The challenges of uniting two design studios

When Croatian advertising group Bruketa&Žinić OM was looking to add to its international complement of offices with a new base in Vienna, it teamed up with Austrian digital agency Netural to add a new flavour to the proceedings. We caught up with creative director Tanja Škorić and Netural founder Albert Ortig - who headed up the project, and is CEO of the new office - to find out more.

Q: How does the collaboration work?

Albert Ortig: "Bruketa&Žinić OM (B&Ž) group and Netural group still exist as separate companies, but in Austria, they run B&Ž Vienna as a joint venture, an autonomously acting advertising agency. Originally, B&Ž Vienna was focused on digital service design - the collaboration with Netural allows us to add analogue and digital communication to the mix."

Q: What do you think each party can bring to the table?

Tanja Škorić: "Both companies have over a decade's experience in their respective fields. B&Ž is known for its offline and online communication, and both ATL and BTL advertising – together with strong experience in design.

This joint venture will enable all of us to provide an even wider spectrum of products

"Through the years, we've worked with clients in almost all industries. Netural, on the other hand, has substantial experience in the digital world, from communication to developing complex digital products and projects. This joint venture will enable all of us to provide an even wider spectrum of products."

Q: What were the main challenges in uniting the two companies?

TŠ: "I think both companies were lucky to run into people who, though they hadn't met or worked together before, share the same values. We both focus on constant education and smart creative solutions that work, and believe an open, respectful relationship with the client is vital. I don't think we would have recognised each other as potential partners if there hadn't been such strong, high-quality communication on both sides."

AO: "Often with new ventures like this, the first step is the most difficult to take, but in this case neither side was overly timid when testing the water. Everyone was pretty enthusiastic about the first cooperative experiences."

Q: How did you go about aligning your creative outputs?

TŠ: "I don't think we were really facing two different visual directions, it was merely a question who did which type of communication more. Every medium has its specific demands. The B&Ž group already includes several different companies, including a branding agency, a digital agency and a studio specialising in architecture, retail and product design. All in all, we are already dealing with several different visual approaches, and have been successful in all of those so far."

Q: Anything exciting in the pipeline?

AO: "We can't go into any detail about any new projects here and now, but we will say that it is an enormous pleasure to be part of this collaboration."

TŠ: "As the office only opened really recently, we are busy getting things rolling. It's an exciting time and we're really looking forward to the beginning of the new season on the Austrian market."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 219.

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