Balkans.com: As Head of Public Relations for HRH Crown Prince Alexander, you are working with many aspects of public relations. What is important in PR that one should keep in mind?
Katarina Jakovljevic: Cultural forms tend to change. But knowing good manners means allowing the liberties and showing respect to people regardless of their social status, religion, political inclinations and background. Having Their Royal Highnesses as my employers and mentors for over six years gave me the access, perspective and insight into what today’s world is about. Therefore, I consider myself very fortunate and privileged having Their Royal Highnesses guidance. Cherishing their example and life’s achievements I was awarded by the best mentors.
Balkans.com: What is the key element to PR and how does that apply to the environment of public relations in Serbia?
Katarina Jakovljevic: Communications is a key element of any successful business. Therefore, public relations are of vital importance for business leaders as well as high governmental officials. It is vital to portray a company or an individual in a positive manner and to be always available for answers to any questions target audience may ask. Without public relations, a company or organization would have great difficulty in positioning a product and creating the positive image.
I must say that the setting and environment when it comes to Public Relations in Serbia have developed a lot in past ten years. Not only that the business community utilized Public Relations as a part of its Executive Management, but more importantly these skills are now studied at more and more Universities within the regular curriculum-a great step forward after the first postgraduate program was held in the mid ‘90.
Balkans.com: What are the biggest challenges and/or rewards?
Katarina Jakovljevic: The biggest challenges traditionally come from misinformation and lack of communications. Therefore, the need to plan ahead and work with the media and all other relevant audiences is vital. Like in most other countries in the world Public Relations as a profession and the function faces challenges of its own reputation. Unfortunately, there are some media which is negative and with predominantly sensational approach in reporting, which reflects badly by itself, but the general public is accustomed to negative media and more and more people tend to ignore it. Public relations involves good relationship and an understanding with the media.
Information flow is very fast in the era of digitalized media. A good PR must be a person of high ethics and with developed strong sense of responsibility, having in mind that more than 80% of press releases are the main source of published news.
What makes it all worthwhile is the thrill of winning in the communication arena and delivering your best, knowing that the pleasure of a job well done is a reward by itself.
Balkans.com: Our readers are business people and investors either present or ready to launch in the region, what PR advice do you have for them?
Katarina Jakovljevic: An investor should entertain the offers of several agencies for the public relations agencies’ advice to match their own style and requirements. Serbia has many highly qualified PR consultancies - some of them parts of international networks - as well as very knowledgeable consultants that are good and have capacity to help investors. PR is much more than a job, it is often a lifestyle and reputation management that requires in-depth knowledge, research and expertise as well as keeping up with the top communication trends.