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In today’s world, even the term ‘advertising agency’ is no longer strictly correct
Advertising Agencies today are called upon to plan and execute much more than advertising for their clients.
In response, many agencies are re-branding themselves as brand communications agencies.
The in-vogue term nowadays is Strategic Brand Consultancy. Agencies in the 21st century create and deliver communication spanning a verity of disciplines and media (Advertising, Public Relations, Promotion, Point Of Sale, Pack Designs, Sponsorship, Research, etc.)
The agency DNA is mutating towards communications, and away from just advertising…just being an advertising agency.
THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE:
The only trick is, learn the trade!
To be a true professional, you need to know your job really well. And to do that you need to know a good deal about the jobs that go before and after your job. Unfortunately for all the aspirants for the job of account executive, all jobs in the agency go either before or after the client servicing.
So you are perforce required to learn all the jobs in the agency, including stamp licking (and sticking) and dispatch!
WHAT ARE THE JOBS IN A COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY?
Generally, there may be a list of careers in advertising but the departments in an agency comprise Client Servicing (Account Management, Creative, Media, Production, Research, Support Services and Administration.
As a young advertising agency professional, or an interviewee for the job, you need to know what services the agency undertakes to provide the client and therefore what you are expected to know and do!
As clients place more emphasis on professionally trained management, the agencies mirror the preference for young business school graduates in Account Management. After a short internal training programme, they are usually confirmed as Account Executives. Succeeding designations in a successful career are usually Sr. Account Executive, Account Group head, Account Manager, Account Director, Branch Manager, General Manager, Vice-President, Executive Vice-President and finally CEO. With globalization, new designations based on geographical territories have also come into play. CEO – Asia Pacific, for example.
It may take up to 20 years to reach the top.
Most jobs in an agency start with a Client Request for some work. The request may be seen as a problem or as an opportunity.
An advertising agency’s Client Servicing team then hotfoots it to the client’s office for the critical function of taking the brief. Now, smart agencies do not just take the brief; they critique it and analyse it on their still warm feet. So that any obvious bloopers can be communicated instantly.
The process of analysing the brief continues back in the office. The market situation, competitive brands, competitive advertising, client plans, brand history and life-cycle – all these have to be factored in. A thorough account management professional, would have most of this data ready. Yes, that means that a bit of time and energy would have been spent in advance.
This is the reason why management graduates are usually preferred for the Client Servicing Executive’s job!
At the entry level, apart from your degree and the standing that your institute has in the industry, there is pretty little to recommend a young management professional. So the interviewer will probably use the old tried and tested methods.
#TIPS to get the JOB
- Dress for the part. A client servicing person should be well turned out.
- Take notes – in a notebook, on your phone, whatever. But take notes.
- Try and demonstrate an understanding of brands and consumers.
Back in the office, the servicing will brief the creative team, and probably the media on the work that needs to be done.
THE CREATIVE DEPARTMENT:
If you think that you can leave the paved path of the expected, to venture into the potentially prolific oilfields of imagination, you probably belong in this department. The formal designations include copywriters, art directors and the graphic artist (DTP).
The writers write (ads, print, TV, web, brochures flyers and so on) and the art people design (ads, print, web, etc)
Today, the roles are pretty much interchangeable, thanks to desktop publishing enabling the visually challenged copywriters to create a passable visual!
The Studio prepares paste-ups and layouts for print ads and television storyboards.
Creatives (writers) today do have institutes that at least hand out a degree or a diploma. Creatives (art) have had the benefit of sound art schools. Getting a job is easier if you have qualifications, or a student portfolio.
Student portfolios apart,
What does the interviewer look for in young creatives?
- A slightly different take on life – its realities, problems and perplexities.
- But still, do wear clean clothes, and project a definite image.
- Hippie is no longer an image. And do be on time.
- That’s one unchangeable aspect of the communication industry.
THE PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT:
In an advertising agency Production Managers/Executives organize material for handing over to media vehicles, according to specifications. Additionally, they calculate rates for printing, fabrication of various dispensers, etc.
Normally, young people who want a job in the ad agency production department would have some production/printing qualification from a technical institute.
THE MEDIA DEPARTMENT:
The final step in delivering communication to the target consumer is the responsibility of the media department.
Actually there are two steps. Planning, and Buying. The Planners study consumers’ media habits, evaluate media content and then decide which media options and vehicles to use. The Buyers buy time and space for communication in video and print, usually after hard negotiations, and then monitor to ensure that the communication appears according to plan.
Aspirants for a media job, would have a communications qualification, with some specialization in media. The reason for this is clear when we realize that there are more than 600 TV channels, 6000 movie theatres and innumerable publications in over 26 languages.
THE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT:
Consumers use products and services based on their wants, needs, desires and motivations. Researchers study consumers to find out what exactly they think. Researchers collect data, run internal and external research, create tools such as questionnaires and decipher and translate the data collected.
Youngsters who want a job in research in an advertising agency would have some qualification in data management, research methodology, and probably some practical experience in working for a research agency as questionnaire administrators.
Support Services and Administration
This department includes jobs ranging from accountants to security guards. Varies widely among agencies.
Follow these easy to use tips to help you with your agency job hunt
- First impressions do matter. Studies show that most people make up their minds about the people they meet in the first two minutes or less after meeting. Use these techniques to swing the decision in your favour. Be appropriately dressed; spent some thought and time on grooming; and always, but always, be on time.
- Your speech is critical. That is the second thing that people notice. Use whichever language you are comfortable in – English, Hindi or your local language. Save the Hinglish for work.
Take special care to be polite. To everyone.
There is no surer way to upset people than using the wrong name, or designation.
- Practice using non-verbal communication. Smile. Shake hands with a firm grip. Always carry a pen and pad; and use them!
- Remember to carry the relevant documents ― letter, e-mail, student portfolio, maybe a bit of proactive work done after studying one of agency’s clients?
These are the top priority do follow tips when you’re trying to get a job in an advertising agency.
The conventional form and structure of the ad agency is changing rapidly. The future is goingto see even more dramatic changes. The world is getting smaller, which means that clients’ markets are getting larger, even across countries and continents.
If the last decades of the twentieth century saw the break-up of the traditional agency into ad agencies and specialist service agencies, the twenty-first century will see a reversal of that process. Because brand managers worldwide have realized that a single agency needs to be the custodian of the brand. Plus it also liberates the brand manager from the hassle of dealing with a multitude of vendors.
The development of team creative processes will speed up beyond all imagination.
Clients will demand effective use of technology to accelerate processes and to eliminate unnecessary activities. Secretarial staff will decrease; computers will take their place. So the smart agency professional will learn typing and take computer courses.
New digital media will place increasing demands for ― in particular ― the production and adaptation of film material to be effected quickly and inexpensively.
“Top-down” structures that ensure the involvement of senior people on all accounts will become mandatory.
A large main agency will maintain a panel of creative hot shops at the service of the main agency’s clients, supervised by the main agency.
New media means new opportunities, but also the need for additional training. Keeping pace with technology will be fundamental to success in the industry.
Advertisers and advertising practitioners must also keep in tune with changing values, cultures and fashions.
THE GROWTH PATH
Contrary to popular belief, the number of years you spend in an advertising agency has no bearing on career growth. In the ideal world, performance is the only thing that counts.
The day you start doing the job of the next senior level, you get a promotion and it keep going on….