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HomeSPECIAL GUESTIonut Andrei, CEO and founder of v8: Work is the vehicle that...

Ionut Andrei, CEO and founder of v8: Work is the vehicle that takes me to my destination

Ionut Andrei is an entrepreneur, marketing professional, communication strategist, and sometimes business consultant. He enjoys sports, fishing, bonsai trees, and proudly declares himself a happy father. With over 20 years of expertise in communication, he founded and has been leading v8 (a full-service creative agency) for over 10 years.

C&B: What is v8?

Ionut Andrei: v8 is a creative agency focused on generating value through ideas – as evidenced by the over 50 awards received in recent years for our portfolio clients. In simpler terms, we craft business and marketing strategies that we dress in communication campaigns yielding visible results.

C&B: How did this story begin?

Ionut Andrei: Over 10 years ago, we started with the desire to do “better” rather than “more”. And “better” translates into creativity – that’s our differentiator. The principle is that an idea can be a business generator as long as it holds value and complements a strategic direction. Although we initially began as a digital communication agency, our results recommended us to clients for broader services. Today, we are a full-service agency primarily delivering vision and creativity. When you have that, everything else is just a detail.

C&B: In childhood/adolescence…

Ionut Andrei: I wanted to become a great rugby player. It didn’t work out. Then a great electronics expert. Then a great economist. None of these came to be. (Please notice the repetition of “great” 😊) So, I went from selling ice cream to building computers, then to websites and online stores, and ended up with many years of experience in media and creativity. Throughout it all, I experimented as much as I could, tried to understand the consumer, and give them exactly what they needed. This slowly led me towards the communication field where I am today.

The common denominator in all of this is work. I understood early on that whatever I do, work is the vehicle that takes me to my destination.

C&B: What is the secret?

Ionut Andrei: Read, do sports, pursue your passions, ignore the news, take a walk every day, smile as much as you can. And spend time with your loved ones.

C&B: Did the pandemic, economic crises, or wars affect your business?

Ionut Andrei: The pandemic hardly influenced us at all. That’s because v8’s business model is slightly different. It’s a creative business, and creatives don’t find their ideas in the office. They need to live, experience, see, interact, all to generate value. And that means total mobility. In practice, when the pandemic hit, we simply continued what we were doing. Furthermore, we even gave up our extravagant agency headquarters since no one was coming to the office anymore. Three years later, we operate globally, exclusively remote, and it’s working wonderfully. The results speak for themselves.

C&B: What does mobility in your business activity mean to you?

Ionut Andrei: Mobility is sensational. It brings many advantages but also some minor inconveniences. We work from Barcelona, Basel, Cluj, Sofia, Berlin, Brasov, Vama, Bucharest, Delta, but we meet every morning on Zoom. This is sometimes challenging because not everywhere is in the same time zone. Otherwise, it’s extremely useful to know if there’s snow on the slopes, if there’s a crowd at the border, if there’s a concert somewhere in the world.

C&B: What arguments do you use to convince prospective clients?

Ionut Andrei: Reputation precedes you. That’s one of the laws of communication. If we’ve made it to the table with a potential client, it means we’ve done something right, that something speaks for us. From here on, it’s important to know that it’s not one line or three somersaults that convince them. It’s the way of thinking, the vision, the understanding of their business, and, last but not least, the alignment of values each believes in.

C&B: What advice do you have for beginners or the indecisive?

Ionut Andrei: To try. To make mistakes. Then, to make fewer mistakes and learn from them. Eventually, success comes. There’s no manual, everything comes with experience.

C&B: What is the society/generation you belong to like?

Ionut Andrei: It’s a question as complex as it is beautiful. And the answer needs a slightly broader framework to be properly understood. As a premise, I would say that we are perhaps the luckiest generation, those aged 45-50. Because we benefit from the experience of parents and grandparents who have been through almost all industrial revolutions, then lived through at least three technological leaps, and this process is not over yet. Realistically speaking, we’ve experienced society’s evolution fully, we’ve seen all that was beautiful, we have something to compare to. However you count it, you’re in the plus. Think about it, when my grandfather was born, the muscle/brain ratio in terms of work was 80/20. Today, it’s 20/80. Everything has changed in 100 years. Furthermore, the 20% remaining in the “muscle” area is on its way to becoming 10%, with the advent of AI. I know, I’m an optimist by nature, but if you take a step back, no matter how hard your daily life is, this journey is sensational and it’s just as spectacular to be part of this evolution. Where is society heading? It’s hard to say. If you watch TV, it’s certainly heading towards absurdity. If you talk to people who are making things happen, it’s certainly towards the good. One thing is certain, it will be increasingly interesting… and beautiful.

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