The study of advertising is all about how to collect and use information creatively to attract and inform consumers about a product or service. To do this effectively requires a curriculum that is designed to collectively promote the cross-disciplinary, cross-platform study of research, strategy, creative, media, and account service; the foundation for all brand development and promotion.
Research. Research provides quantifiable insight into the consumer group to be reached, overall market conditions and competitors within the brand category. Very simply, research is all about solving problems and answering questions. It is the first step in the development of any advertised message. Information gathered helps determine who needs to be reached, what needs to be said, where it needs to be said, and what the competition is saying. Advertising agencies utilize information gathered in very diverse ways in order to: 1) reach those most likely to buy or use the product or service advertised, 2) decide message direction and, 3) determine the best media vehicles to employ. Research professionals need to be data driven, organized, curious, and able to simplify complex concepts.
Strategy. Strategy, also known as Account Planning, is a bridge between research and creative designed to translate research insights into motivational messages. It's how we decide "what needs to be said" in marketing communication. Strategists need both research skills and creative insight. They deliver the core message strategy that the creative, media planners and other team members turn into great advertising.
Creative. The creative team is made up of copywriters and art directors. This dynamic team is responsible for developing the idea, writing copy, and designing ads that bring the brand to life for the consumer. This collaborative visual/verbal one, two punch is a very powerful and imaginative problem solving combination. Students wishing to pursue a career in either copywriting or design will most likely require further study at a portfolio school following graduation in order to complete a comprehensive “book” or portfolio of creative work, a requirement for any entry level job in copywriting or design. Students interested in creative should be open-minded, innovative, have the ability to accept criticism, be creative on demand, energetic, and be a bit quirky.
Media. Without media, advertisements we see and hear would never come to life. Media’s role in the advertising process blends both art and science. In today’s highly competitive market, media placement requires a very detailed and strategic delivery plan. The media buyers, planners and auditors that make up an agency’s media department work side by side with the creative team to determine the best media vehicle(s) for delivering the creative message to the targeted consumer. In addition, independent media agencies specialize in the buying of paid placements and develop close relationships with large media companies. Students interested in a media related career that works with print, broadcast, social and digital platforms should be good negotiators, analytically minded, good with numbers, well organized and knowledgeable about the highly varied types of media available.
Account Service. The account service team of account executives represents the strategic business side of advertising. Account executives work as liaisons between the client and the advertising agency. They are in charge of developing the creative strategy, defining budgets and working closely with the creative team on message direction. Those working in account service need to be strategic thinkers, patient, be able to work under pressure, be great communicators, be able to manage budgets, have excellent presentation skills, and be able to multi-task.