Lana Bedeković Rosandić – Bellabeat

Inspirational Women interview with Lana Bedeković Rosandić

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Lana Bedeković Rosandić is the owner of advertising agency Alert, with offices in Zagreb, Croatia and Ljubljana, Slovenia. She’s a fierce business woman and an advertising veteran with experience from all fields of communication and marketing.

I met Lana about a year ago and I’ve since had the pleasure of working with her and learning from her. She’s one of those women that pins you down with her intellect and takes absolutely no rubbish from anyone. An engineer of Architecture by education, she’s a seasoned creative and manager that wields her wits, skill and charm to navigate the extremely competitive waters of the marketing business.

Privately, Lana is easy to discuss life with as she’s never short on advice. Like with most successful people, her path to success was anything but direct and easy. She likes to say that even more so because she’s a woman. However, years of building her knowledge and growing her business has definitely paid off. She now owns one of the most important agencies in the region, trusted by Bellabeat and other international clients such as Mastercard and Nestle.

We caught up with Lana in Zagreb, in the midst of moving her office to a new location.

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INTERVIEW

1. Lana, you’re a creative, an engineer and a manager all in one. Being able to play several roles at the same, with the same level of dedication and skill must’ve been crucial in building your own agency from scratch. Can you tell us more about yourself, what you do and what drives you at your work?

I have a strong passion for my job, for advertising. I think it was crucial for the success of my agency since this job requires a lot of dedication, discipline and focus, due to short deadlines and diverse industries we work for. Also, I think that every successful advertising professional has to possess a set of different skills and knowledge - from people management skills to finances, but it is also crucial to have lengthy experience in different areas of communication, industries and artistic mind. My education in architecture and music (I am also playing the piano and flute) gave me the ability to see the projects in whole and have the big picture of what we want to achieve with campaigns, together with the ability to “see” and “hear” what I want to have as the final result.

2. After graduating from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Zagreb, you’ve worked for other marketing agencies before deciding to embark on your own path. As it mostly is with starting your own business from nothing, it was a big challenge to take on. Why did you decide to start Alert? Can you tell us more about those first years of starting your own business?

I was 29 when I started my own business but I still kept my job at one of the biggest advertising agencies and networks in the world. Since I held the top management position in the company I was working for, I was starting the day at 6:00 am, coming home around 8:00 pm (if I wasn’t traveling) and would continue to be in front of the computer till midnight at least. Most of the projects I did for Alert were projects for non-profit organizations and I was focused on fundraising campaigns. I have to be honest and say that I was afraid of leaving my job in the agency since the paycheck was secure and my salary was very high. Also, I was working in an international environment with fantastic global clients and was afraid, that as a local entrepreneur, I would lose the opportunity to cooperate with top advertising professionals from all over the world. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The first years were full of anxiety, trials and failures, enthusiasm, sleepless nights and wrong decisions. But also, looking back - I can not believe how brave I was. And everything paid off.

3. One could say that marketing and advertising is an industry as old as the trade itself. But even though women’s power as consumers has been increasingly growing for decades now and the majority of women act as chief purchasing officers at home, the advertising industry still seems to be dominated by men. What do you think about that and how do you see your field of business changing in the next decade, especially with new female-dominated social platforms becoming huge marketing channels?

As a strategic planner of communication, I conducted a lot of research in the past 20 years of my professional work in advertising. Women make most of the purchasing decisions or influence them - it’s nothing new. Understanding women is crucial for any business success today.

4. Speaking of social media becoming a powerful tool for advertisers, we can’t avoid asking about the dangers of having such access when it comes to female consumers. Social media is driven by authentic, user-generated content but we’ve seen advertisers adapting to that quickly by working with influencers and ambassadors. Such content has a lot of power that can affect female audiences in a negative way. We’re now used to thinking about meals, outfits, moments, bodies… in terms of what is “instagrammable” and “#goals” and are unhappy when our life seems like it doesn’t meet the criteria. What do you think about advertisers responsibility in a world like that? How can brands use social media in a positive way?

Companies or advertisers who do not understand that they have a responsibility towards society and their customers, in every aspect of their business, will not survive. Social media is only a mirror of what they do and who they are.

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep makes me a whole new person after a hectic day - I think it is crucial in order to keep up with my working tempo.

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep makes me a whole new person after a hectic day - I think it is crucial in order to keep up with my working tempo.

5. Studies show that the generation Z is shaping up to have unparalleled buying power in the vicinity of $150 billion. Besides that, it’s a generation unlike any before. The Gen Z grew up with unlimited digital access. They’re tech and marketing savvy. Research shows that their shopping patterns are changing whole industries. Besides having an attention span of 3 seconds, they look for honesty and authenticity when it comes to brands they decide to trust. Do you see this pattern changing the world of consumerism for the better or worst?

Our business did not change much in terms of creating great brands - brands that people would trust. Only the media channels and the purchase behaviour have changed. People will always reward authentic and honest brands - they just need to know how to address them - with the right message and communication channel.

6. Alert is now an established agency. However, marketing is an extremely competitive business that never ever sleeps. How does your regular work day look like? How important is work-life balance to you? Do you make sure you get enough time just for yourself?

When I was in my thirties, I was obsessed with the idea of work-life balance. I always thought that I must be missing something since I was working a minimum of 12 hours a day, including weekends. But, this is what made my company successful - hard work & commitment. Not luck, nor the stars being aligned. :)

Now, in my forties, I know that the most important thing in life is to set priorities and act according to those, without having any regrets and “what if” doubts. I still work a minimum of 12 hours per day - I take a few days off every 3 months and even have time for the gym and friends but the agency is my life and my priority. Other than that, I have fantastic co-workers and with them, every day is full of joy.

7. At first glance, your job seems very fun and glamorous. It’s creative, social and dynamic. You work with your team during the day and then you often spend your afternoons and evenings at events you organize for your clients. How do you make sure you have enough energy and power to keep up the tempo?

I am very disciplined in terms of the food I eat and my sleeping habits; I go to the gym whenever I can (at least 2 times per week). Also, when I feel that I have low energy or am stressed out, I take a weekend for myself only, and stay home - read, cook, watch TV series or movies. I love to cook and discover new healthy recipes - I do it almost every day. I found it to be the best stress release.

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8. Could you share some beauty and wellness routines you do in your daily life? What positive changes do you see from establishing healthy habits?

I eat a lot of vegetables, avoid sugar and gluten. I do not eat a lot of meat - only when my body “asks” for it. I love freshly squeezed juices, especially green ones. Light dinner is also obligatory. Additionally, I try to drink more water since I never feel thirsty and forget, but at the moment, it is my top priority. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep makes me a whole new person after a hectic day - I think it is crucial in order to keep up with my working tempo.

Other than that, I believe spending time in nature and doing some kind of sports activities is also important - not only for working women. I can feel a big difference when I make time for physical activity.

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9. Running your own business is stressful no matter how good you are at it. How do you manage stress?

I think that stress has reduced with experience and age. Nowadays, I rarely feel stressed - business issues can always be resolved, I learned that.

10. How do you see your life changing in the next 10 years, what would you still like to achieve? How much do you think about your health and well-being when planning for the future?

My health, as I am getting older, is more and more important to me. I guess, it could be a great challenge to keep my vitality and strength, but I am determined to work on it. Diet and exercise will have a main role in it.

I still have so many plans - professionally and privately - and in order to achieve them I have to be in the best shape. Or at least, try to achieve it. I already have much more than I ever dreamed of having when I was a young girl.

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