Advertising is a creative field where skill and talent matters, says Ravikant Banka
Advertising is about crafting communication that sells, persuades and informs people about the product, brand or a service per se. For those planning to take it up as a career, here’s a lowdown on the career options in advertising.
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, administration and finance.
The client servicing team, also known as account managers, forms the point of contact between the agency and the client. Usually, MBAs are preferred for servicing roles. Good communication and presentation skills form the core requirements for these jobs. 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.
Now let’s look into the most talked about department: the creative department. This includes two functions — art and copy. While art is responsible for representing ideas with visuals and images, copy has the mandate of bringing ideas alive with words. The art team comprises visualisers and graphic designers and is headed by the art director. The members of the copy team are known as copywriters and are headed by the copy director. Both the teams report to the creative director, the creative force of the agency who usually decides on the creative routes and the execution. Needless to say, good artistic skills along with expert knowledge of software like Corel Draw, Illustrator, Photoshop and Quark Express are a must for an aspiring visualiser or a graphic designer. Likewise, a copywriter needs to have an impeccable command over language.
To give the creatives their due exposure, the media planning team is the one that decides on the various media vehicles as per the client budget and brand needs. This is a specialised field that requires in-depth knowledge of various media channels and understanding of the TG to decide on the ideal media mix.
These days with the boom in social networking, digital marketing is also considered very important as many brands present online or even offline need leveraging on the internet front. There is a separate team for internet advertising in an agency.