Kaktus Festival - An environment for ideas

This is the first year I'll be attending  the Integrated Communications Festival also known as Kaktus Festival, but probably not the last. The reason why I decided to come this year, apart from an invitation, is the huge number of recommendations I got from friends and colleagues. In a time of tech centered communication and “reach”, word-of-mouth marketing may still hold the most powerful influence, today. Besides that, I was promised to get the best coffee during the breaks engaging with some brilliant minds in the marketing world while doing so. 

What is Kaktus Festival? 

This is Kaktus Festival’s 5thyear to explore topics in marketing that will raise industry standards. The name “Kaktus” (cactus) was chosen because of the harsh conditions that a cactus will endure, and with the smallest bit of water will survive and grow. The goal of the conference is to be that impetus for ideas of the attendees to grow and thrive as well. 

The theme for this year’s festival is “Make Room For A New Bloom” focusing on talent and innovation inside and outside of the advertising world. Emphasizing such a theme will help open new angles and generate new ideas that we can watch break through industry standards. This year the festival will focus on those campaigns that go beyond the obvious and inspire something new. 

 Kaktus Festival will take place on October 29-30 at the Madlenianum Opera and Theater in Belgrade, Serbia. 

 Who should attend #Kaktus2019? 

Anyone desiring to build their business, learn about marketing, explore new skills, and/or grow their network. As I mentioned before, conferences are very valuable when it comes to expanding a carrier, but Kaktus Festival delivers a lot more. With the additional stage dedicated to startups and entrepreneurs, young people get the chance to present themselves and join the regional startup network.

Specifcally, here are three types of people who should attend and why.

The Creative - Creativity starts when fear fades.

We learn how to be creative, it's not something you're born with. There are many ways how to start, but I recommend reading books, exploring unrelated skills, travelling and meeting new people. Stepping out of your comfort zone means doing something you are afraid of every day. Most people are not comfortable going to conferences alone and being pushed to talk to strangers. Maybe it doesn't make sense to you, but creativity grows where fear disappears. 

The Learner - Talk about the right things in the right way.

Marketing and advertising trends change quickly and to stay relevant, you need to update yourself constantly. Festivals like Kaktus provide tremendous opportunities to connect with people, including industry-leading experts like Emanuelle Nenna, Giorgio Chiarmonte, Regan Warner. When attending conferences, you can listen to and engage with people one-on-one. You can hear about their current projects and challenges, and some may give you advice on how to enhance your work. You have the opportunity to ask speakers and coaches questions about their work and the basis behind it, which you can't do when reading blog posts or watching a video. 

If your passion is marketing and branding, or you want to run a startup, you can either attend the whole festival or apply for the educational program here. Both avenues provide the perfect opportunity for the learner.  

The Forward Thinker – See what’s coming next.

Marketing and advertising have always been focused on getting customer's attention using a creative or provocative approach. However, tactics and trends change because the audience will change. Habits and practices change. Today, more than ever, users are bombed with an endless (paid or not) promotions, and it's pretty hard to make them notice our message. The Forward Thinker needs to see what’s coming next and adapt. At Kaktus, we will all learn how to think differently and why it's so important for advertising. 

If you are interested in learning how to think differently, start with the book, Lateral Thinking.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Cactus Festival brings together speakers from the world of marketing and innovation, mentors from the former Yugoslavia and thousands of young and talented people, including future entrepreneurs, innovators, top marketers and enthusiasts who are determined to intent to change the world for the better through their call. The festival is held for two days and the program can be viewed here.