Irina Mateescu opted for Brand Conversations as her next career level

Creativity, Digital & Media, People

After 3 years of marketing at Business Media Group, almost 4 as senior digital planner at Netalurgica and 10 months as Digital Manager at Next Advertising, she decided it’s the right time to go on her own way and create her own business.

Still very young, but courageous and fierce, Irina Mateescu accumulated expertise working with clients such as Murfatlar, UPC, Ferrero, Albalact, CrisTim, Sun Plaza, SuperBet, Discovery or Fan Courier. Her expertise, accumulated while working with important clients, is now an important asset, as she decided to leave the comfort of a great position and start her own business from zero.

In an exclusive interview for AdHugger, Irina gave more details about how she made the decision to start her own company, market competition, next steps and forecast for her business

Irina Mateescu

AdHugger: How did you decide to go on your own and start your own business? 

Irina Mateescu: I decided to go on my own because I’m a greedy little fellow and I want to keep everything for myself  🙂 .

You know that feeling when you are ready to party and willing to make some noise and everybody is some kind of sleepy and not necessarily in the mood to wake-up unless you learn to sing their favorite songs? And, most of the times, you don’t find your own little room where you can rid off that party energy ? Well…I’m a really bad singer and if my will of making noise and get the party started is not enough, I don’t have something else to offer to you as an employer :). So, if you have a favorite wake-up song, you’d better search it on YouTube or buy it on iTunes.

Now, I’m really excited that this article is for, because if it were somewhere else, one might think that in the past 5 years I was working in the music industry, which would be so wrong. I am just a digital professional with a communication background, a strategic way of thinking and connecting ideas, now willing to make some noise for my own projects and clients.

AdH: What qualities do you have for being a good entrepreneur?

Irina Mateescu: #hardworkgetsaseat at any table of a project, regardless the country or company and I am no stranger to hard work.

#honestysecuresimage. Probably will sound oldies or cliche, but it is goldies too. I like Claude C. Hopkins and I am thinking sort of the same. Everything comes in a full circle and now, when social media is part of anything, a brand needs to be as honest as it was written in the book of Mr. Hopkins, “My life in advertising”.

#learningneverends. I can’t stop learning something that I like. And I love digital. But I understand that brands can’t survive (only) virtual, so my every day biggest challenge is to build a reaction to something that is going to be communicated using digital tactics.

#creativity it stopped being a requirement only for people who are working as copywriters or art directors since Google was created and Facebook was launched. It’s a way of seeing thinks, a way of choosing how to apply what you know to certain projects and a way to discover how is adequate to measure efficiency. So, I bet all I have that I can be a creative person.

#iknowtosayno :). I don’t know for sure if there are plenty of people who can say no to something and follow it by a “because….”. Probably, is not a quality, but I considered it that way.

#figuresarenotjustnumbers in an excel sheet. We speak the same language, they are my every morning friends, especially when I start the day opening a Google Analytics account or some tools for monitoring social media conversations  :). In a digital campaign you have so many figures to follow, that low or high is like saying “black” and “white”, which is not enough for a nowadays KPI.

AdH: Why that moment precisely? Have you being thinking for a long time to make that decision or it was a spread of a moment one?

Irina Mateescu: I have been thinking about that every time I heard a “No, it can’t be possible, but look maybe….” or “Yes, you are right, but…..” or “No, it’s not the right moment….” or “Buy some clicks and it’s enough, oki??”. Precisely in that moment I had a feeling that being just oki and doing oki is dangerous. On a long term, just being alive and doing OK, I will stop my learning and my evolution. I didn’t have enough gut until that moment when I decided to jump and materialize my vision about how the jobs in the advertising industry should mix, in order to face the digital challenge.

AdH: What are the most important steps of you career so far?

Irina Mateescu:Thinking backward, taking prizes in communication contests as a student (ex: Communication Olympics) or making partnerships with international advertising festivals for Campaign Romania (ex: Golden Drum, Epica, Meribel) or being the first digital professional doing a media campaign on video content it doesn’t look that important to me right now. Those steps were important the moment they happened, because some doors opened and opportunities were waiting for me on the other side. More important for me is when I started using digital platforms and how my capacity of understanding them evolve. I first use a global direct e-mailing platform in 2007 and buy media on Facebook in 2008 when the social network was less than 100,000 accounts in Romania. And curiously, I was not working in a digital agency or department.

AdH:  What is your field of expertise right now? What do you offer differently for the clients?

Irina Mateescu: Digital marketing with direct implementation of proposals in the following fields: digital media, social media, copywriting and project management on web development projects with different partners. I was not a digital marketing professional from the beginning of my career. I work 2 years as a PR Manager for NGOs and 3 years in the publishing industry. Being part of the transition from print magazines to digital content it helped me a lot. Brand Conversations is not going to have specialized departments coordinated by client service. I am going to group different communication jobs around how are they going to influence a brand (e.g: offering a brand experience or an interaction).

Let me give you two concrete examples, I will have a department called Brand Experience where I will put together people with the following skills: social media, PR, copywriting and web content. In the Brand Activation department a client will find media services, SEO and affiliate marketing. Now, I am working to complete my digital skills with offline skills. In time, I want to get back to PR to connect social media projects differently, I want to experience BTL projects to see how can I turn an online experience into an offline interaction. I never believed that the rise of digital will kill the rest of the media, but will mess them up a little bit. The approach I offer for my clients is completely different, it’s not a fight of advertising fields (e.g: doing TV or making a big BTL action to generate BUZZ ?), it’s a harmony with a digital core. My goal is to be capable of generating conversations around something, regardless we are using a banner or a fan page or a PR campaign.

 AdH: What are your competitors and why? 

Irina Mateescu: Statistically, everyone who is a freelancer and each digital agency active in this field. So, there is a lot of competition. I think there are hundreds of them. From a more pragmatic point of view I put digital marketing in front of doing SEO or buying some impressions or maintaining a social media account and I don’t believe that a digital channel must be put in a mix only because is a trend. At this point, from that hundreds it remained a 1-2 dozens.

AdH: Do you work only directly with the clients or also with agencies as an external expert?

Irina Mateescu: I don’t believe in digital consultancy. We are talking about a medium that is in a perpetuum mobile process. For example, the Facebook Advertiser Manager Account has changed 3 times until now only this year. The social network moved from Edge Rank to Story Bumping as a criteria for placing content in a news feed. How can you be a digital consultant if you are not a player too ? If you remain only on the consultancy side you will soon loose your big picture about the whole digital package in a certain market. The percentage of what is worth to invest in has changed significantly in the last 5-7 years.

To answer to your question, I work both directly with clients and agencies, but never just as a consultant. If I can’t be a part of it for short or long term I’m not interested. I’m interested to work directly with clients from the following sectors: B2C – leisure, lifestyle, fashion, travel, goingout, e-commerce, publishing, healthcare and B2B – IT&C, industrial, healthcare, HoReCa, e-commerce. The decision of working as an external expert for agencies is a matter of choice. I totally agree to partnership with any agency for short term if the client knows about the situation. When collaborating together with an agency, the filed of the client is not that important. It can be any kind of company.

AdH: Does your company already have a name already? What is it?

Irina Mateescu:Yeap, it has a name and a why that name behind it: ”Brand Conversations”.

AdH: How did you choose it?

Irina Mateescu:I look up for something that can say in a simple way what I want to do and offer.

AdH: What are your main goals for the first 2 years?

Irina Mateescu: 10 employees, 2 festival prizes and Euro 100,000 profit.