Frequently I am asked, "What do you do for a living?" My reply varies, yet usually starts with, "I work at an advertising agency."
There are few individuals who understand what that means, usually because they're in the business, too.
I've found that there seems to be a certain mystique about what advertising agencies do. Many people look at me quizzically and inquire further, "What do you do there?"
It's an appropriate question as full-service advertising agencies perform a myriad of tasks for clients. It also isn't the most common profession, does not it lend itself well to a simple explanation.
So I explain further, "We as a team are responsible for client relations, advertising budget consultation, strategic planning and development, creative writing, directing, assisting with the production of radio and television commercials, public relations, print ad ideas and design - and finally- creating a finished ad campaign targeting the desired audience.
To put it simply, most managers and business owners don't have time to meet with all of the individual vendors and sales people from various media. That's where an agency comes in.
Truthfully, I wasn't sure what an advertising agency did until I began working in the business. Having always been drawn to media and social services, I have worked in newspaper and radio sales and for the government as well as local non-profit organizations. I didn't truly discover my passion until I worked in an agency environment.
My position is account manager, often referred to as account executive. The title doesn't come close to explaining all of the tasks required. Account Management requires creativity, the ability to multi- task and meet deadlines. I am responsible for meeting with clients and discussing their specific goals for growth in their industry. This is one of the most interesting aspects of my job. I have the opportunity to learn about different industries on a regular basis and it's never boring.
Once the client and I have determined what their goals are, it's my responsibility to take that information back to the agency and formulate an advertising plan that will help the client meet the outlined goals.
This process consists of industry research, working with our media department on budget plans, plus brainstorming ideas and creative services with our team and determining which forms of advertising are best suited to delivery of the specific message.
The creative services I am responsible for range from writing and assisting with production of radio and television commercials to copywriting for brochures, billboards or print advertising.
In some cases, the client will have a clear idea of what message they want to convey and the image they would like their business to have. In other instances we're asked to create a logo to successfully brand a business and position them in the minds of their consumer.
Either way, it's my job to put a strategic advertising plan in place and oversee the creative process to ensure the plan is executed in an effective and timely manner.
The true satisfaction comes when all of the media components work together in a successful campaign and my clients see tangible results. I enjoy what I do and think that I am very lucky to have found a career that is stimulating, creative, challenging, rewarding and effective. I am certain not everyone can say that about their chosen field.
There is no simple explanation of our industry or my position in particular. So, when speaking of my career I try to mirror the rule of thumb for billboards. The rule is simple. Billboards should be an exclamation about, not an explanation of, your product or service. With that being said, my exclamation is, "I love my career!!!" I really don't think there is a better endorsement than that. Having heard our industry referred to as "a necessary evil," I can say I understand that point of view on many levels. I have found, however, when executed properly and professionally, there is nothing evil about advertising. If one chooses to view advertising as a necessary evil, it is important to remember it is the necessary evil that keeps commerce alive.