Careers in advertising
What exactly does advertising mean? Advertising is the art of conveying a message to the masses. Advertisements generally persuade people about products, services and even draw attention towards social issues. Advertising is one of the chief divisions of any industry that ensures the industry’s competitiveness in the corporate milieu.
At a broad level, a typical advertising agency will have these core departments: client servicing, account planning, media planning, art and copy. These are supported by the usual departments that are found in most companies — business development, HR, admin and finance.
The client servicing team, of account managers, is the link between the agency and the client, forming the point of contact. Usually, MBA graduates are preferred for servicing roles. Good communication and presentation skills form the core requirements. The team is headed by a Group Account Director who has account managers and account executives under him. Together, they decode the client needs and problems, and share it with the account planning team.
The Account Planning team then gets into action by studying the market forces connected with the client. This includes understanding the market field, identifying and analysing the target group (TG), and examining the competition and its strategy. Market and consumer research forms a key element of the account planning function. On the basis of their studies and inferences, the team arrives at the communication strategy to be translated into creatives.
And that brings us to the creative department. This comprisesart and copy. The art team is made up of visualisers, a profile that requires creative thinking and knowledge of software like Corel Draw, Illustrator and Photoshop; and graphic designers, ones responsible to create layouts, to give graphical effects, give finishing touches and play with colours and designs, needing to be experts of the softwares mentioned above. The art team is headed by an Art Director, a master of the visualization and graphics.
The Copy Team has copywriters who are entrusted with the task of bringing the brand message alive through words. They are the ones who come up with taglines, slogans, headlines and write script and content for TV ads, websites, brochures and the likes.
They are also responsible to come up with innovative concepts and ideas for campaigns. Copywriters need to be first and foremost proficient in languages. In India, English and Hindi are the key languages that are used extensively in the industry. A copywriter’s grammar must be impeccable and the command over the language should be unmatchable. The copy team is headed by a copy director.
Together, the art and copy team report into the creative director who heads and is responsible for the creative delivery.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in advertising, you must be highly target oriented and willing to work in a pressure cooker like environment. Since this industry is very competitive (the amount of brands available for every product you need speaks for the amount of competition that is primarily driven by market) you must be willing to give your best at all times to make a successful career. May it be in the form of writing, illustrating, or making films, advertising is a field, which gives you many arenas to exercise your creativity.
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain
The author is an MBA and an Engineer by qualification and is an advertising professional.