Aleksa Čokić, Group Account Director, Red Communication

2022 Is The Year Of Setting New Standards In PR

Red Communication is one of Serbia’s most successful local agencies, with more than 30 clients, all market leaders in their respective industries. This is an agency that actively masters the new channels of communication, while cooperating with both media outlets and influencers on a daily basis

Explaining the secret of Red Communication’s success, the Group Account Director Aleksa Čokić says that everything is based on a combination of know-how and the monitoring of world trends, while he stresses that this ‘young’ market provides fertile ground for successful work and setting of industry standards.

Are you still considered the fastest growing agency in Serbia?

That’s an epithet from a few years ago. We’ve now grown sufficiently to leave it up to others to grow fast, maybe even faster than us. The focus of our operations changed substantially in the previous period, as did our working methods. PR has died on multiple occasions during the last decade and a half, and each time t has come to life even stronger than before. This profession is relatively young, so all of us who have been working in this field for more than ten years are considered to be experts and scientists, despite being in our early 30s, and that is how we gained trust and respect of clients and people in this profession.

Your specialist areas include corporate and brand communications, crisis management, BTL services and event management, ATL services, media relations etc. What do companies seek the most? How would you assess the market?

Agencies are usually profiled to cater for one or two categories, but we specialize in almost all areas, and that’s thanks to our people. We have a brilliant team of employees and we fully encourage development of personal affinities within the scope of the profession, and we are glad that this diversity has brought our business success and satisfaction in the workplace. All sectors covered within the framework of the agency achieved success in the period behind us. However, as always, it is crisis PR that’s in the lead, and the times are such that we no longer have to call the media to report a particular problem. It is now enough for social media posts to create a problem for major companies. The event team has grown immensely and we’ve even organised numerous events during the Covid, with an obligatory disclaimer – following all the recommended safety measures.

Good interpersonal relationships and job satisfaction are key factors of progress and good work

Although you work with a lot of large, successful and profitable companies, you don’t have unlimited budgets. Is it heresy to say that this fact also has good sides, in terms of encouraging creativity?

Budgets are not unlimited, but they are far higher than they were in the year 2000, when we were pioneers in this profession, attempting to convince clients that they should invest in marketing; hence why we had to develop our own creativity and provide marvellous ideas that cost very little. We grew up in the ‘90s, when possibilities were very limited, so having a great imagination was essential, while it also provided an excellent base to engage in a profession that did not exist in our country back then.

This led to successful projects, to ideas that the client approves instantly and pride due to campaigns implemented successfully. Following world trends in a market that’s still young is a fertile ground for being successful and setting standards in the industry.

The pandemic has reminded us of the great importance of crisis PR, but what has it taught us? What novelties has it brought us when it comes to communications?

PR is like a lotus, the only flower that blooms in sludge. The pandemic brought a disaster at several levels when it comes to the planet as a whole, but that’s the very reason why PR flourished. From the first moment of the pandemic and lockdown, we began working all day, covering everything from crises to donations, but also did creative work to prevent the spread of the virus and later promoting vaccination.

At least as far as the Red Agency is concerned, a lot of new knowledge has been gained when digital finally came into the hands of us prs. The whole industry has mutated and pr is now stronger than ever. Agencies have bounced back significantly, while relations with clients have improved. The time of terrible clients and some kind of dictatorship has passed; trust between us is greater and we’ve finally become partners.

Digital has officially finally arrived for us PR people, so the entire job has mutated and PR is now stronger than it’s ever been

The number of communication channels is growing constantly, while social media is gaining precedence and influencers are now more popular than sports stars… Despite the fact that we’re practically living in the future, you continue to nurture traditional values: honesty, trust, good interpersonal relationships etc. Is that the secret to success?

If there is one thing I have learned through the years, it is that respectable interpersonal relationships and job satisfaction are key factors of progress and good work. We are absolutely in step with the times, but we wisely choose not to apply things from the modern Western business culture – cold relations with employees and top management do not exist in our team. I like it when colleagues socialise beyond work, when they go out together, see each other etc. At Red we are all one big family, full of most diverse members, but also full of love. We actively master all new channels of communication and cooperate on a daily basis with the media and influencers. Influencer marketing has advanced significantly and is still changing, and I think Serbia is significantly more advanced in this field than the other countries of the region.

You implemented excellent campaigns dedicated to promoting the vaccinating of children and the fight against ovarian cancer last year. Are you satisfied with the effects?

We proudly accept all campaigns of this type and I think it is very important that we use our opportunities for the right cause. We’ve entered the pharmaceutical sector in the last few years and realised how much power it holds, which is why we managed a large number of campaigns successfully, and the campaign of a major pharmaceutical company in the fight against ovarian cancer is one of the best, which makes us extremely proud. We’ve worked on a large number of projects with our friends from UNICEF over the years, and our commitment to this type of work always gives a campaign the desired effect.

We have another challenging year ahead of us. What kinds of plans and expectations?

The market is advancing and has an increasing need for large agencies and professionals, while freelancers with micro clients and minimal budgets hold almost no sway with the media, and have no effect. When it comes to Red in particular, this year is very important for our agency, because we really have major plans to expand our business to new market categories and projects that will undoubtedly change the market and set new standards. I really love working with competing agencies, because improving the quality of work has resulted in us all managing to collectively raise prices for our work, thus helping improve the success and importance of the profession. My wish for 2022 is for my colleagues to support the idea of agencies being paid for their participation in pitches as of this year, which would show respect for their time and ideas.

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