The Zagreb IT industry is quietly booming, while taking reporting and accountability to the next level. A case study of media monitoring startup Mediatoolkit on June 15, 2017, looking at the media impact of the recent Nikola Tesla EV Rally in Croatia.
It has been named by Lonely Planet at its top destination.
Its Christmas market, which only really started as an event six years ago, has been voted the best in Europe for the last two years in succession.
Its tourism numbers rival the top destinations on Croatia’s popular Adriatic coast, but Zagreb’s good news stories spread far beyond tourism. One of the least acknowledged facets of the city is the sheer quality and creativity of its IT sector, with an enviable range of innovative entrepreneurs working in back bedrooms, cafes and small offices to produce a range of apps and other products to ensure that Croatia’s global IT contribution is far larger than one might expect from a relatively small country.
There may be no major global players with IT offices in Zagreb, but the small local developers, who could perhaps have taken the cliched emigration route to Ireland and beyond, are choosing to stay in their homeland and make their IT contributions from their home cities. It has been a pleasure to have become acquainted with some of them over the last year, as well as privilege and inspiration, for it is easy to become downhearted when reporting on the realities of day to day life in Croatia. But spending time with this cool young generation of Croatian entrepreneur brings not only inspiration, but also hope that the corrupt practices so prevalent in Croatian society, may – at least in part – be coming slowly to an end.
One of my most exciting finds this year was a young Zagreb startup called Mediatoolkit, who specialise in 21st century media monitoring services. The standard press clipping service, where companies monitor the news manually for clients by keyword, then produce a daily report, is fast being replaced by much more powerful – and immediate – tools, through services offered by Mediatoolkit. Interested to see how your brand is doing online – from media reports to unhappy clients posting negative feedback – in real time? The Mediatoolkit service is one of the most powerful things I have come across. A notification seconds after your brand or keyword hits the web. From anywhere in the world. In any language.
A particularly powerful aspect of the service is its filtering options, so if a client wants to focus on a particular market, the tool can be set to specifically monitor that. Let’s say that Samsung launches its Galaxy 8 in Paraguay, and the company wants to monitor the media feedback in the local and national media. Simply select ‘Paraguay’ for location and ‘Spanish’ for language and choose your keywords, such as Samsung and Galaxy 8, make yourself a coffee and watch the results come in.
The applications for business and tourism are mouth watering. No more relying on the word of a sales rep or PR man on the impact of a project – Mediatoolkit brings the results for all to see, immediately and transparently. This got me thinking…
In a country with the levels of corruption and jobs for the boys which Croatia ‘enjoys’, projects which involve a cousin or three are always more likely to be funded than genuinely good projects without that special connection. It is the same in all walks of Croatian life, as in many places in the world – be it tourism, business grants or startup funding. The decisions can be justified in unverifiable statistics.
I recently took part in the Nikola Tesla EV Rally, an 8-day international rally from Istria to Zagreb via the islands and Dalmatia and the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. Now in its 4th year, the rally has attracted participants from over 30 countries in its short life, almost all first (but not last) time visitors to Croatia. This is the country where Tesla was born, home to the sunniest island in Europe, the home of the world’s fastest electric car (please drive a little slower next time, Mr. Hammond…), a country which has given over more than 10% of its stunning terrain to national and nature parks, and whose economy is the second-most reliant on tourism in the world. How to take all those components and package them into one event which would brand Croatia as a warm, eco, natural paradise, celebrating the man whose work changed the course of the 20th century and beyond? A Nikola Tesla EV Rally through some of the country’s best tourism attractions and staying in its best hotels sounds like a perfect match. And the story of a specially chartered ferry to carry only electric cars from the island of Cres to neighbouring Krk might have been largely ignored by the Croatian media, but the 2 million Facebook fans of the car maker Tesla were invited to watch the video – see lead photo.
This being Croatia, the rally receives almost no support, despite being a blueprint for a superb branding of Croatia. Having experienced perhaps the best organised event in my 15 years in Croatia (think about the logistics involved in charging 50 cars on the move through Adriatic islands and making sure ferries are available and on time), and especially seeing the glowing faces of all the international participants every step of the way, as well as seeing their photos and comments turned into media reports about the rally internationally, it gave me the idea to see what impact the rally has had – a rally with almost zero official financial support – and then to compare it to other, officially supported and well-funded projects. Time to set the Mediatoolkit boys to work. Above, international media mentions from a small, almost unfunded event in Croatia, with almost zero PR budget. By using the Mediatoolkit filters, we can compare the international impact, above, with the local one. With tourism all about reaching the global audience, this is a key way of assessing how much a project really hit its target market.
Which were the online sources of that media interest?
Change the filters for a national perspective.
One of the interesting aspects of the tool is that it gives information (and links) to websites and influencers who covered the event. Who would have thought that a small underfunded rally in tiny Croatia would be big in China?
One of the many extras included in the tool is information on the top 5 viral articles related to the event. I had to laugh when I saw the number one, not because I wrote it, but because the speed race of Teslas at the airport on the island of Losinj was one of the highlights for many rally participants – and one totally unreported in the Croatian media, as nobody was there.
Was this a project which had massive global impact? Of course not, but it did have significant reach, without a budget and with little funding, despite over delivering year on year with such a positive brand and blueprint for Croatia. What could it have achieved with proper support, and how far could this cool image of Croatia have been pushed globally with the right resources?
For me, Mediatoolkit is an essential part of my working day – it helps us be first with the news, it gives me in-depth analysis both of the topics, any competitors and new topic ideas. But it is the power to target specific niches, both in location and language, which makes it such an effective to measure impact and – a word which technology will bring more and more to the Croatian system – accountability.
Simple things, such as a tourist board campaign in a certain market. Did it work, or did it not? The numbers are easily accessible and the data transparent. The potential for saving money on failed and wasted campaigns, money which could be properly targeted to proven campaigns and events, is mouthwatering indeed.
This is a topic we shall return to, as time allows. It is time for a little more transparency in the Croatian system.
To learn more about the Nikola Tesla EV Rally, click here, and to see how Mediatoolkit could help your business, visit their official website. Perhaps my favourite example of an effective use of Mediatoolkit is from a company making Belgian chocolates. Every time someone posts on Twitter that they are looking for ideas for a birthday gift, the company receives an alert, after which a link with photo of enticing Belgian chocolates is posted in response. Sales have soared. Now THAT is intelligent, 21st century marketing…