Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Especially with the rise of online video, they have been very important in bringing our events truly online. One of our more popular events is the largest women in tech conference in the region. It’s an exclusive event. We don’t want to grow the live event over 150–200 people, just to provide a good networking experience. However, there’s always a lot of people who want to attend. At our last event, we had 200 people at the event, and 300 people watching online. This just wouldn’t be the case if our online video wasn’t as good.
For example, when we bring in our MC or we bring in part of the program, Neuralab advises us on how to include our partners, what the MC should do, etc., and we don’t have to worry. I think the biggest sign of their impact has been that the new version of Netokracija we’re working on now is going to be very video-heavy. They are our partner for these very premium videos, but they’ve also shown us that we need to focus on video even more.
Before Neuralab, we were thinking that we would do videos as an add-on. They showed us that, when you do videos right, you can have a huge benefit for both readers and partners. As people who aren’t necessarily thinking video-first, it shows us that we need to focus on the format more.
Now, we’re focusing our business and our publishing efforts on creating more video, both professional videos with Neuralab, but also ones we can do individually on blogs and so on. Those are formats that need to be more personal, but we’re still relying on Neuralab for the more professional and advanced formats.
How did Neuralab perform from a project management standpoint?
As a media organization, we’re not very big. Internally and externally, we rely on each other and our external partners, such as Neuralab, to be really self-manageable. We don’t have the time to micro-manage or talk about deadlines 5 times a week. We’ve never had an issue with Neuralab when it comes to timing. When we agree on a set deadline, it was done within that time. The only times that we’ve moved due dates or deadlines was when our clients or partners were delayed in providing content like logos. Neuralab has never been late.
What’s most important to us is that they deliver when they say they will. They were always very realistic with their deadlines, which helped a lot. In media and journalism, deadlines beat anything else. If a story or a video needs to be out by a certain date, it need to go out there. Neuralab has done their own media projects, so they understand that. In our experience, a lot of agencies come from a more traditional marketing background where you can move the deadline, but in media, you cannot. That is a hard deadline. Because of Neuralab’s understanding and adherence to this, our collaboration was always successful.
What did you find most impressive about Neuralab?
One thing is the consistency of their team. We’ve never gotten something from them that was just average. It was always very good or excellent. We’ve never had to send something back because it wasn’t good enough. So, consistency is a very big benefit. In my past experiences with agencies, they send their top people first to break in a new client, and then they send junior people, the quality falls down, and no one is happy. We’ve never had that experience with Neuralab.
The second point is that they’ve never tried to over-sell services that don’t make sense for us. We’re a media company, and we’re not a very well-funded startup that has millions of dollars. With some agencies, they try to sell things that you really don’t need. Honestly, everything we’ve done with Neuralab has always proved essential and always ends up making us money.
I think it’s fun to work with them. I don’t think we would be working with them if they weren’t our geeky-techie kind of people. When you spend time at conferences or other venues, the people need to be not just professional, but also fun and friendly to a point. I think that’s one reason we like working with them. If we weren’t working with them, we’d probably be sitting for a beer with them somewhere.
Are there any areas Neuralab could improve?
I think there’s an opportunity for them to really help companies like ours to think creatively about video. There are a lot of things they can help with, in terms of how to use videos creatively, that can be achieved. Because we, as clients, don’t ask for that, they don’t have the opportunity to even offer it to us. I think they should help their clients, including us, more with creative concepts and really push us to do the next big thing.
Especially here in the Balkans, video and YouTube is something that is still in its infancy, and there’s a lot of opportunity. I don’t think that even we, as a tech magazine covering the sector, realize what we can do. It’s hard for an agency, but I think there’s opportunity both for them and their clients to create something new. Basically, educating us even more would really help both parties.