Hey all! Wow, it's Wednesday. :( I can't believe that we are halfway through the first week of the One-Week Job Program. Time is truly passing quickly. I'm having a splendid time learning all about how a marketing agency operates. I'll tell you a bit of what I'm learning, but let me first say that there is a difference between marketing and advertising. You'd find it shocking to know how many people deem marketing and advertising to be the same thing. At the very least, many people unconsciously use the words interchangeably. To explain it simply, advertising equals marketing, but marketing does not equal advertising. Think about that for a second.
Generally, a marketing agency comprises of:
1) Account management - Account management has to do with meeting with a client, securing a client, maintaining a client's account, and anything else that has to do with that. Examples may be meeting with a client to formulate and choose a marketing package for them, or maintaining their Facebook and Twitter pages. Because I am drawn to meeting new people, getting to know them and their needs, and subsequently creating a situation for them that suits them best, this would be the best role for me. Thus, the title of "Account Executive."
2) Creative services - Creative services has more to do with the thought process and physical work that is behind a graphic that is needed. I'm not creative in terms of artwork or design. I don't view things visually in that way, so this role would definitely not be for me. It's fun to throw out ideas and have opinions, but if I can't draw or use any design programs...there's an issue. The product needs to look good.
The components vary from agency to agency, of course, but most companies have these two.
I mentioned in my previous post that there are two full-time employees that really keep REACH marketing alive. Ryan deals with most of the duties of an account executive, and Jeremy deals with the creative services, those of a Production Manager/Art Director/Creative Director. Despite the fact that there are specific duties for both roles, with Ryan and Jeremy, they may overlap at times.
Yesterday, I worked with Ryan on account management efforts. I went with him to a big client meeting at a fancy club. The client, FASTSIGNS, is a signage company whose main marketing goal is to let people know that they do more than banners (e.g. ones you might see in a high school basketball gymnasium), also known as what is called "vinyl signage." FASTSIGNS leaders want the public to know that they do dimensional signs, directional signs, construction signs, and more.
The meeting saw several FASTSIGNS owners, all ready to hear Ryan explain different marketing techniques, and how much attention they have attracted for FASTSIGNS in past months. After hearing this, the store owners were to decide what combination of marketing methods, if any at all, to use for the upcoming year.
Methods discussed included an iPhone app, social media such as Facebook, and organic search engine optimization(SEO) vs. paid ads. Speaking of SEO, one of my tasks this week is to write several articles for a specific company in order to move them higher in search listings. This takes a certain amount of research and skill, so I'm doing all that I can with the knowledge I have. One major reason I enjoy working with REACH is because I have a personal interest in the world of Internet marketing. Despite the fact that I have little experience with what REACH does directly, a lot of what I'm learning on the job will help me become more proficient at making money online, should I choose to pursue the industry.
So. The meeting lasted nearly three hours.
I wasn't bored though! There was great food, (I did get a little concerned with what eating utensils to use for what food – 7 of them? What happened to the good ol' 3: fork, knife, and spoon?), and I was genuinely interested in witnessing several personalities try to come together and make a decision about their company's future. In a way, I felt as if I was a part of this serious movement...to bring joy to people by making them amazing signs. It was a...fuzzy feeling.
“SURE, WE CAN TALK ABOUT CAREER AND PASSION LATER, BUT RIGHT NOW, THIS COD IS MY PASSION. IT TASTES SO GOOD!”
Today, I worked with Jeremy on creative services efforts. We met up this morning at the same church from Monday morning. His goal was to show me a little bit of the process that goes into designing branding/marketing material, be it a logo, invitation, poster, etc. We worked on the beginnings of a logo for a group of doctors. He told me about a specific brainstorming exercise he learned in school: word association.
Much like the name, you start with one word or idea, and then you write down all the words or ideas that come to your mind when you think of that initial word. We discussed how important a graphic designer's job is. With regard to the doctors' logo, we came up with different fonts and items that would represent the image the company wanted. It wasn't easy at all. The implications of one's design choices are heavy.
Jeremy gave me a hypothetical situation of what he was talking about. Imagine this scenario:
You're designing a logo for your church, and you buy a photo from iStockphoto.com. Everything's wonderful, the church loves your design, and they end up keeping it as their brand. Word gets out, and at Sunday service, everyone keeps complimenting you on how great the logo is. They thank you repeatedly. Fast forward one month. It's Sunday again, and someone comes up to you and points to the logo on the church magazine that's released monthly:
Fellow church-goer: “This is your design, right?”
Fellow church-goer: “It's really nice...though I've seen this image somewhere...can't remember...”
You: “Oh, probably on iStockphoto. I got part of the [image name/type] from there.”
Fellow church-goer: “Oh. Oh! Now I remember, this is the same [image name/type] they use for the strip joint on 75!”
Funny story, I thought. Last time I checked, a strip club and a church didn't have the same mission, and neither one of the businesses would want to convey that they do. That's how much control a graphic designer has. He/she can completely ruin or better an organization's reputation. Graphic designers can essentially, like any other media we are exposed to, think for us. If we let them do so.
Later in the day, Jeremy introduced me to two of his friends, Dennis Cheatham and Josh Wiese. Dennis and Josh are Art Directors as well. In line with my fascination with communication, it was nearly comical to watch the three designers talk seriously about fonts, printing companies, and again, the double-edged sword of a "superpower" that graphic designers have in relation to the public. On a side note, there was also this weird chair in the office we were in. Scary stuff, haha.
So What About You? ! !
Do you think about/question the legitimacy of the published media that you are exposed to? Why or why not?
If You don't, try it. If You do, try it more often. In my opinion, while communication media as an umbrella gives us information, it is our responsibility to interpret it, and to find out answers for ourselves. Let me know what you think, friend.