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Having completed an advertising copywriting class at SCAD-Atlanta recently, I no longer have 'copywriter envy.' A few months ago, I thought about chucking it all and applying to The Creative Circus and pursuing copywriting, but that dream has passed. As a former journalism student who wrote arts and entertainment pieces while juggling a full load of classes, an internship and a job, I know it's tough to come up with ideas and get them down on paper, especially under strict deadlines. And that's when you're writing about stuff you actually enjoy. Imagine how difficult it is to come up with great concepts when you're working on a less-than-stimulating account or have a conservative client who's adverse to anything too edgy. And then trying to churn them out for endless hours every day. Writer's block is inevitable. Creativity comes to a standstill.
In what was essentially a refresher course since I previously took a class years ago at Adhouse in New York, the goal was to help me in my pursuit of being a 'creative account person.' Someone who can mesh the two key components, the strategy and the concept, effectively. The most amazing concepts in the world won't work if there's no strategy holding them up, keeping them on track to achieve the client's goals. And the most clever strategy won't work if you don't have a compelling way to get the point across, in a way that touches on the audience's emotions - their wants, desires, joys and fears. An account person who has an understanding of both is highly desirable in today's business climate, where the more you know, the better.
As a marketing professional, I encounter many 'artsy' types in my work, such as graphic designers and photographers. From my observations, they are a unique bunch, not always on the same wavelength as account management people. Sometimes, there is difficulty communicating with each other. Therefore, it's important to understand their needs, too, and it's helpful if you speak their language. I strongly believe in us all being better communicators so we can accomplish things as efficiently as possible. As they say, time is money, and no one likes to waste either.
Reading trade publications, plus miscellaneous industry-related websites, blogs, and design books keeps my mind fresh and inspired and always thinking of some idea that could one day work for my company, that hopefully, my boss will also like. If you're lucky enough to work for an organization that embraces your creativity, that?s a nice place to be, but sometimes it's a battle to get your ideas chosen. I think I can feel the pain of copywriters and art directors who struggle with this day in and day out. And I understand a little bit better now what that's like. I face that in my job sometimes and it can be frustrating, but I have come to understand the limitations of my position and how I might need to be in a different environment to really thrive and have the creative outlet I seek. In my future career path, I strive to be the kind of account executive who can address the client's needs and keep the creative department satisfied as well, someone both can like and respect.
So in working with 'creatives,' I feel it's imperative to be one yourself - talk the talk, walk the walk. Try to understand their perspective. Participate in the process.
I don't mind being a 'suit' at all, as long as I have a creative outlet, too. It's a happy mix of both things I like about this business, using all of my strengths and not being pegged with solely one label.
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