There’s one word that describes his career path, he says. Chance. Anything he’s ever started was by chance, which for him is the moment when opportunity meets preparation. He’s been a sales representative, used to have his own brand for lingerie. At some point, he quit this and moved to advertizing. Being out of his comfort zone, is what bought him where he is today, he says. And if you wonder, today he’s in the co-piloting seat of the first creative tech academy in Bulgaria that aims to educate world-class talent for the gaming, film and design industry.
Milin Djalaliev brings along 16 years of experience in advertising and branding and has held various management positions. Ten of these years he spent as a manager of Saatchi & Saatchi in Bulgaria. Djalaliev is also the program director of a Master’s Program Advertising, Business Design and Brand Management. Around a year ago, he joined forces with former Pixar art director Antony Christov to create ARC Academy, a holistic school for createch talent.
We met Milin Djalaliev to ask for some advice on building a brand and reaching out to your customers, that we hope will be useful for the local innovation ecosystem. And we have to say, we got some myths busted too.
Trending Topics: What is a brand?
Milin Djalaliev: You are a brand, the same way I’m a brand (smiles). You could judge by the logo or the way someone is dressed, but the truth is, a brand is not something you could touch or measure. You understand what the brand really is, the moment you feel it.
The soul of the brand is the projection of your own dreams and beliefs, and it should be authentic. You start building a brand by putting on the table all your dreams and beliefs, and you project them.
How important is a claim?
It’s not that important. It’s not what you say, but how and why you say it. Years ago, it used to be important.
How important is to state your company’s values on your website?
It’s important to put it somewhere so everyone knows it. But once you start treating values as brand identity, this is not authentic anymore.
Who from the team should be involved in the process of development of the brands?
The short answer is everyone. When you start a business, the brand is created by the pieces of everyone, and it’s the teams’ projection. Everyone is responsible for this brand. Everyone will be judging the brand based on personal relationships with the team.
The biggest mistake you’ve seen in the process?
People spend too much time in shaping, creating a brand. The truth is, the brand is shaped once you start doing the real work.
When is the exact moment you need to start thinking about your brand?
You need a product before you start with the branding because it is a reflection of this product. Once you have a clear vision about the product it’s time to start.
When should a company start communicating its product? I’ve met companies that don’t want to communicate anything before the product is perfectly polished…
Once you have a clear idea. Me and my partner, for instance, drafted out the idea about ARC Academy, and by this time, it was not even called ARC Academy. It’s important to think about the fact that once you start talking to people everyone helps you to shape this brand. Start talking about your vision so other people help you shape it further.
What is the difference in the strategy between B2B and B2C?
With the B2C the image of the brand is very important because that’s what people decide on. In B2B it’s more about the personal experience – the relations with the sales guy, with the developer, etc.
What would you advise a B2B tech company on a short budget regarding advertising?
The logic is the same regardless of the budget. You should know your segments. Especially in small companies, you need to know and think about the real person behind the segment. If you are part of my segment, I should dig deeper into what interests you, what your habits are, what is your media behavior, so I know precisely how to target you. Once you create segments, start thinking about people you know already.
What’s the role of the technology and data in this process?
Technology is a tool. Before this, you need creative thinking. Tools only help you to spread ideas.
Behold, there’s more. In the next weeks, we’ll let you look into the way Antony Christov from Pixar sees art, creative industries and the role of tech in them.