Partner’s Voice: The Huts Group – 30 Years of Meaningful Advertising

This year, The Huts Group celebrates its 30-year anniversary. The company has played a significant role in shaping the Bulgarian advertising scene and has trusted Work&Share as the place where the unique team’s inspiration comes to life for the past 4 years.

If you haven’t realized it yet, let me make it clear – never underestimate the power of advertising. A commercial can often be the difference between a customer buying or disliking a product. That’s why I have numerous hair products at home despite being bald and why I’ve never bought Bulka cheese (there was this cringy ad with a guy playing Romeo and a girl playing Juliet where the guy wanted to climb Juliet’s balcony while she was only interested in the creese…).

The advertising world is peculiar. It’s filled with creative and energetic individuals striving to find that one perfect message to target the audience and convey a meaningful message. It’s tough, often thankless, yet one of the most captivating industries to be a part of.

This is something Yiannis Manakos – CEO and founder of The Huts Group – understands all too well. He is our next guest in the “Partner’s Voice,” as The Huts Group and Work&Share have been partners for 4 years. We take immense pride in having a creative agency like The Huts Group as part of our community.

The Huts Group offers a comprehensive solution in advertising, boasting an in-house team of designers, copywriters, producers, capable of creating everything from TV videos to radio commercials, on-field events, media planning, social media management, and more. Their portfolio includes esteemed clients such as Coca-Cola, Shell, A1, Suzuki, Phillip Morris, Sofia Ring Mall, and many others. And it all began 30 years ago with one man’s vision.

“I arrived in Bulgaria as the Marketing Manager for Coca-Cola Hellenic, transferred from Greece. A year and a half later, in December 1994, I founded The Huts Group, leveraging my expertise and knowledge,” recalls Yiannis.

His journey is captivating – born in Greece, educated in New York, obtaining his MBA in London, and finding his place in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Three decades later, he can proudly say that The Huts Group has become a leading, long-lasting brand name in the Bulgarian advertising market.

Two things have kept us competitive over the years. First, our vision to employ talented individuals. Second, our commitment to staying at the forefront of development and technology. We always embrace emerging trends, be it social media in the past or AI now. Not only have we managed to stay ahead, but last year was our most successful financially in the company’s history,” shares Yiannis. “We always tailor our approach and tone to suit each client, which is why major companies like Nestle and Shell have remained with us for 30 consecutive years. This retention rate is no small feat, when it comes to such demanding partners.

In advertising, technology and the ability to innovate are crucial. However, nothing surpasses the importance of finding the right people and granting them creative freedom to work their magic.

For me, the most rewarding aspect of leading The Huts Group is bringing talented individuals on board. You can’t progress with an egocentric approach to business or without hiring skilled people. Equally crucial is keeping them satisfied and fostering a sense of shared purpose,” he remarks.

“For 30 years, The Huts Group has never incurred a financial loss, primarily thanks to its people. We weathered tough times, like during hyperinflation under Zhan Videnov’s government when most of the foreign advertising companies in Bulgaria closed. Proudly, we retained our staff and did not resort to layoffs despite the severe financial strain. Our employees appreciated this and subsequently worked even harder, leading to five years of continuous growth,” Yiannis reminisces.

Have you ever watched a TV commercial and thought, “I could definitely come up with a better one than this! Who even came up with something so ridiculous?!” It’s the paradox and beauty of the advertising world – you can never please everyone. That’s why understanding your target audience and the nuances of the region are crucial.

“Each market is unique due to people’s habits, personalities, and even the country’s history. The Bulgarian advertising landscape is in a steady grow. I see development in production as well and right now even companies from America and Europe come to shoot here and that’s great,” notes Yiannis.

It’s called a “creative agency” for a reason. One thing we at Work&Share take immense pride in is the inspiration and sense of freedom our coworking space fosters, essential for the creativity of The Huts Group’s team.

“We’ve been with Work&Share for four years now. Initially, some of my team recommended this coworking space, describing it as akin to a Google office – with meeting rooms, chill zones, and a spacious, creative environment. I visited, liked what I saw, and believed an agency would thrive here,” he explains.

The most important thing is the feeling this office gives the people. In our business it’s very important for the people to be happy and Work&Share provides that for us. Currently, we have around 40 to 50 employees, and one significant advantage of this coworking space is its flexibility. Whether I need to hire more staff or downsize, Work&Share accommodates us seamlessly. This place, with all it’s interesting facilities and free amenities, has played a positive role in our business development. The inspiration we find at Work&Share translates into tangible financial results for our company and continues to do so. It’s a community, not just an office. I wholeheartedly recommend Work&Share.

With technology and creativity as their guides, The Huts Group boldly faces the future, and we at Work&Share eagerly anticipate many more years of fruitful collaboration.

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