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Interview With Lenja Faraguna, Speaker at BrandMinds


Let’s continue with our series of interview with one the speakers from the BrandMinds conference.

Today we will talk with Lenja Faraguna. She was declared one of 12 World Changers by the New York Times Bestselling author Roy H. Williams and one of 40 most influential radio personalities under 40 by the Radio Advertising bureau USA.

Check out this interview and make sure you will come at the conference.

Could you tell us briefly about your background?

Student of English and American grammar and literature at the Vienna University and Karl-Franzens University Graz, Austria. Fell in love with a radio guy. Fell in love with radio advertising and radio as the most visual medium (yes, I really said that 😉 where listeners become co-creators of ads if you know the 7 rules how to write one.

Got a scholarship, moved to London to write my Masters thesis on Semiotics of radio advertising = Grammar of an effective radio advertisement.
Collaborated closely with the association of radio stations – the Radio Advertising Bureau UK, got myself into every possible radio conference/workshop around Europe, for free, as a student, to to learn, learn, learn. Contacted everyone who meant something in the industry – no position was “too high to reach” to, to get an interview or ask for clarification about a part of my master thesis.

I came back to Slovenia, knew (in THEORY) what a life-changing difference a joined community of Slovenian radio stations – Radio Advertising Bureau Slovenia – could have for the radio stations and advertisers’ ROI but failed miserably. No one was taking this 26 year old seriously and I was “Miss Sensitive” and cried like a little girl when I go a few NOs. OMG, what amazing “shitty” memories which actually changed my whole life.

Never giving up on my radio love, in October 2010 I said “Fu** it” and drove all night to Berlin where (changing to a more business attire in the toilet of the Norwegian embassy) I met with radio people setting up a new all-european conference Radiodays Europe.

As one of 3 women among 20 big radio bosses from around Europe, I shared my voice – my ideas. And was heard. I was invited to speak at the conference, for the first time in my life in an international environment. I got “discovered” by an American radio enthusiasts/ coach and the CEO of a media organization, gathering hundreds of radio stations in Serbia, he invited me to there and in less than a year my failed dream from Slovenia became true in Serbia – Radio Advertising Bureau Serbia was born and is still going strong.

Started speaking around Europe about radio advertising.

You can actually watch a free clip here from the Next Radio conference:

Became part of the programming board for the biggest radio conference in Europe, for the one I was earlier applying as a student (12 years of hustle pays off, oh yes!), spoke everywhere.

Got un-loved by my husband. Got divorced. Had no money, no love, no baby at 35. Went through shit. Realized I was my biggest “contraception” and learned to bloody adore this shit as it became the fertilizer for all the glory that is in my life now.

My biggest breakthrough in business was TO BE ME, OPENLY and this is how I became truly VISIBLE.

How did you begin your career in marketing and for how long have you been doing it?

As a consultant for radio advertising since 2005 I realized that no marketing (advertising) platform means anything to the effectiveness of marketing, if you don’t know what your message to the world is.

And that was the challenge with most of my clients who came for my help about radio advertising. So, I started learning about marketing in general, I was starving for the right knowledge when “the wizard of ads” came into my life.

In 2007 I was chosen among thousands as one of 12 WorldChangers to participate at a mastermind at a private business university of someone that has changed my life, Roy H. Williams aka The Wizard of ads – 3 times best selling author.

Then and there my concept of old marketing died and since then I was implementing everything I learned, refined it by my experience with my clients in order to write my own DNA of modern marketing, I now call marCAREting.

Can you please describe the concept “marcareting” and why it’s important for the marketing world?

Watching and working with hundreds of female entrepreneurs/mompreneurs, start-ups and established brands – I saw a pattern. My advice on marketing strategies, tips, tricks meant sh**, because they would not execute them. Why? Because their mindset was blurred, they were shitlessly scared to go visible, to show their beliefs/ opinions and thus products or services to the world or do something “like there is no box” in their industry.

lenja quote

So effective marketing starts with CARING. You would guess “caring for clients first?” NOPE.

For yourself! Your story and stop playing the victim of “I can’t succeeded because I live in this country, this town, because we have competition, because the interview was only on 1 page, because the sun is shining yellow instead of pink…” (you get my point, right?)

The crucial component for marCARETing is mindset (self-awareness) together with being REAL, RAW, RELEVANT, HUMAN! This sentence right here is your short cut to effective modern marketing.

What are the struggles of the modern marketer and what can he/she do to solve them?

Get all these answers in my new book “THE NAKED BRAND” which will exclusively come out on May 22nd in Bucharest, when we meet. How cool & crazy is that? (Fingers crossed 😉

OK, in the core these are the challenges I keep witnessing for the last 12 years:
“She believes she needs to be perfect.

She believes the product or service is the star.
She believes that who you say it to is more important than what you say. She believes values/beliefs re too vulnerable too share.
She believes “professional” is the key to trust.
She believes “out of the box” is still the way to go.
She believes she needs the media to boost her attention.
She still believes we do business B2B or B2C.

In your opinion, which brand is doing a great job in marketing today and why?

Zappos. Why? The answer is hidden in their latest project: RoadShow

They have a bigger legacy than just seeing shoes & clothes & accessories.
About the legacy of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh read this.

They have values they actually live by and are not just superficially written on their website under “About us”.
They call their board of directors “Monkeys”and this takes balls!).
They answer every comment on their FB, just like friends would.

They tattoo themselves into people hearts and minds first (and only then their wallets).

Could you recommend two or more resources for marketers that read our blog?

Please give a shout-out to the people who will come to Brandminds 2017 and tell them why they should participate?

You will find yourself in the words of the speakers, you will feel as if we are “talking just to you”, because we have been through a similar situation, we will inspire and motivate you, make you cry, pi** you off, build you up, make you feel you are on the right track, surprise you, teach you but there is one thing we can’t do for you and this has to be in your DNA – go to action.

I believe that Flaviu with his BRAND MINDS EVENT has achieved to gather a tribe of people who know that “the endangered species of today’s success are not IDEAS but ACTIONS” and if this is your first time attending (or thinking about it), having such people around you will make you become the same.

A (wo)man who understand it is time for modern marketing, for bonding instead of branding, action not perfection, in order to make money globally and change the world by leaving a legacy bigger than your product or service. Amen.

brandminds conference

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Robert Katai

Brand and Communication Manager

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo