Wednesday, January 10, 2007

ÖYKÜ Hospitality

Let me tell you a little story.

There’s no hospitality like Turkish hospitality: something I’d read about, but discovered first-hand when I met with ÖYKÜ in Istanbul. In a city with more than 10 million friendly people, the visit to ÖYKÜ is a standout.

ÖYKÜ is one of Turkey’s leading independent advertising agencies. It joined Dialogue International in July, 2006 and has more than 50 people in two offices, Istanbul and Ankara, the nation’s capital. It’s a signficant addition to Dialogue International, which now stands at 24 advertising and marketing agencies.

It’s also a big reason I went to Istanbul. I wanted the chance to see one of Dialogue’s newest members with my own eyes. (Since I’m Chairman Emeritus of Dialogue, I guess it’s okay to drop by for a visit.)

I think I met most and talked with most of the Istanbul team – even had a chance to sit down around a conference room table with them.

Then a long lunch and more talk…about advertising, about the future of Dialogue, about the Turkish economy, about politics. Beyond any walk through a local bazaar, ÖYKÜ is an adventure in a dynamic marketplace.

For all this, I have to thank the agency’s president, Necati Özkan; the agency’s strategic planner, Renan Tavukçuoğlu; and Pelin Özkan, the managing director of publishing house Kapital Medya.

The new ÖYKÜ office here is in upscale Akmerkez, one of Istanbul’s modern shopping, office and residential complexes. Having recently pitched and won new clients like Kiddo, the Turkish childrens’ footwear store chain as well as the 35-year-old Laressa Furniture store chain, ÖYKÜ has also started its WOM division with projects for Danone (with Renan as its director); it’s already a powerhouse for Turkish infrastructure companies’ advertising and media relations.

More important, it’s an outstanding group of people, passionate advertising professionals in a dramatic city. ÖYKÜ is intimately involved with the whole Turkish market because of its client base, its advertising activities, and magazine and book publishing (through Kapital Medya). I could feel the vibrations of the economy in the ÖYKÜ office.

Read about what’s going on in Turkey in any decent newspaper or web news service: upcoming presidential and general elections mean potential instability in both the economic and political environment – in the short term. There’s the issue of EU membership as well.

I got a good sense of this from Necati. Not only the founder and president of ÖYKÜ, he started his career as a political consultant in 1983 during Turkey’s general elections, served as a campaign leader for the Turkish Socialdemocrat People’s Party and lectures about Communications at Maltepe University. He’s the author of books about Turkish political campaigns and about as interesting a lunch companion as I could ever expect.

It’s a particularly fascinating position from which to run an ad agency – especially because of the “bi-lateral” connections with other Dialogue agencies that have been walking the same political consultancy/advertising path.

Necati feels just as passionate about the potential of our 20-year-old network of independent advertising agencies: it has formally added ‘Dialogue International’ to the ÖYKÜ company name.

ÖYKÜ will host both Dialogue International’s Managers Meeting and Creative Forum in Istanbul in April, 2007. I’m glad to have seen for myself what’s on offer in Turkey.

Especially since the agency is dedicated to building stories about its clients’ brands. In English, öykü means “little stories.”


Chuck Curtis said...

Beautiful blog, Richard. And wonderful writing, as always. Thanks for giving me a vicarious trip to the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

Dear Richard,

Thank you very much for your kind words. It was our pleasure to meet you and Barbara. Also thank you for the time you took to visit with us and meet our staff. We all hope to see you again.

Best regards,
Renan Tavukcuoglu