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Milena Đorić Gudurić, Marketing Director For The Markets Of Serbia, Montenegro And BiH, Mastercard

Brands Must Innovate To Remain Relevant

Milena Đorić Gudurić is winner of the Mark Awards in the BRAND INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR category. She tells CorD how quickly and easily consumers accept innovations in Serbia.

When is the right moment for innovation in a company?

The moment for innovation in a company is certainly before the moment when the innovation is put before users. First of all, the company must adopt a fundamentally creative and innovative way of thinking, which means that it will organically understand and create innovative products and services that it will present to users. I keep returning to the expectations of users – they are constantly growing, as their lifestyles change and diversify. Cultural changes and technical innovations affect the fact that the established approach to marketing has been upended, which is why brands have to innovate to remain relevant in the eyes of consumers. Mastercard has brought numerous innovations in online and card payments to the market of Serbia and the region.

How quickly and easily do consumers accept innovations in Serbia?

It is only a matter of time for users to accept innovations that intuitively fit into their everyday life and meet their real needs. These are the conditions that actually dictate the pace of adoption of innovations, and the factors that help speed up that process are the necessary infrastructure, regulation, education and practice. Payment technologies are a great example of this. Until 10 or 15 years ago, the use of cards could be described as shy, more oriented to ATMs than to payments in shops, and the use of e-commerce was practically at the level of statistical error. The reason for this was a lack of understanding of technology, insufficient situations for using cards and the mistrust of users who were deeply connected to traditional patterns of behaviour. Over time, through insisting on user education at every point of interaction with our brand, as well as through work with partners from the banking and trade sectors and numerous promotional campaigns, we managed to introduce innovations that have a long-term effect. Moreover, since the digitally native generation is growing up, it is realistic to expect that their needs will accelerate the further pace of innovation, and I believe that an exciting chapter in the development of the payment industry is ahead of us.

Why are Superheroes an innovation on our market?

With the Superhero.rs platform and fashion brand, NURDOR has also become an eCommerce retailer and that is the essence of innovation in this project. The Superhero collection consists of pieces that follow fashion trends from season to season, which is also helped by guest designers.

We decided on this approach because we wanted to make Superhero a brand that people will really want to wear, and will not associate it with donating purely out of pity. By creating a positive connotation and with a strong commitment to digital channels, the Superhero.rs online platform brings philanthropy closer to younger generations, as it is adapted to their habits. I think that this influence on changing the consciousness of the next generation of decision-makers is a major value that our Superheroes project brings.

What does the Mark Awards recognition mean to you and how will it affect your further career?

Awards for successful projects and the effort invested in their realization are always pleasing, and that is to say it immodestly, recognition for all the previous work you have invested in yourself to reach a certain level of excellence, but also an obligation to continue at the same pace. That’s why I congratulate all my colleagues on the awards they have won, as well as my colleagues who made it to the finals, because they have all contributed to moving the boundaries of our industry forward. I am especially grateful to my colleagues, who with their knowledge and experience are an invaluable part of the success of our campaigns and everything we have innovated on the market so far.

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