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Slovenia - Champion award winners reveal their secrets
5 July, 2012 - 19:37
At the recent EMEralds gala dinner, regional awards for excellent communication projects, Slovenia swept the floor winning 9 out of the 16 awards - which prompted us to wonder, 'What’s in the water there?'
Awards of excellence were from a range of categories, from social media to special events and social responsibility.
SC: Congratulations on Slovenia walking away with 8 EMErald awards, how does it feel?
VK: It feels good, naturally, especially since the winners were mostly young and ambitious colleagues. The IABC Slovenia will celebrate two decades of its existence next year and the number of awards received this year is a fine tribute to the anniversary. The chapter had been virtually inactive for a couple of years during that time but some people carried on the work and continuously brought home the IABC’s regional and international awards.
SC: What is the secret to your success?
VK: Slovenia is a small country and in many fields, its achievements are disproportionate to its size. Speaking about our profession, we have good communicators and have had active management of the IABC chapter. Barbka Pečar chairs it this year, encouraging colleagues, both members and non-members, to apply. Gold Quill workshops are traditionally organised to motivate authors of interesting projects to apply, as well as to present the criteria and past winners. Each place has its own peculiarities and methods; this formula seems to work in Slovenia.
SC: What does it mean for you and the winners to be recognised by the IABC?
VK: Everyone probably has a personal answer to that. I think I could say on behalf of all that it is an examination of professional fitness and a confirmation that our solutions and the approach to dealing with communication tasks are in line with good international practice. The awards provide good motivation to the teams behind them and further evidence that the investment in communication solutions was justified. The latter is particularly important during the economic crisis felt in Slovenia as well.
SC: What is your IABC membership like in Slovenia?
VK: The majority of members have at least ten years of experience, some of them are juniors and some of course seniors. They come from different industries, such as telecommunications, retail, finance, manufacturing and the consulting business. Special events open to anyone interested take place four times a year and otherwise we are involved in work of the national Public Relations Society. The chapter acts as the society’s international section although our members, around 25 of them, come from more diversified backgrounds and are not all public relations experts.
SC: What goals do you have as an IABC chapter?
VK: Our goals are long-term, mostly enhancing membership and reputation of the organisation and the communications profession and its international activities.
SC: How would you describe the IC industry as a whole in Slovenia? Following this win, where does Slovenia fit into the rest of Europe when it comes to IC?
VK: I wouldn’t want to generalise because these achievements are only a part of the European communication practice. I believe that a strategic approach is becoming established in Slovenia, and familiarity with communication tools and the new media and their creative use are at a sufficiently high level enabling us to offer effective support to global and local players.
We could say it was a promotion of international standards of communication, a goal of the IABC as well.
The second aspect is international work of our communicators. On the one hand, they support international organisations and corporations working in Slovenia. That mostly entails transfer and inclusion of their respective cultures into our environment. On the other hand, Slovene organisations, and companies in particular, are now in consolidation after a period of internationalisation. In those cases communication processes support sharing internal cultures and policies, and strengthening brands.
I should perhaps note unused opportunities in the public sector, namely raising the level of political culture, a more participative and connecting management style and building identity of the young country. We all know that strategic and effective communication solutions in those areas have multiplier effects.
SC: Do you have any new initiatives on the horizon?
VK: The immediate task is to establish a strategic council. The aim is to include all former leaders in work of the chapter so that their experience and knowledge would be passed on to new teams. The IABC is a professional association based on precious volunteer work. Chapters have no employed professionals and I think it would be useful to ensure continuity and avoid starting from scratch without any need.
SC: How do you plan to beat your record next year?
VK: We’re already training! Seriously though, awards can’t be planned, only wished for. I believe that a new management of the chapter will stimulate Slovene communicators as much as this year’s team.
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