The Serbian Internet Domain Day – DIDS 2023 conference was held on March 7, 2023, with the participation of several renowned speakers, lecturers, and panelists. An exceptionally high attendance was the best proof that the topics covered were fresh, well-selected, and interesting, all in accordance with this year’s slogan – Think Digital.

DIDS 2023 was opened by the Ministry of Information and Telecommunication Secretary, Mr. Milan Dobrijević and the Director of the Serbian National Internet Domain Registry Foundation (RNIDS), Mr. Dejan Đukić, merging the values of continuity and development. As RNIDS celebrates the 15th anniversary of the inception of Serbian .rs domain registration, which started on March 10, 2008, the ministry intensively promotes the implementation of high-speed internet access to Serbian rural areas and schools, harmonizing the domestic legislation with the newest global norms and European Union standards.

The first keynote given by Dave Birss was a specific challenge to the audience which had to re-think thoroughly how exactly the customers could be enticed to be loyal to a brand. According to Birss, customers do not appreciate much anything they achieve too easily and without effort. Birss has a special name for the efforts invested in reaching a goal – friction, and he believes friction is a vital value generator for a brand. A brand can create positive friction by setting a goal for customers. For reaching that goal, customers have to invest some real effort in order to earn ‘the right’ to enter a relationship with a brand. The result of successfully performing such tasks is the creation of emotions of being special, and belonging to the brand’s exclusive community. Also, during the process, happy chemicals get released into the customers’ brains, forming a long-lasting emotional bond with a brand.

Family Businesses and Next Level panel brought about a fruitful discussion on generation change issues in Serbian family businesses and on interpersonal relationships in companies where the managers and employees are at the same time family members. Two fathers and two respective sons from two distinguished Serbian family companies emphasized that their starting positions were extremely different – while the generation of founders started their businesses out of existential necessity, the heirs have had to address a totally different set of challenges, many of which connected with the issues of digitalization and use of high technologies. The panelists concluded that harmony and giving priority to the family are pre-conditions for securing continuity of business and smooth generation transition.

The event continued with three remarkable lectures: re-branding of website, branding the tradition (embodied by Rakija – a Serbian national spirit drink), and how to achieve a positive multilingual user experience. Although the topics were substantially different, they all showed a huge space available for innovation in Serbia, conquered slowly but surely by young people ready to answer to any imaginable global challenge they may face.

Right before the panel Digital Business Solutions from Serbia, the results of the Use of Digital Technologies in Serbia survey were announced. Performed with the participation of 650 Serbian companies, the survey showed that half of them use email services from their own domain, out of which 69% are .rs domains. The website owns 82% of them, out of which 2/3 are in the Serbian domain space. However, only 36% of the polled companies perform sales through their own webshop. Favorite social networks for selling products and services are still Facebook and Instagram, with the increase in the use of LinkedIn and TikTok. An untapped business asset is by all means Viber, as 90% of the polled use it as the preferred instant messaging platform.

Fredrik Haren gave a closing keynote about creativity. According to him, it is crucial to fight two misconceptions: that creativity is scarce and that it is uniform. Creativity has hundreds of faces and many of them directly correspond to local cultural patterns. The responsibility of a business is to identify and support those patterns that will succeed in a given targeted market. Fredrik also talked about another problem – a frequent occurrence of faulty self-perception that is connected to creativity, exhibited by a lack of self-confidence. As Fredrik put it, it is always better to be overly self-confident than modest, otherwise, the creativity might degrade and disappear altogether.

DIDS 2023 was marked by digital transformation, a full embrace of the internet and other business technologies, and the challenges related to branding under current circumstances. Positive impressions regarding the ability of the domestic economy to adapt and succeed in the global markets are an excellent reason for all of us to gather again next year at the DIDS 2024 conference.

The recording of the conference can be viewed on the RNIDS’ YouTube channel.