Business / agencies
Agencies and advertising standards in Croatia
The Croatian Association of Communications Agencies
(Croatian: Hrvatska udruga društava za tržišno komuniciranje, HURA!)
HURA! are committed to creating opportunities for initiatives that will enable their member agencies to advance, increase their impact and create added value.
Some of their initiatives include the general protection of the profession, through the Court of Honour of HURA, Pitch Watch, workshops and seminars, providing agency market data, cooperation research between advertisers and agencies, professional reputation research, and the Effie Awards Croatia, IdejaX, Young Lions Croatia, BalCannes and MIXX Croatia Awards.
The Court of Honour is the body of HURA! for all hearings, decisions and judgments on the merits of complaints filed against violations of the provisions of the Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications.
By joining VoxComm, HURA! enabled its members to use the Pitch Watch service, which protects agencies and advertisers in the tender process.
HURA! actively participates in the process of adopting and amending national and international laws concerning market communications. Through continuous contributions to public debates and regular communication with decision-makers at the Republic of Croatia and the European Union, the association enables members to have their collective voice heard, respected and affirmed for the entire industry’s progress.
The average Croatian believes that advertising, in addition to being exciting and fun, gives information about products and helps customers in their selection. We, of course, wanted to learn more from Dunja Ivana Ballon, HURA!’s Executive Director.
What are the most common standards HURA’s members follow?
Making the world a better place one campaign at a time is the basis of HURA’s Code of Advertising and Market Communications. This document is a holy scripture for anyone who works in or is considering working in the communications industry. And the fundamental principle of the Code says that market communications have to be lawful, proper, honest and sincere – that’s woven into everything that HURA’s members do.
What is the advantage of doing business with a standardised agency?
Let me rephrase the question and ask – what are the consequences of doing business with non-standardised agencies?
Perception of marketing agencies has evolved; in 2019, 93% of clients perceive agencies as an essential business partner, whilst only 7% think of them as just an outsourcing channel. What do you think contributed to this great recognition?
Agencies aren’t formal or corporate, but they are home to highly trained professionals who possess unique talents and are hard to find and develop. At the same time, communications have become an invaluable part of every inch of the business scene, whether it be intervening in an existing product or service or even creating and establishing a completely new one. I could tell you countless stories of our member agencies experts going above and beyond to exceed expectations for the client’s benefit, not because they have to but because they want to. And to that seven per cent – living in the past must be comfortable, but we were taught better.
Interestingly enough, there are still companies that think the ‘internet is free’. What does your data show when it comes to the last 15-20 years of the spend and growth in digital?
Interestingly enough, ignorance could still be bliss! Our data and all projections clearly show that digital is continually growing and evolving – with no signs that it’s going anywhere anytime soon. It was one of the rare sectors that grew in 2020, and there is so much data to support this.
How would it look if you could write a ‘cheat-sheet brief’ for business owners? What questions to ask themselves before seeking marketing services?
Three words: perception meets reality. More often than not, business owners’ perception is skewed, so they require an outside view. They need to clearly understand and articulate what the brand is, what it stands for and where they want to take it – in which marketing agencies are their most valuable asset. But that is probably the hardest to do, as it’s often the simplest of the most complicated ones. In the context of partnering with an agency, our group of experts created a set of guidelines and templates that we are very proud of and will help answer those questions.
If someone would like to hire a Croatian agency but is not 100 percent sure, what should they do?
They can do what everyone does – call us, e-mail us, or visit our website. We don’t bite, I promise 🙂
You are very well known for conducting various scale research. What’s the most significant one you’ve done recently?
We are big on knowledge and ideas. Who doesn’t like to know where they stand and what’s happening in the world? The truth is that numbers show plenty – the good and the bad.
HURA’s Media AdEx is the most important one on the market for sure. Still, the most memorable for me were our closed surveys that we regularly ran during the height of the pandemic, proving to be a simple yet effective tool to support our members during a challenging period.
In terms of what’s to come, I can also give you a little sneak peek as there are two sets of data that we’ll present exclusively to our members at the HURA CEO 2021 event in Rovinj: one focused on creativity and its evolution and the other focused on the business side of things, including market trends and economic forecasts. It all ties back to our core mission of giving our agency members resources to lead the market more easily.
One entertaining question: why is marketing a rare discipline that some companies will still try to practice without employing or engaging a professional? Or when they do, they expect all services in one person?
I could think of some other adjectives, but let’s stick to ‘entertaining’. It would be entertaining to visit an unskilled doctor or engineer. But the product and the value of our sector – ideas – were always intangible, elusive, hard to measure, and price.
But in terms of your question, I’m happy to say that this is a rare practice in our market. On the client side, we have numerous professionals with high standards who know the crucial importance of good partnerships with agency experts and the enormous value it brought to their businesses and will, time and time again.