It’s that time again- when students graduate from 2 year portfolio schools, 4 year colleges, getting their MBAs and are looking for a job in advertising, graphic design, web development, planning, copy writing, media buying and account management.
This year, we’re even looking- for one of those “trumpeter swans” that David Ogilvy mentioned in his classic “Ogilvy on Advertising.” Hopefully, they are a skilled designer- who can work in all mediums- print, web, video - but, that’s not what this post is about.
It’s about selling yourself with your book. Which is kind of an old school term for a portfolio- in an age of Kindles and iPads and Droids etc. We’ve written previously about the interview process- having a story to tell, putting your best work together- the advantages of PDF etc in posts that together create the category: “Careers in Advertising.” You can read all the posts (now at 43) and there will be a test later.
However, with the country suffering 13% unemployment- and budgets moving online- things have changed since we’ve written our last how-to guide. So here are some new tips:
- Make sure your stuff works on all devices and all browsers- that means no Flash- which can’t currently be viewed on most Apple iOS devices.
- If you are going to claim to be an expert on social media- make sure you’ve been posting stuff that isn’t stupid- it will be checked. I’m also not just going to see what you said- what you retweeted- but who you follow. Pick wisely- I’m more impressed if you follow @rajsetty or @fredwilson than if you follow someone in the business directly- and if you follow @mrskutcher be prepared for questions why.
- Using tools like QR codes is fine- but, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason- getting a PDF with a QR code makes me get annoyed- if there isn’t a link right next to it- what, you want me to print it out and scan it. But if you do it right- and it adds a lot to your message- like the following- you’ve got a winner
- While I love looking at great work- I’m not impressed by people using these portfolio sites that have standard interfaces: Behance be damned. If you can’t come up with an original site to showcase your work- or have a blog of your own, you aren’t really ready to work in this field. You’ve got to have the ability to do your thing online- or you need to go back to school.
- Be on LinkedIn and have a network. I know you just stopped being a student, but- that cute girl getting an MBA- you want to be connected to her so when she ends up as the CMO of a major corporation in 15 years- you can get your new boss in. Even your parents are potential leads for work- use the power of the network.
- Tell EVERYONE you know that you are looking- and ask them to look for you. While we post our open positions on Craigslist- we’ve been getting more leads from Twitter and even through Facebook these days than through conventional ads. It’s more about who you know than ever- your power to connect is greater than ever.
- I’ve seen arguments about internships, paid and unpaid, but in this incredibly competitive market- now, more than ever, getting in the door, showing what you are capable of, is the best thing you can do- especially if you are trying to get into a “hot shop.” When I first started in this business I offered to work for an hourly rate that barely got you lunch at McDonalds just to get started (this was before the “value meal”- so I guess McD’s wasn’t a value then). I don’t regret it.
- Lastly- have a story. Yes, it’s about the work- but, at the end of the day, after looking at 20 books- the things that stick aren’t your GPA or your one or two killer pieces- it’s that story about how you got interested in this business, met Martin Sheen once, or lettered in Fencing. Personality is part of branding- and being just another pair of hands makes it hard to remember you. Read this book- “Personality not included” or if you need a crib sheet.
And once again- meaning to write a short post- I gave you more than I planned. I apologize for not having time to write a shorter post (and if you know what quote that ties back to- good, someone taught you right)- best of luck. If you are looking for a job in Advertising in Dayton Ohio- don’t forget our directory listing of Advertising agencies that aren’t The Next Wave- ti’s a great resource.
And- after posting this last night- I saw a tweet about 50 things every Graphic Design student should know:
From speaking to friends, colleagues and recalling my own experiences I’ve complied The 50, a list of 50 things I believe every graphic design student should know on leaving college. Some of these points are obvious, others less so – but all are brief, digestible nuggets of wisdom that will hopefully go some way to making the transition from graduate to designer a little bit smoother.
via The 50 Things Every Graphic Design Student Should Know - Jamie Wieck - Design, Illustration & Creative Thinking.
And if you read it too- you can argue with us on some of the points that don’t concur.
America has changed a lot since “Honest Abe” ran for president. There were no Madison Avenue types involved in politics in his day, no spin doctors, no data mining, psychograpics, demographics, Facebook graphs or Google Zeitgeist- a politician had to be convincing, charismatic, trustworthy and most of all honest.
There was a lot of door knocking, face-to-face time, speeches on town squares and debates- true debates. The candidate didn’t know his numbers- he knew people. His word (and yes his- there weren’t female politicians in Abe’s day) was his bond.
As advertising as we know it today was in its infancy, one agency, which grew to be the largest in the US- McCann, introduced its tagline in 1912- “Truth well told” which is still in use today. When it comes to great advertising, the most powerful tool at a copywriters disposal is still the same- find the one unique, universal truth about your client- and hoist it as high as you can. If there is one thing that consumers are on to these days its when they are being lied to in advertising (unfortunately- they haven’t figured out how to do it in politics yet).
Yet, a few days ago, I was a speaker at a social media conference- and looked around the room as I watched the back channel twitter stream fill with those buzzword bingo winners that spew out at an amazing rate of about 1 every 3 minutes. These “Big Ideas” get condensed down to 140 characters or less and copiously get sent into the twitterverse to have a half-life of about half a day (yes, Twitter is very temporary- as the service has grown, the length of time your tweet remains in their system has shortened exponentially- see this post of ours “Note taking at tech conferences is passé”) and include such nuggets as “EC=MC” which translates to Every Company is a Media Company- which all sounds great and wonderful, except that “EC≠MC” in my experience- which is Every Consumer is not a Media Consumer.
How do I arrive at that? I’ve run for office, something few people in advertising do- but lots of politicians are becoming more media savvy than us advertising folks- and here’s why:
We have reams of research and data telling us exactly what consumers are like, but it’s easy to get caught up in myths of popular culture — the focus-group-of-one trap — and assume just about everyone owns an iPad, tweets from their phone and times shifts TV.
Because everybody needs a reality check sometimes, we decided to take a decidedly non-scientific look at some Madison Avenue myths.
via Mad Ave’s Myopia When It Comes to Main Street - Advertising Age - News.
And yes- I tweeted a link out on this story as yet another social media experts (the biggest lie of all- as this has become so big, so fast that no one can truly wrap their head around the whole thing) tell us more about how our strategy should include at least Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Foursquare, Linkedin, Slideshare, blogging, and whatever else is trending that week. No less than 5 speakers used both the new Gap logo gaffe (it was in the last 3 weeks) and the Old Spice “Hello Ladies, I am the man your man could smell like” which ended with the hopelessly odd- “I’m on a horse” line.
Yes, you can now be a cowboy that smells good- the flipside of the classic Marlboro campaign I guess, yet- if you read about this amazingly “successful viral campaign” you find one set of stats saying sales are up 107% and others saying that the sales bump was caused by deep discounting via coupons.
Yet, despite all it’s success at viral exposure- as I walked through WalMart (where real Americans do shop- as we “on Madison Avenue” hate to admit) there was a video screen mounted vertically with the man on the horse running an endless stream of “Hello Ladies, I’m on a horse”- driving home the message at the last inch of the sale.
And all those people in marketing and advertising, who have an iPad, smart phone, eat organic, sip latte from Starbucks, has friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter- haven’t actually met mainstream America- up close and personal- like a politician knocking on doors, shaking hands and kissing babies. As an ad man who has, let me share this insight (and remember, I was only knocking on doors of those most likely to vote, because I’d be stupid to knock on every door)- there is a digital divide in this country- where people don’t have computers, don’t use them at work, don’t even have an e-mail address. Our country still is embarrassingly strong in illiteracy (even though we have “no child left behind” we’ve forgotten about all the functionally illiterate people we’ve produced over the last 60 years- the US is 27th out of 205).
Those “consumers” that we know so much about- don’t have health care coverage- so all those direct to consumer drug ads may fall on deaf (and illiterate) ears, they can’t jump online to get a custom video from Mustafa-they don’t time shift shows on their DVR, or order Blu-ray quality video from your streaming server.
What they do have is an increasingly smaller wallet (the economic gap in the United States has grown at an alarming rate thanks to our slick media spinning political types) and a tighter grip on their cash. They may be fooled once, but they won’t be back to buy your body wash twice if they don’t end up with the same magnetic personality of “The man your man could smell like.”
Unfortunately for marketers they don’t enjoy the same return purchase habits that politicians do- once selected, an incumbent product doesn’t almost automatically get re-selected again and again. There has to be something more in the equation to buy- like “truth told well.” That’s why this ad agency, with its worn shoe leather leader, has the insight to get buyers to buy more than once with your marketing budget. We know our mission statement has one extra word- “Create Lust • Evoke Trust” than McCann’s and that our promise to “Make you more money than you pay us” seem to come from the less is more school when compared to the mega-global agencies, but we still believe that “the consumer isn’t stupid, she’s your mother” (attributed to David Ogilvy) and that in all this social media mess of buzzwords and “new media” things haven’t changed much since Honest Abe.
Advertising has always about telling your message. Maybe that’s why John Wanamaker famously said “I know half my budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half”- and he was almost half right. Instead of telling your story- listen to what customers say about your brand and make new stories. Take this story about a hotel guest who tweeted about his stay at a hotel- and their follow up and it’s results (read the whole post to get the whole story):
So a tweet, a few emails, and all of a sudden I have a hotel in Boston that feels very much mine. Why would I stay somewhere else when I know the people, and feel like theyre genuinely happy when I come back again?
Its not about the discount - Id happily pay their going rate to stay there, just for the experience. But it is about the personal connections Ive made with people, the feeling of being a valued customer, and the sense that Im dealing with a business that really cares about the people that support it.
via Why Its Not About the Tools Again | Altitude Branding | Brand Elevation through Social Media.
There is a another old adage: People do business with people they know. Establishing connections, building a network, are part of building those business relationships. Twitter is just one more tool in the social media toolbox. How many tools is your brand using?
I saw a tweet from Jason Calacanis before the e-mail hit my inbox. Netflix was raising rates for a second time in 5 months on blu-ray disc access. If you are in marketing at Netflix, please note, he has 64,188 followers. Take that- and retweets- and you see the exponential nature of Twitter- instantly.
His original tweet:
NetFlix Blu-Ray bait and switch FAIL! Jump from $1 a month to $4 a month automatically?!!? http://post.ly/CYQ
Then, follow over to a twitter search on “Netflix” and you see the effect- instantly- the twitterverse is alive- with cancellations, downgrades and unhappieness. This is an opportunity for Blockbuster- but, they probably don’t know how to take advantage of it.
Over on Engadget- it’s breaking news:
Ruh roh. In a move that will undoubtedly cause an incredibly raucous stir, only to fade away as movie renters realize that Netflix is still the best deal going, America’s most adored by-mail rental service is hiking the price of Blu-ray rentals once again.
via Netflix raising rates for Blu-ray subscribers by around 20 percent.
The comments are flowing- who knows how many people will be blogging about this, and what kind of damage will be done. The pricing increases are heavy handed to begin with- but the automatic “Opt-in” to a price increase is a brand suicide move. Never, ever, force an automatic price increase without some kind of action by the customer.
On the Netflix site - their blog has an announcement- and the feedback isn’t going so well. Might be time to reevaluate how this works. Maybe a per-disc surcharge for blu-ray?
Either way- be careful how you treat your customers these days, they have the tools to talk amongst themselves and plot your downfall. Both Netflix and Twitter are populated by opinion leaders- who are very tech savvy. Your brand is only as good as your community around it. Netflix’s brand value is totally connected to the way their customers feel about them (as well it should be).
Watch this in the news. It’s going to be brutal.
I thought about writing this post in 140 character Haiku- but that would be tough and time consuming. Twitter is fast and instant. The simple answer to “What are you doing” can be the ultimate test bed for concepts to our attention deficit audiences. Want to find out what people think: test it on your followers.
Leading tweetheads can make hits magically appear on a site in minutes with a 140 character or less tweet with a link. Launching a new product? Want to test a headline? Tweet the variations to different audiences and see what hits show up. A whole new practice of market research will appear- with the ability to get almost instant feedback.
Soon PR and ad agencies will be evaluated by their social network juice. How many people can you connect to who will work as brand evangelists? Crispin Porter & Bogusky launched Subservient Chicken for Burger King when the agency was 150 staffers- by just emailing their friends about the site. Quickly, the site ended up on top of the viral site hall of fame list. Now the agency is at 600+ employees.
While Twitter is still only reaching a small subset of the population at large, it’s reaching the all critical early-adopter, influencer crowd. So along with client lists and credentials, maybe hiring an agency should also involve checking out their social networks. Friends, followers and connections are the new currency of media power- and a great 140 character (or less) headline will be critical.