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Meet the Thinkers: Dragana Knezevic on how she helps clients launch to market, change perceptions and grow revenue

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1st May 2024

In a special new Thursday Thoughts series, we’re sitting down with some of the ‘Thinkers’ who make The Think Tank tick. First up is Dragana Knezevic, our Clients Services Director.

Since joining The Think Tank way back in 2008, Dragana’s become a key fixture of day-to-day life at the agency and has been the driving force behind too many campaigns to count. A senior figure at the agency, Dragana’s gained a reputation for drawing on her extensive experience across multiple sectors including construction, logistics, manufacturing and more to deliver stand-out results for clients.

We chatted with her to find out more about how she helps clients overcome their challenges, her thoughts on where B2B marketing is headed and how she brings The Think Tank’s teams together to produce award-winning campaigns.

Hi Dragana. First thing’s first: tell us a bit about your journey before arriving at The Think Tank.

That’s going back quite a while! I joined The Think Tank over 17 years ago, so most of my career has been here. Before that, I was at a small agency working on a few automotive clients and got nice experience working with brands like BMW and Hyundai across different channels. It was a very different time before all the tech that we have now.

You’ve worked across so many sectors in your time here – how does your approach differ from industry to industry?

It’s really about understanding that particular industry and the challenges that clients are facing. You’ve got to work out what they’re trying to achieve, who their customers are and how they operate. There’s some key questions to answer: Where do those customers sit? How do they consume their information? How do they buy?

And of course you need an understanding of the whole buying cycle and the people involved so that you can tailor your messaging and solutions for each particular project.

What would you say you’re best at?

I think I’m at my best when I look for solutions to tricky problems and coupling creativity with pragmatism.

Thinking outside the box is important, but also you need to weigh up creativity with the practicality of solving challenges for the client to consider what’s viable from different perspectives, whether that be budgetary constraints, audience considerations, tech challenges or whatever else.

I would also say I’m good at building relationships internally and externally. That’s really important on numerous levels. Internally, sometimes it’s a matter of getting the right people involved on the right projects to deliver the best results for our clients, as well as making sure that the whole team is pulling in the same direction.

And building trust with clients is so essential, because we have to prove to them that we really have their best interests at heart. We pride ourselves on being partners to our clients’ business.

Are there any campaigns you’re particularly proud of?

It’s like picking your favourite child! As you can imagine, over 17 years there’s a lot of campaigns that I’ve been involved with that come to mind involving very different clients and sectors.

We’ve just launched the latest integrated campaign for Asendia, a long-standing client, to promote its new e-commerce returns solution across multiple territories.

A lot of work has gone in from all sides of the business over the last four months to get to this stage, including producing content and creative assets, setting up the digital aspects of the campaign and working with our PR team to handle the press side of things – all with the goal of delivering Asendia’s objective of lots of quality leads. As you can imagine it’s been quite a complex process, but it’s a really good example of how a campaign comes together.

Another really special campaign was IRIS Masters of Time, a brand awareness push that ended up winning multiple awards and getting great results for IRIS. We had a lot of fun building the concept of a team of superhero characters and bringing the various assets together. We splashed out-of-home advertising across the London Underground network, so it was great to see our work up in bright lights.

There’s also the creative campaign for Lords Builders Merchants we’ve just done to raise awareness of its new stores in South West London. We worked with our creative and content teams to come up with some really fun concepts with product-based puns, which went up on billboards, bus backs and bus stops to get the word out. When it launched earlier this year we had amazing feedback and great results for the client.

What are some of the typical challenges facing our clients nowadays? How do you help them overcome these?

There’s always new things that are happening, but I’m not so sure that our clients’ fundamental challenges are that different to the ones they had back when I first joined The Think Tank.

As an agency, it’s something we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. In our view, there’s three key ways – three key pillars – that we can deliver for our clients: launching their product or service to market, changing perceptions around their brand or simply growing revenue.

Those are still the main objectives for every client to one extent or another, so I think that’s probably evergreen and that’s what our marketing looks to address. Being a fully integrated agency, we can address those challenges in a very holistic way.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution because no two clients are the same. It goes back to understanding audience segments in that sector and then approaching challenges with an agnostic mindset. By applying the right mix of integrated activity, we can achieve results in the most effective, impactful way possible.

What do you do to fuel creative solutions?

I read and listen to a lot of marketing related content to try and find what’s the latest thing and who’s doing what. I also draw quite a lot of inspiration from the work that our different teams do across the agency. It’s always interesting to find out more about what they’re doing and how they tackle particular challenges.

Sometimes, even looking at my son’s YouTube shorts and his memes, shorts and things like that can fuel creative thoughts and solutions.

What changes are coming over the horizon that brands need to look out for?

It’s not exactly revolutionary if I bring up AI here, is it?

It’s still in its infancy but it’s growing very quickly, and I think that AI tools and automations are a real opportunity for marketers. For me, it’s about finding the best way to utilise those tools. At The Think Tank we are investing a lot of time and effort into understanding AI and the opportunities it will bring for us and our clients.

We’ve already started using AI tools across our teams. It’s certainly not something that we see replacing our people, but it does help with a lot of initial work, brainstorming and bringing ideas to life.

The other thing I would mention is how the worlds of B2B and B2C are coming closer together. More and more, B2B buyers expect personalisation experiences that match what B2C already offers, so it’s something that B2B marketers should really be considering and utilising.

ABM [Account Based Marketing] was a buzzword for years, but with AI developments and that growing need for personalisation, it’s become a different beast. ABM basically means adopting a highly customised approach that’s specially targeted at specific key prospects. For brands able to leverage data and technology to tailor messaging for the needs of their individual customers, ABM can become a really, really powerful strategy.

What do you think sets TTT apart from other B2B marketing and PR agencies?

Our experience, expertise, personal approach, flexibility and integrated capabilities. There’s a reason we say we’re “Born to B2B”!

The Think Tank’s been going for 31 years now. That level of experience and knowledge and expertise is just immense. We have people at The Think Tank with amazing skills across a really broad array of marketing disciplines. Our integrated approach allows us to look at any objective or any challenge in a solution-focused way. We’ve got all the capabilities we need to utilise the best channels and can draw on the most relevant expertise to help each client meet their specific goals.

I really do think the way we work with our clients and build those relationships and partnerships is something that sets us apart. We get inside our clients’ business. We want to understand what they do, how they do it and then how we use that to help them achieve their goals. There’s no template for great marketing!

And, finally, to end on a light note: Who would be your dream dinner party guest?

Am I allowed two?

Firstly, Stephen Fry. I really love the guy, he has such a massive brain and I would just like to listen to what he has to say. And then I would need something to look at, so I’d invite Ryan Gosling as well. I think they’d enjoy each other’s company – and spending time with me, of course!

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