In today’s digital world everything is connected. We send music from our laptops to remote speakers using Bluetooth and check emails on the move using smartphones and tablets. More and more of us have apps that carry out remote functions like controlling the thermostat and turning on the oven. Italian entrepreneur Daniela Chiariello was ahead of the curve on this. She understood that for advertising and communication to be successful, it would have to adapt to our digital lives. In 2002 she founded Activart, a Naples-based agency that has pioneered digital integrated communication campaigns for industry, academia and public bodies.
A new era emerges
“I came from the world of cultural heritage, museum cataloguing and art history,” Daniela explains. “While I was volunteering at the Capodimonte museum (in Naples, Italy) almost 30 years ago, I realised that the world of art tended to only speak to experts. I saw a real need and opportunity to communicate to a wider audience.”
In the late 1990s, Daniela completed a postgraduate course on communication and multimedia publishing, as well as a Master’s in web writing. It was becoming clear to her that mass communication could no longer simply use traditional channels such as print and TV; there was a need to harness the power of the Internet as well. “This is where my knowledge of programming languages entered my more classic world of art and writing,” she says.
Transforming the sector
Around this time there were also few multimedia web-oriented applications being used in southern Italy, and even fewer communication agencies capable of utilising these tools. This often meant that the web-based side of communication was entrusted to specialised programmers, who knew very little about web writing, web design or communication strategy.
“I was able to set up a nice team of qualified professionals and requests for work soon arrived,” says Daniela. “In the beginning we were often contacted by universities, which were having difficulty in simplifying their online content in order to better communicate their activities.”
In common with all entrepreneurs Daniela faced a number of challenges. She recalls meetings with clients who would refer to her male colleague on the technical aspects of digital communication, and only turn to her for discussions on the creative side of things. Nonetheless the satisfaction of having created something that did not exist before, as well as the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship, has made overcoming such obstacles worthwhile.
“I manage my working day in a very free and flexible way,” she explains. “I divide myself between the work of planning and drafting within the company and meetings with clients.” Daniela is also involved in the Unione Industriali di Napoli and Enterprisingirls, an Association of female entrepreneurs and professionals of which she is Vice-President. “If you are an entrepreneur then you need to believe in what you do, fight for your ideas and projects and be ready for a change at the right time,” she says.
Making a difference
The company currently consists of four members of staff including Daniela, and also works with a number of external collaborators. “Everyone needs to communicate and our clients come from all sectors, from heavy industries to the creative industries,” she says. “Though marketing and digital media are the core businesses of our company, we also promote business culture and gender equality in schools, as well as educational applications.”