The first thing that you notice when you enter the office of Vidi Vaka are illustrated walls showing the most famous comic heroes. The most dominant one here is hero Tex Willer – an outlaw with a strong feeling for justice and honor. This is more than symbolism.
As you will find out through our story, the media Vidi Vaka functions as an "outlaw" for 5 years already and acts rebelious on the mainstream media scene on which the wrong heroes dominate, trying to provide space for the ones that need it the most - the disenfranchised, voiceless, discriminated, but also for the young and full of perspectives, forgotten by institutions.
The beggining of Vidi Vaka
The story of Vidi Vaka starts 5 years ago, when Mite Kuzevski, executive director of Foundation IDEA JIE that is behind the brand Vidi Vaka, along with Goran Igikj, program director of the Foundation, provide the first means for starting a media.
"In IDEA we have dealt a lot with topics regarding youth education, debate, media literacy, new media. At the same time, our common background is journalism" says Igikj. Five years later, Vidi Vaka is a media with millions of views of their content on a monthly basis, with a loyal audience and an image of a media that is a messenger of the voiceless in society.
"The average percentage of the audience that interacts with some content on Facebook is 5%. For the content of Vidi Vaka, that percentage is 54% or 10 times more. And there is only one reason for that - our art of telling stories" says Mite Kuzevski.
Development plans and the project "Media for All"
The public quickly accepted the concept of Vidi Vaka, sharing videos and multimedia content on their social media profiles, making almost every post go viral. Vidi Vaka is moving in the right direction and that was shown by the fact that, even before a concrete strategy for commercial offering of storytelling services was developed, a large number of organizations and companies, especially subjects of civil society, began to "look for the product before it was offered."
Processes and work with Thomson Foundation
When it comes to the experience with the "Media for All" project, the first thing that Mite and Goran unanimously emphasize is professionalism and focus on real, tangible results.
"Partners in the true sense of the word. Everyone we had contact with at any stage of the project saw the project as their own, cared as much as we did, rejoiced with us at each successfully realized phase that we planned. It's an incredibly positive experience" Igikj said.
The first stage was creating a business plan. At this stage the support was related to providing two experienced consultants who should help with creating the business plan. After the business plan was completed, we moved to it's optimization, with a mentor who had very significant experience in the same segment in which Vidi Vaka planned to function - Jernej Verbic.
Jernej played a key role in adapting the business plan, because he had already successfully walked that road and knew exactly what to focus on and what vital resources could be saved on.
Another crucial thing, which is perhaps the most important in the whole process, was the fact that unlike other support programs that provide consulting support for development of a business plan, the Vidi Vaka team could also count on the means to effect the business plan.
According to Mite and Goran, this was crucial to the success of the whole operation, because it gave them space and freedom to implement their ideas and thoughts without compromising on quality and ambition.
New people and new processes, but also new challenges
The first task envisioned with the business plan was recruitment of human resources that will carry out the development of the storytelling studio. Mite and Goran had a clear idea of the profiles of people they would need, but agreed that first they should choose someone who would lead the entire operation - someone who is skilled in business development, but also has a great knowledge of the main brand activities so far - journalism, communication, new media, technology. Darjan Radenkovikj, a longtime acquaintance and collaborator of Mite and Goran, will soon come to this position.
First results, successes and development, new products
The plan for the first year was moving in two main directions. To strengthen the sale to existing clients from the civic sector and to turn it from passive to active through a proactive approach to them, instead to approach by themselves as they have done until now.
The second direction is to reach new commercial clients, companies, offering existing services - native video advertising, brandocumentary, storytelling strategy, while building and promoting new innovative products of the storytelling studio such as interactive video, immersive storytelling, data storytelling, edutainment and the like.
"An excellent first signal was our engagement by a marketing agency for a social responsibility campaign for one of the largest national brands - Skopska Pivara" said Kuzevski.
It is this trust in the brand that has contributed to the storytelling studio being able to pilot a large number of the planned new products much earlier than planned. Thanks to the trust of the Swiss funded Increasing Market Employability Programme(IME), the first regional interactive video for promotion of tourism for the largest domestic tour operator Fibula was made.
At the same time, the first project based on data storytelling for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy was realized, which increased the portfolio of the storytelling studio in just a few months, and expanded the range of products offered.
However, at the end of the day, the best indicators of success are always the number of clients and the revenue. The cross-section made before and after receiving support from the project Media for All shows the following: The number of clients increased from 14 in 2020 to 23 in 2021. At the same time, the revenue grew by 30%.