Public Relations and Media in CroatiaPR is making a comeback in the Croatian market. Not only because the agencies have started to work with state institutions again, but because companies in general have recognized they need PR
This year prof.dr. Božo Skoko will mark 20 years of career in PR. It will also be 20 years since he and his colleague Mario Petrović founded the PR agency Millenium Promocija.
When they made the decision to set up the agency, Božo was working on Croatian public broadcaster HRT. He studied public relations as a profession that was penetrating from the West during the 1990s. It seemed quite exotic to him.
When he decided to leave the journalistic waters and move to the world of public relations, his colleagues from the television told him that PR is a profession that will truly come in ten years at best, that there’s no hurry and that he should stick with the television as more stable and safer.
However, Mario and Božo embarked on that adventure exactly because it was just in the making. Fortune would have it that just as they were opening the agency, he was offered a post as an assistant at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb, where he held a Promotional Communication course, with the intention of initiating a course in public relations.
This enabled, or rather forced him, to quickly absorb knowledge from the global stage, to read literature, monitor, travel the world and learn the theory and practice of public relations.
In two decades prof. dr. Božo Skoko has built a striking career in theory and practice of public relations.
Millenium Promocija has grown into one of the most successful communication agencies in Croatia, but also the region. It monitors and creates trends, spreads optimism in the industry, cooperates with other agencies on projects that are multidisciplinary and seeks synergy of communication specialties.
It has been more than a year since some facts that Božo shared in his lecture at the PR Days Mostariensis in Mostar caught my ear. I’ve wanted to talk about these facts with him for Media Marketing since, but we could never find the right time for both of us.
Even when we finally got to get together for a long talk at the Sheraton Zagreb, publishing of the interview had to wait a bit more. I guess till my thoughts settled in, and then it simply starts going on its own. This will be one of our first interviews in the year in which Millennium marks twenty years since its foundation.
Because of the length of the text we decided to divide it into two parts. You can read the second part on our portal tomorrow.
ED: PR market in Croatia is growing. How is this growth reflecting on Millenium Promocija?
Božo Skoko: Millenium feels this return of optimism and market growth. Evidence of this are raising revenues, new agency projects and departments, new hires, as well as new clients. For example, after the summer, we started cooperation with several new clients. We are especially proud of the fact that we have become the official PR agency of Samsung for this part of Europe in international competition and that we have started to cooperate with one of the best banks in this region, Privredna banka Zagreb. But it’s not lively just on the international level. In Croatia as well there’s an increase in investment in PR and market communications.
ED: Is it because of frugality measures that marketing is moving to PR because it’s less expensive, or is PR really gaining in importance?
Božo Skoko: I think PR is gaining in significance, and that organizations are becoming aware of the opportunities it provides them. If there is some overspill, then it’s happening in advertising, where budgets from the traditional media are moving online. However, PR is getting closer to the classic consulting activities, it is helping organizations not only manage their market image, but also to solve their business problems thus directly contributing to business success. These are now measurable categories, so it is no wonder that public relations often take up a part of the budget that has so far been spent on other items.
Even those corporations that have not yet used public relations services are opening up to that segment, and those who have had a good experience are simply expanding the scope of business. For some time, agencies popped up in the market like mushrooms after the rain. A row of former journalists and consultants got engaged in the PR business, offering their services on a one-man-show basis, but this momentum blew up as the serious corporations realized that they need agencies as partners, with big teams of consultants who can offer them not just some media coverage, but everything else, from analytics and research to serious communication strategies and management support.
And that’s how big agencies such as Millenium profited, as they could provide strategic support and tackle any communication challenge. Consultants working with clients are also very important. They must have knowledge, experience, contacts, but also innate predispositions. We have an excellent team of more than thirty people, including advisors to two prime ministers, former journalists and editors … However, we are particularly proud of the fact that most of the people who came to the agency as interns after graduating from the university, whom we nurtured and trained, have stayed with us. Our executive director Vladimir Preselj is a man who grew in the agency after finishing college, and has went with us through the entire journey from assistant, over project leader, to senior consultant. I think it’s the key trump card of an agency when it can show long-standing references, satisfied clients, top team, knowledge base and experience …