Dario Regattieri, CEO at beon. Worldwide, reflects in this interview some of the changes undergone by the company, its new members, the international expansion of the holding group, the industry nowadays, and the current demands of consumers.
Dario, first of all, tell us about beon. present moment, right after the transformations that have occurred lately.
The last two years have been particularly intense for the company, due to the integration of two new agencies. Now we are immersed in the plan to be developed by beon. Worldwide in the next three years.
It is a crucial moment of consolidation for a SME that in such a short time has become a big group, both financially and in terms of human teams. This has forced us to evolve through an organizational transformation.
In July the beon. welcomed a new member, the communication agency Avantine. What was the objective of this new acquisition?
This operation arose in the perfect moment. Connoisseurs of the communication industry, and knowing where we wanted to be, our company had two options: undergoing an organic growth in our advertising and communication division, which would be slower, or to make an investment of these characteristics.
Avantine is a leading agency in the provision of creative services in Andalusia and with a growing potential in Madrid. Thus, this operation completed our previous investments, strengthening the advertising department since the acquisition of Sörensen with a team of more than 100 professionals in this area.
What is the aim in shaping such a multi-service company?
In our company DNA is the non-aversion to controlled risk, always from caution and financial feasibility. We follow a principle of not performing financial leverage for this type of operations. I am one of those who think that the next crisis is very close, as the macroeconomic indexes seem to indicate.
We understand that the traditional company model has become outdated. This was the first decision we took in the 2010 crisis: becoming a specialized company and niche in the events industry, or either a group of services organized by clients with multidisciplinary teams in all communication areas. We chose the second option, and started in full global crisis and our investment in an in-house, integrated production with the control of the entire value chain, from the concept to the final result. From there, we had to keep growing to offer a 360-degree service.
Nowadays, the present and the future of an independent company, when it comes to compete with the great multinationals, necessarily involves a structure comprising agencies of all professional fields?
In the field of events, a series of acquisitions and mergings with different mercantile objectives has taken place in the last two years, from entities not related to our sector, (investment funds, industrial corporations, etc.) to national big players, as it was the case of the acquisition of the group Sörensen.
The market shows a clear trend towards large companies. Even so, we want to continue being an independent group, with Spanish capital, always looking the next future and moving away from short-term decisions.
This is not irreconcilable with keeping your mind open to collaborations. Historically we have always been in favor of working with other agencies, in some cases some of our major competitors and in other collaborators, all to pursue the best project possible. It is naive to think that companies have all the answers. Of course, external innovation must be capable of integrating the value chain.
Do you consider that beon. right now is still an event management expertise or this specialization is part of the company’s past?
Events were part of our strategic principle and will still be. They are not just part of our past. Recently, Control magazine has bestowed upon us the award Best Event Agency 2018, a real honor to all the members of this big team, but even more felt when other professionals of your industry grant you this recognition.
We have taken crucial decisions indeed. Leaving behind such an important brand as Eventisimo because we were aware of the need to take a leap forward to a global brand. A brand that reflected all the activities accomplished by our group: advertising, communication, technology… And we stepped into the market with a brand than envisioned all this and our values: beon. Worldwide. International, agile, with transversal services… in sum, a different way to do things. Our next challenge is to consolidate our brand by competing in a global league.
What is the company approach to online advertising? Do you have in mind future acquisitions regarding digital or technological agencies?
Online advertising is in the spotlight. We are in the era of content marketing and on-demand consumerism. It is necessary to generate order in the market, I would not say in advertising, but rather in the digital area. We are still far from the trustability that offline advertising has always brought us. I am aware that this is the present and therefore it must be within our services portfolio.
Much has been said about Big Data, artificial intelligence, machine learning… and many other technological tools. I believe a lot in cognitive technology. Its correct implementation should lead us to a better customer experience, to improve production costs, to a better segmentation, of research and, in turn, better financial results.
How would you describe the present moment with respect to your clients? Is it there a new uplifting, positive atmosphere? Are they ready to do new things and invest in communication?
Communication is very fragmented as traditional communication plans have given way to omnichannel marketing strategies. ). We come from years in which fees and profitability were so tight that certain actions could not be proposed. Back then all professionals should do everything by themselves.
Brands are also experiencing a generational change through a global marketing vision that compels them to measure their ROI, optimize their resources, and adjust their investments. There is where professionalization, specialization, and scalable economy favor companies that offer integrated services; companies which are dynamic in their response to the needs of the market.
The way companies did things in the past does not guarantee their future.
What about consumers, could you tell us something about their situation? Is there a risk of a constant block due to the overwhelming information overload?
Right now, consumers are very active; having all the information at their fingertips makes them very demanding. We live in the era of immediacy, high consumerism on demand, and constant change. The companies must to be prepared to give solutions to the brands with respect to those demands from their clients.
Consumers have changed the way they communicate with brands, from being a passive subject to participate in building those brands. The current consumer profile does not only search a product, but a whole experience. And this includes the brand’s values, corporate responsibility, and commitments.
This past January you opened a new office in Paris, adding France to your European headquarters. Are the company’s present and future a question of international expansion?
Our company has always been internationally-driven, both in strategy and experience, since we have already operated in more than 30 countries. An important part of our turnover generates outside of Spain. This is why we needed to have there our own delegations and, therefore, we decided four years ago to open our first office at an international level in Italy and later in Portugal. This year we have opened in Paris, France, and in 2019 we foresee two more international offices.
Finally, what objectives are in the 2019 horizon?
Several challenges await us ahead, in terms of both structure and business. Among them, our positioning as a global service provider: we want to be seen as a comprehensive, unique business solution with the creation of bridges between our offices for the brands, regardless of the country where they operate.
The other major objective is business diversification. We have always been very close to the technological and the digital. We do not rule out initiatives in these industries within our investment strategy, always connected to the world of emotional communication.
Also, we have started our path in the entertainment industry as investors and co-producers of the musical El Médico with a world premiere in Madrid this October and that will be now touring across Europe. Soon we will announce another big event within this industry.