Relja Jovic, CEO of Menacom, on innovation, global digital trends, and leading Jordan’s communications industry.
On a global scale, few sectors witness the kind of fast-paced, rapid-fire evolution that has become a hallmark of the communications industry. From the neck-breaking speed of digital innovation to the ever-shifting nature of consumer engagement, keeping pace with the rapidly changing industry landscape is a challenge in any market. And with a growing number of local industry players – not to mention the unprecedented challenges of the post- COVID world -Jordan’s communications sector has never seemed more in flux.
But for industry veteran MENACOM Jordan, staying ahead of the curve has always been par for the course. For the last 25 years, MENACOM has been the Kingdom’s leading marketing communications group, with a current portfolio of six integrated agencies: advertising agencies VMLY&R and Intermarkets, marketing and digital agency Wunderman, public relations firm Asda’a BCW, media and content specialists Wavemaker, and the latest addition, Interface retail marketing agency.
In March, the local communications conglomerate appointed a new CEO to its helm. With over two decades of international industry experience – including in-depth knowledge of the Jordanian market – Relja Jovic brings a forward-thinking approach to his new role as MENACOM Jordan CEO. With expertise in digital marketing and communications (his resume includes serving as the Chief Digital Officer for McCann Erickson across 12 markets in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, as well as Wunderman Jordan’s Digital Director and, later, Managing Director), Jovic is uniquely poised to lead MENACOM Jordan into its next era of communications-sector innovation.
Jovic recently spoke to Venture about how the Group has maintained its pioneering role over the years – and how he plans to further solidify its industry leadership in the years to come.
MENACOM has been a leader in the local communications industry for more than two decades. What are the competitive advantages that have kept the group on the cutting edge of communications innovation?
From day one, MENACOM has always been about going above and beyond for its clients. There has never been a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to how we manage our clients’ strategic communications; instead, we dig deep into their businesses in order to develop tailor-made solutions that demonstrate an unrivalled understanding of their unique brand and business objectives.
As a communications group with six integrated agencies, we also leverage our expansive expertise in order to plan, develop, and implement solutions that are truly comprehensive in scope. From marketing, digital, and advertising to public relations, content, media buying and planning, we ensure that every effort is strategically aligned to the same underlying goals. For key clients, we go as far as creating dedicated cells, bringing specialists from all disciplines into one unified team in order to truly streamline and enhance our work.
Additionally, as a subsidiary of the world’s largest communications holding company, WPP, we benefit from an extraordinary global network of resources, technologies, and insights. Whenever new communications trends emerge globally, we are the first to bring them in and adapt them to the Jordanian market. Recently, we were the first group in Jordan to provide programmatic advertising as a service, and with the recent introduction of Interface to our agency portfolio, we’re the first company in the Kingdom to establish retail marketing as a dedicated practice.
It is the culmination of these strengths – as well as our continuous investment in human resources – that has enabled us to build a diversified portfolio of more than 80 active clients, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. More than anything, these partnerships are what truly give us strength, expanding our knowledge across countless industries and verticals and allowing us to continue attracting high-profile partners, clientele and talents.
Now that you’ve stepped into the role of CEO at MENACOM Jordan, what is your vision for the group? How do you plan to leverage your own experience to achieve this vision?
MENACOM has been leading the communications industry here in Jordan for quite some time, which makes stepping up to the helm both a privilege and a challenge: a privilege because the blueprint for success is already largely laid out, and a challenge because we’re operating in a competitive market amid unprecedented changes.
With six specialized agencies under the MENACOM umbrella, the Group has always provided integrated, 360-degree marketing communications strategies for clients across numerous industries and verticals. Our wide-reaching expertise has allowed us to seamlessly support our clients’ strategic business objectives in truly innovative ways. We have always been a leader when it comes to digital integration, and this will be a major component of our vision moving forward.
As I was developing my long-term vision for MENACOM, there were two key considerations driving my approach: global industry trends and the unique aspects of the Jordanian market. On a global level, advertising and marketing budgets continue to shift dramatically toward digital and online channels, accounting for more than 50 percent of all media spending. And on a local scale, Jordan is a country with a young, dynamic population: youth make up most of the populace and, like everywhere in the world, Jordanian youth are extremely digitally savvy and connected.
Taken together, these factors make it clear that digital marketing will continue to become more and more lucrative in the coming years – especially as Jordan and the rest of the world grapples with the long-term impacts of COVID-19 – and will likely be the central focus of most successful communications strategies moving forward.
MENACOM Jordan has seen more than its fair share of industry changes and disruptions over the last 25 years. How do you envision the company – and the industry as a whole – evolving over the next 25 years?
Quite frankly, over the course of its history, MENACOM Jordan has seen it all. From volatile market conditions to economic recessions, to the geopolitical strife that plagues much of the region, the group has weathered every imaginable obstacle. Even in the company’s earliest days, it was clear that to survive – and thrive – in this industry requires extreme agility, and the ability to pivot in new and unexpected ways.
This is a lesson that businesses across all markets and industries have been learning in 2020, due to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. No one could have anticipated something of this scale and magnitude, but MENACOM’s previous experiences allowed us to adapt with exceptional speed and resilience. Beyond our seamless transition to a work-from-home model, this has meant taking a proactive approach toward rethinking our clients’ communications strategies, in order to reflect changes in consumer behavior and the new global reality.
Moving forward, MENACOM Jordan will further build on its commitment to continuous development, investing in new skills, tools, and technologies as swiftly and adeptly as possible. At the end of the day, our clients and business partners will always be the driving force behind everything we do: by innovating in ways that align with their best interests and business objectives, MENACOM will continue to be where it has always been – at the forefront of the Kingdom’s communications sector.