CEO of the Association for Communication & Advertising (ACA) Odette van der Haar outlines the various career streams in advertising.
Brand Manager/Strategic Planner
They inject a vial of water from the "Eternal Fountain of Youth" into brands and make them live longer. Their primary objective is to protect the brand’s credibility, identity, messaging, value and worth in the marketplace. A brand manager or strategic planner learns all there is to know about the target market and what makes them tick. Then they think about the brand promises and assess how effectively it is delivering. Then, they create a master plan for the brand.
* What do you need? A passion for new ideas, common sense, a keen eye for detail and being highly organised by nature. Above-average matric results in maths and commerce are a plus.
Client Service/Account Management
The client service person is the link between the client, the marketer and the advertising agency. They are exposed to all there is to know about both the clients and their brands. Essentially, they become the face of the agency. They’ll present work that the creatives produced (often all through the night), think of ways to ensure that the client and agency make a profit and they create that vital communications link between the client and the team back at the agency.
* What do you need? A keen eye for detail, a passion for people and building relationships. You also need a good all-round matric mark but above-average commercial subjects and maths.
Being a media manager is exciting and challenging. You decide how a brand or product’s marketing budget will be spent – the exact amounts as well as which media channels will be selected to most effectively reach a specific target market. The creative use of media contributes largely to the advertising success of a brand or a company.
To establish your career in media management, you need to learn about all the various media channels and think of creative and effective ways to use the right media options to reach a brand’s market.
Should you take the advertising message to the market through radio, TV, newspapers, or magazines? Do you go outdoor through billboards, street poles, and on the sides of busses and taxis? Or do you use the Internet, activations or ambient media such as washrooms and advertising in shopping malls? At the end of the day it’s you that gets to create the essential mix of communication tools.
* What do you need? Strong maths skills and a love for computers - media planning is about numbers and the creative use of media.
Copywriters are skilled manipulators of words and emotive language aimed at ensuring that advertising drives sales. Copywriting is about ideas. They reach deep down into the hearts of people to find out what moves them and put across advertising messages in a memorable way that influence product choice. In essence, copywriters learn about the world around them, think laterally, and get creative with words.
* What do you need? Strong language skills, a passion for reading and verbalising thoughts, as well as the ability to work in a team alongside an art director.
Art directors put strategic images with copy in print and radio adverts as well as plan TV commercials. They work closely with copywriters and crack a concept for an ad campaign. They learn as much as they can about the product or service as part of developing the creative insights. They have a solid ability to take business objectives, devise a concept, copy and finally create an ad.
* What do you need? Art directors are lateral thinkers and artists, are able to visualise, are experts on the marketing and advertising process and have raw creative talent. Art as a matric subject is a plus but not a requirement.
Ever wondered who came up with those stick-figure men and woman on road signs or in public bathrooms? Or the warning signs on the back of your favourite deodorant spray? It’s all thanks to a graphic designer. They design logos and brands. They work with typefaces and design corporate images and packaging.
So, what does it take to become a great designer? Learn about the problem at hand, think about visual solutions, and then create a graphic symbol that is unique. Often graphic designers evolve into Multimedia Specialists, working in the digital and virtual domains.
* What do you need? Creative talent, a passion for design and computers. Art as a matric subject is a plus, however it’s not a requirement.
Owned by the ACA, the AAA School of Advertising offers courses in various advertising careers. For more information, visit: www.aaaschool.co.za