By: Sindhuja Kodivalasa, Staff Writer
The best part of the module abroad program in Prague is the company visits. We got to visit a marketing company – ‘Lion Communications’ this week.
Lion Communications is a part of the ‘Publicis Group Worldwide’, one of the leading marketing and advertising firms in the world. Publicis Group is a French advertising company which has expanded globally into many markets over the years. Lion Communications is also a subsidiary of ‘Leo Burnett’ an American globally active advertising company, based out of Chicago. All these companies form a conglomerate and are functioning as one of the greatest Marketing and Advertising firms in the world.
We were joined by Marketta Fischerova, HR Manager of Lion Communications. She was a veteran from Leo Burnett and has been working in Lion Communications for past four years. She gave us a debrief on various things such as the organizational structure and the advertising scenario in Czech Republic. They provide a wide range of services from DTP desktop publishing to IT support and also digital branding and media publications.
Company: There are five different companies held together under the Publicis group and are working simultaneously in the Czech Republic. The Companies work under one roof headed by the Publicis Group and the others are – Lion Communications, The Arc, Fallon Praha, and Saatchi & Saatchi. Together they share a wide range of clients such as Microsoft, Samsung, Axa, P&G, Renault, L’Oréal, T-Mobile and Skoda. Fallon Praha handles Skoda as their sole customer. This is a huge business as they handle the entire marketing and advertising of Skoda in Czech Republic. And Skoda, being a Czech company, holds huge markets in and around the Czech Republic. This conglomerate’s motto is: “Different approaches within one group”.
Fischerova told us several interesting situations regarding their experience in advertising in the Czech Republic. One such instance was three years ago, T-Mobile asked its vendors to bid for their entire marketing campaign. DDB won the bid in Germany. But the T-Mobile clients were impressed with the Publicis Group. So they decided to break their contract with DDB and go with Saatchi & Saatchi in the Czech Republic.
The other instance was, the ethical team of the company convened on Thursdays every fortnight. So if there were any controversial matters to be released, the team usually did it on the Friday after the meeting. In one such situation, T-Mobile was given an advertisement making fun of Polish people. After two weeks this was considered inappropriate and was taken off air. But this garnered a lot of recognition and the company has been receiving three calls a week since then. So she pointed out that sometimes doing something off the book does pay off. At this point, I would like to mention that over the course of past weeks we have noticed that Czech people are very frank and do not hesitate to own their mistakes.
Country: Moving on to the country culture, Online Shopping is a rather new concept in this country. It has only caught up in the last couple of years. Facebook has a huge customer base, but Twitter does not enjoy the same status. So most of the online advertising is focused towards Facebook.
After Fischerova’s presentation, she conducted a small hands-on workshop. She first divided us into seven teams. Then she asked us to view several commercials. We were asked to rate those advertisements on a scale of one to ten. Ten being the best, which were the commercials which left a lasting emotional impression on the brand? On the other hand, ‘one’ is the worst with no clear direction and specification of the brand in the commercial at all. Students were excited and had an animated discussion and stated their ratings. The notable point is every commercial was rated around seven, which was considered to be good and greater than the average. The most important part was after we rated it, she asked each of our teams a critical question. This made us doubt our own judgement, and in most of cases we were left with the impression that we should have rated the commercial better. The overall activity was interesting in a cultural point of view.
Several of us had been to the Brand Management Winterim in December 2014, but, students felt that there is a striking difference between the approaches of the companies in both the countries.