “This means that share of experience, not share of voice, is the new currency of brand growth, driven by communications. Agencies that seek to deliver profitable growth for their clients must extend their focus into delivering content, optimizing the user experience, creating customer value and developing advocacy programs, alongside their traditional areas of strength,” added Bonori.
The Zenith logo is reinterpreted under the shape of an inspirational structure and the new range of colors, fonts and images shapes a distinct tone of the Zenith brand, at a global level, wanting to keep the message consistent, understandable and confident. The new colorful visual identity can be seen across the agency’s 278 offices worldwide, as well as on merchandise and business cards for its 5,000 employees.
Zenith’s global website has been totally overhauled as part of the global rebranding program. As the global leader in advertising expenditure forecasting, Zenith has a wealth of data and insight and this is now available in a new, interactive section on the site called Global Intelligence.
The agency landed on “ROI+,” an approach that aims to solve business challenges through a consultancy approach. Alongside offering value optimization, communications planning, content creation and data analytics, Zenith wants to be “an agency of trusted advisors,” using advanced communication models, data and automation, such as machine learning, to help clients. According to Sean Reardon, Zenith’s U.S. CEO, cited by Campaign UK, the agency aims to support clients from acquisition to retention, and place equal weight on both ends of the customer journey. “Historically, the majority of ad dollars are very acquisition or new customer focused. Looking at the full consumer journey and recognizing where personalized communication can come into play at a scalable level can maximize a client’s business,” said Reardon.
Initiative – concentrating on cultural branding
Soon after, Initiative, part of the IPG Mediabrands group, was the next media agency to announce its global rebranding, a new agency positioning to be adapted to the changes of the global media industry. Therefore, the Initiative network will concentrate on creating cultural branding around the brands in their portfolio, in order to help clients differentiate on the markets they are present in.
„Initiative is the agency that helps brands take initiative in the construction of cultural branding through media and that is recalibrating its identity and business to the future of the market. In order to explore the new challenges and global opportunities, we are placing in the center of our activity the creativity and expertize in order to transform us in a company with a much larger vision, that of communication design. This vision will influence both the positioning, the diversity of the agency’s services as well as the talent management among the Initiative teams,” said Mat Baxter, Global CEO, Initiative. “We promised ourselves that, through the manner in which we are building the campaigns for our clients, they would be memorable in the long-term. Lately, we have observed that consumers are adopting more and more methods to reject or simply forget about the advertising messages. The brand advertising that media agencies used to concentrate on in the past is no longer sufficient for the clients’ objectives, therefore heading towards cultural branding is a necessary and natural change, especially for a dynamic media agency such as Initiative,” added on her turn Alexandra Olteanu, managing director at Initiative Romania.
With Initiative’s new global positioning, the agency’s members in Romania have committed to help the brands in their local portfolio to integrate more easily into communities and enhance the user experience, with direct impact in both KPIs and preference at shelf. According to Alexandra Olteanu, cultural branding refers to media communication being built based on its association with trends or icons to which consumers resonate – either characters, moments, places, events, lifestyle influences etc. – which are representative to a certain culture or micro-culture to which they have a special meaning.
“There are a few local brands that are focusing their communication – especially in terms of advertising – on values or icons that are representative for their target or brands that are leveraging certain Romanian holidays, but there is still a huge potential not being seized at the moment. At the same time, as I said before, this trend is more common in advertising, but not very visible when it comes to media. However, we believe cultural branding should be integrated in any media campaign that is aimed at bringing long-term results for clients,” explained Olteanu. The values on which the present Initiative identity are built are courageous approach of the media context, creativity and exceptional building, a lot of dynamism and flexibility, but also perfect execution of the media campaigns.
What will actually change and evolve? “In recent years, increasingly more consumers have been adopting various ways of rejecting or evading advertising messages. Well, while advertising can be ignored or blocked, culture cannot. Culture is memorable, generating messages that activate the part of the brain responsible for long-term memories. To help our clients leverage this opportunity, we are now more craft-focused than ever, with 4 main values at our core: Fearless in our approach/ Brilliant in our work/ Dynamic in our design/ Seamless in our execution,” explained the Initiative Romania’s managing director. All this, while on the inside, Initiative developed a new set of unique media tools which are helping them in to reach the brands’ objectives. The agency’s representatives aim to be their clients’ advisors in a wide range of business-related areas, as well as to switch from planning towards communications design and to concentrate on building valuable partnerships with their suppliers.
Optimedia becomes Blue 449
June brought the last rebranding in the media agencies’ scene so far, with Optimedia, the media agency part of Publicis One, changing its name to Blue 449. The rebranding is part of a larger transformation process in all markets where the group operates, with the goal of adapting Publicis One’s global and local resources to the clients’ needs. Optimedia has operated in Romania for the last 20 years.
Blue 449 was launched two years ago by ZenithOptimedia as the ‘open source’ media agency and now has a global presence across 13 important international markets and 23 offices, under the lead of Andras Vigh, global brand president. The ‘open source’ principle found its analogy in the technology field and it is determined by the basic programming code specially created to allow constantly spreading, adapting and expanding on a large scale. This principle became the Blue 449 philosophy and carries the spirit throughout their collaborative and client-focused approach. ‘Collaboration’ is the main concept of this new type of business approach.
“Our main goal is to set a consistent global footprint as the Open Source media agency and we are making quick progress towards this. The launch of Blue 449 in Romania enables us to offer our clients a truly innovative and customized approach in communication, in an important CEE market. Romania will be our 15th market, and the 23rd office,” said Andras Vigh, Blue 449 global brand president.
Blue 449 is a dynamic brand with multiple connections. It has full access to Publicis Groupe’s resources, whilst keeping the ‘open source’ philosophy at the core of its operations. At the local management level, Blue 449 will be led by Cezar Batog, former managing director of Optimedia.
Maria Tudor, chief media officer at Publicis One, coordinates all Publicis One media agencies in the CEE – Zenith, Starcom, Spark | Mediavest, Blue 449.
“Blue 449 brings a breath of fresh air to a grown agency, remarkable through continuity and team stability. In addition, it brings something fresh to the group level. Now we have three strong media agencies in Romania, with precise positioning but which complement each other and form the strongest pool of buying in Romania. Last but not least, this Blue 449 launch in Romania also brings me personal joy because it’s one of the first in the CEE,” added Maria Tudor, chief media officer at Publicis One.
Blue 449 is one of the five media brands of Publicis Media. Its open source philosophy combines media activity, ideas, information and technology that shapes clients’ development. The Blue 449 brand brings people and organizations together from around the world that provides additional knowledge and inspiration inherent to the Publicis Media global practices. The name and the visual identity embody art and ideas represented by the blue color, and the usage of data and technologies implied by the number 449. This number is just one digit away from the true blue color (represented by the number 450 on the color spectrum) and therefore Blue symbolizes the state of being a step away from perfection, i.e., the state in which the agency constantly strives for development, problem solving and continuous performance improvement.