AdH: How important do you think that still are the trainings in today’s advertising world? (Do you still send people to festivals such as Cannes, Portoroz, etc, Do you offer them trainings with international specials and / or access to getting certified by a great university or in a great program?)
Jeremy Hine: Training staff is essential in today’s advertising world. If you want the best and most motivated staff then career development, of which training is a key part, is fundamental. Training can give an agency a competitive edge, it is also key for staff retention. A study in the US found employees with poor training opportunities around 41% planned to leave within a year whereas this was only 12% for those with good training opportunities.
Training is also good for business another study found that firms who invest $1,500 per employee in training, compared to those who spend $125, experienced on average 24% higher gross profit margins and 218% higher revenue per employee. Training can come from attending conferences/festivals like Cannes and Portoroz, also we attempt to provide opportunities for our people to work in other offices around the network and each local office is expected to invest in local training initiatives.
AdH: Now that the enthusiasm of the industry is not as big as it used to be in the growth years (2005-2008), how do you still make your employees proud to be part of your team and how do you encourage them to be better and better?
J.H.: Instilling pride and encouraging employees is a core responsibility of the senior management of an agency. The leaders’ own passion and enthusiasm for the business should cascade right down through the organization. We are very lucky in having many great leaders within Lowe and Partners Romania. They love being in the business and want to invest time and effort in the team to ensure it is fulfilling for all. You need to trust your staff, give them responsibility and a chance to grow. Also to provide the right support and encouragement when things get tough. Winning new business and awards should be celebrated giving people the chance to value success. Mistakes should be learnt from not constantly punished.
I had a great boss when I joined the industry many years ago. He really took the time and effort to ensure I got better and better and feel positively challenged by the industry. I see it as my duty to do the same for the next generation of staff.
AdH: How do you see Lowe Group positioned on the Romanian market? Do you have a goal (being a certain number on the industry’s charts?)
J.H.: For their entrepreneurship, relentless preoccupation for evolution and their passion for advertising, Lowe Romania is one of our beacons in Europe. The group in Romania is in a very fortunate situation, where all the disciplines of communication are integrated under one single roof. This is a successful business model that we are building in other regions of the world as well. While the local market has a high potential for growth in the upcoming years, Lowe Group in Romania is built on a rounded formula which assures a complete perspective upon the creative product: traditional, digital, PR, experiential and consumer engagement platforms, in a contemporary, versatile creative solution.
The creative product is the main focus of our group in Romania, and I know each agency in the group has developed strong dedicated teams and a robust credential across all disciplines. The recent appointment of Vasi Alboiu as a Chief Creative Officer of the group has come as a natural step towards this integrated creative approach which is in synch with the times we are living. The results did not linger, since the beginning of the year, a booming new client roster – AFI, Bucegi or SKOL – having complemented our traditional top-notch clients such as Unilever, Johnson&Johnson or ZIZIN.
While a natural objective is to have all our agencies ranked topmost in their industry-specific rankings, our ambition is actually to be loved by our people, valued by our clients, and respected by the market.
AdH: What do you believe that the Romanian advertising should still learn and why?
J.H.: I have seen the recent efforts made by local professional organizations in order to improve the workflow and work standard of the local industry. I support them. Materials such as the recently released Pitch Guideline will prove helpful in orientating the local industry towards a more transparent, professional approach.
Topics such as the number of agencies invited in a pitch (see the recent #pitch2015 situation), the transparency of the pitch process and of the budget, as well as a clear set of criteria for the selection have been on the agenda of the local industry for a while and I think are important aspects for the development of the Romanian industry.
In the end, I salute the recent passing of OUG 25/2013 in a decent, amended form, which actually means a return to normality, after two years of dramatically affecting the business and stability of the entire market. The intervention of politics in the economic circuit is definitely not acceptable so I am glad to see that the effects have been overturned and I hope that such issues do not arise again in the Romanian economy.