Turkey 2014 | ICT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hülya Cesur, General Manager of GODE Istanbul, on the advantages of using the company, Turkey's global perception, and where the advertising market is heading.

Hülya Cesur
Hülya Cesur, born in Sofia in 1983, graduated from TEV İnanç Türkeş School. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Boğaziçi University in 2006. She earned a certification as a minor in Fine Arts and also Cinema by taking selective courses during college education. She is the Partner and Managing Director at GODE Istanbul Advertising Agency. Cesur provides services for the FMCG, fashion, education, aviation, technology, finance, heating and air conditioning, cosmetics, tourism, retail, construction, and medical sectors. She is also an Executive Board Member of Boğaziçi University Alumni Association. After completing Boğaziçi University’s Executive MBA program in 2012, she started lecturing on advertising, strategic marketing communications, service marketing, entrepreneurship, world of agencies, and creative people management at various foundations and colleges.

For foreign companies to get established in the Turkish market, what are the advantages that only GODE Istanbul can provide?

We have a highly creative team and an extensive network, including stakeholders and successful business partners in advertising. In addition to this, our rate of staff turnover is low, and we have retained our talent within the agency. However, most importantly, we have solid relationships with the media. For brands that want to establish themselves with strong and widespread roots in the Turkish market, it is necessary to work with an agency that can trigger the local powers and opinion leaders to meet their clients' objectives in the Turkish market. GODE Istanbul fulfills this need very efficiently.

How has the global perception of Turkish brands changed over the past decade?

Not only has the standpoint of Turkish brands changed, but also the brands themselves have changed notably. For instance, the concept of corporate identity and standardized or regulated operations in the past were largely the preserve of foreign companies and brands. However, Turkish brands today are in a transitional period, having become corporatized, both in understanding and operation. Therefore, they are increasingly speaking the same language as global counterparts, in turn making the Turkish market a more responsive, emergent, successful, and flexible one.

What are your expectations for new digital advertising agencies?

My expectations are high because the digital advertising sector is growing extremely fast. It is not a mature environment yet, as many brands are not familiar with what it entails. What you can do ranges from basic services such as a digital campaign that only includes a banner, right up to a digital advertising strategy that has an inbuilt synergy between all digital platforms, not only for digital advertising, but also for business development. Digital advertising helps brands to grow their business by linking to the wider world. It is a highly influential tool in terms of customers, and we want to utilize it as best as we can. With this intention, in 2013 we established our second agency, HAWAII Digital Works, in order to provide more concentrated service in terms of digital advertising.

Where is the advertising and marketing sector in Turkey headed?

I think the journey has just begun. Before the 1990s, Turkey was solely a producer; however, today we have become a seller, too, where services, marketing, and advertising have become essential. We are becoming marketers, advertisers, and service providers. When you look at the breakdown of services and production in Turkey's GDP, you note that 10 years ago production accounted for 60% of the economy, yet today the opposite is true. We generate the bulk of our revenues from services, and now the entire Turkish market is aware of the importance of advertising, branding, and marketing. During Turkey's economic crisis of the early 2000s, the first business cut would be made to the advertising budget. Now, businesses are aware that it should in fact be one of the last to be cut; this required a paradigm shift in business mentality. Advertising budgets are growing annually and many foreign advertising brands are keen to establish a foothold in Turkey. I believe there is a very bright future, because we have many local talented advertising professionals who are well educated and are globally aware of what is going on. Foreign brands should take advantage of this to entrust their most precious brands to Turkish hands in full confidence for a successful outcome.