1. Importance of branding is on the rise
Magnus Luzhkov, CEO at Optimist Group Estonia points out the importance of branding, especially among small and medium size enterprises. “Business owners pay more attention to creating emotions about their brands, both through brand essence and brand packaging. More mature companies are looking across borders and working towards creating franchise concepts,” argues Luzhkov.
On a bitter note, Luzhkov adds: “I should also note that certain DIY retailers that have been recently acquired by Lithuanian businesses are solely focusing on price promotion campaigns – its painful for me to see how carefully built brands are going down the drain due to such faulty approach.”
2. Clients are looking for integration across agencies and markets
Andris Rubins, Managing Director at DDB Latvia sees integration as a clearly emerging trend. “Clients are looking for agency teams who can provide a full brand experience. When working with five different agencies, each adding their own little piece of the puzzle, the result can be a bit chaotic, thus clients are looking to integrate all directions under one roof. In parallel, I see integration across all three Baltic countries and a need for strong pan-Baltic strategies. There will be one Baltic marketing director, one leading Baltic brand agency and unified concept campaigns for the whole region,” adds Rubins
3. Global brands need to use local faces
Dasha Karpilovich, Head of Marketing at Huawei Consumer Business Group in the Baltics finds integrating global and local approaches to be a huge challenge: “Every market expects the brand to become local, meaning we cannot use the same visuals nor the same messages anymore. People are looking for familiar faces: local influencers and opinion leaders (especially in PR and social media). Therefore, we must find a balance between global-local and allocate channels that are more flexible for a local approach. This is where PR and social media comes to play. Adapting traditional media would be too expensive at this point.”
4. Clients are willing to pay for strategic consulting
Andris Blaka, Chairman of Age Com, the biggest advertising holding company in the Baltics is optimistic about the state of Baltic advertising industry.
“Compared to 1-2 years ago, advertising is in a much better shape,” said Blaka. “Clients somehow realized that they need good quality creative products, not just singular pieces of media or some kind of layout. Good storytelling and strategy are in high demand. During the previous crisis, marketing decisions were made by people who have nothing to do with marketing. Price was more important than quality, which is still true, but there are huge improvements. The position of advertising agencies and business consultancies is clearly growing,” adds Blaka
5. Insourcing: Big companies develop their in-house marketing teams
Ranno Pajuri, Telia Estonia marketing director said that Telia Estonia has recently opened its in-house media planning department.“We have successfully taken over most campaigns from our media agencies and first results are promising. I am pretty certain that most bigger advertisers will insource, at least partly, their media planning activities in fairly foreseeable future,” predicts Pajuri.
6. Awards did not turn into Euros
Paulius Senuta, Chairman of Not Perfect Vilnius tells that Lithuanian agencies were hungry for creative awards, but it did not pay off in the end. “Some years ago Lithuanian agencies Milk and Not Perfect tried to outsmart each other and win more international awards. That enthusiasm has gone, it wasn't a very successful business model because awards don't necessarily turn into euros or dollars,” adds Senuta.
7. Creative agencies are building digital & tech teams
Aurimas Preilauskas, Creative Director of Adfingers Vilnius, sees a big shift towards digital – clients are searching for real, industry-specific expertise, for example marketing automatization. “Traditional creative agencies are expanding into the digital and technology sphere and hiring experts,” tells Preilauskas.He also predicts the raise of smaller social media platforms: “Although Facebook and Instagram still dominate the social media scene, many brands are experimenting with other, smaller social networks, such as TikTok or Snapchat. Ikea recently had very successful campaign on Airbnb for example.”
The author Hando Sinisalu is the producer of Balticbest, the only Pan-Baltic advertising festival.