Sell yourself to advertising

Anjita Pradhan


If communication of ideas features high on your list of job priorities, take a serious look at the advertising industry. Advertisement informs, persuades, competes and entertains. It informs consumers about products and services or cajoles them to change from one product to another. It competes with innumerable other messages directed at the consumer. To cut through this information overload and to create awareness and interest for a product or service requires great creative skills. Throughout Kathmandu there are approximately 3000 jobs in the top 15 advertising agencies.

Add more: A successful agency is a mix of post-graduates and graduates, technical graduates, and talented people. Getting a position in an advertising agency has never been easy. “Those who go on to get these positions enter a world where pressure is high, hours long and responsibilities very heavy but the horizons are certainly unlimited,” says Ranjit Acharya, CEO of Prisma Advertising. People who are self-motivated, confident, creative, enthusiastic, prepared to take on challenges and willing to work long hours are the kind of people advertising agencies are on the prowl for. Advertising is not just glamorous, but hard work, demanding, creative and also fun and fulfilling. There are various departments in the agency where you can prove yourself.

Customer Service: “New business or the customer servicing department is the lifeblood of the agency,” says Acharya. The responsibility of this department is to bring in clients and maintain a good relation with them. It is basically marketing the advertisement company.

Acharya says, “Anyone who has good public relations, who is extremely extrovert, friendly and hardworking is the kind of person who would fit this department.” He further adds that they must be able to interact very well with the clients and be extremely courteous to them. “The word ‘no’ should not exist in their dictionary. For clients it should always be ‘yes’ even if they demand their advertisement to be placed in media at any hour of the day” says Acharya. He informs that a person can start off at the junior executive level and can climb high if he has the right kind of dedication for the job.

Traffic: The majority of agencies, both large and small, have a traffic department. Traffic managers ensure the smooth flow of work through the various departments in an agency. “Since the agency is usually big and all the department have to coordinate with each other, the traffic department takes care of this and reminds each department of their deadlines and responsibilities,” says Acharya. It’s their responsibility to ensure that the right ad is received on time for appearance in the relevant media. The traffic department is administered by manger, who makes sure things fall into place and prevents chaos. Account management: Officially, they’re known as account managers, account executives or account directors. “They’re the people responsible for overseeing the entire advertising process — from assisting the client in putting together the marketing strategy, through to the production of the finished advertisements,” explains Acharya. They have to keep checking if the account is running profitably for the agency, whether the client is getting the best results from the whole agency team and if they have adequate resources on hand. The account manager supports the account director with day-to-day work on the account. To handle this workload, an account director needs to be a strategic thinker, a great communicator and have a sharp eye for detail. “An account director has to have excellent presentation skills, as he will be regularly called upon to present creative work and marketing strategies to groups of clients,” adds Acharya.

Research: “Researchers execute and interpret research that enables the agency to keep in touch with the market and understand consumer wants,” informs Acharya. They have access to social and demographic data and direct access to consumers through quantitative and qualitative research. Such research provides an objective view of the customer for the product or service on offer and gives an indication of the statistical likelihood of success or failure for a product. They even conduct focus group discussions to discuss a product or creative concept in depth, allowing the client an insight into the consumer’s attitudes. “Prior experience in any research organisation will be an added advantage for people who are interested in applying for the job,” says Acharya.

Creative: “The door of the creative department is open only for those people who can let their imagination run wild and who can make advertisement slogans click,” says Acharya. The people who come up with the ideas and turn them into ads are known as copywriters and art directors. In most agencies, copywriters, visualisers, graphic artists and art directors work as a creative team, producing ideas for television commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, radio scripts, posters and brochures. “Once they have come up with the ideas or concepts as a team, each has their own special expertise to produce a finished advertisement,” says Acharya. A great creative team is one that can communicate a client’s message in a way that is simple, original and persuasive. The sort of ads that make people want to buy a product or question the way they think about a particular issue.

Media: For an advertisement to communicate successfully with the masses, it needs to be seen, heard or read by as many people in the “target audience” as possible, at the best price. The media department’s responsibility is to make sure this happens, as they are in control of the client’s budget. “They have to be calculative and very good at negotiating,” says Acharya. They are also responsible for developing the detailed plan within a given budget that achieves the best exposure at the lowest cost.

Since they are the people who negotiate with various media houses selected, they try to get the best possible rates on behalf of the client. To get into this department one must have a commercial mind and a thorough understanding of all media available. Finance and administration: Like any other industry, advertising agencies too have finance and administrative departments. While the other departments are busy catering to the needs of the customers these two departments cater to in-house needs. The finance department takes care of the revenue aspect, profits, payment collection and banking while the administrative department takes care of the day-to-day office administration. Pay scale: “Depending on the individual’s ability and experience one gets paid accordingly,” says Acharya. Starting pay scales usually ranges from Rs 7,000-8,000 a month but for talented people with a proven track record the sky is the limit.