Saturday, November 23, 2013

15. Six Tips for a Successful Career in Advertising

Last week we had an amazing guest lecturer in our Creative Strategist class - Tracy Wong, the executive creative director and co-founder of WONGDOODY, the most awarded independent advertising agency on the West Coast with offices in Seattle and Los Angeles. Tracy Wong is a graduate of the University of Oregon advertising program and has nearly 30 years' experience in the industry. He is currently writing a book on how to launch a successful career in advertising, which is based on his extensive experience and personal success. I am very glad that he was able to come and share some of his knowledge and advice with us because they are definitely very valuable for any young professional aspiring to start a successful career in advertising.

Tracy Wong of WONGDOODY. Image via LinkedIn.

Here are his six insights and tips that he prepared for us. Following them will surely make you armed and ready to take on the industry.

1. The greatest creative barrier is your ego.
Egotism can hijack your career. Best tip for this? Don't be arrogant and learn to let go of your work - compromise and be open to other ideas. You are not your ideas, so never take criticism personally.
Besides, ego hides opportunities. Everyone wants to work on a big account, like Nike or Starbucks, but in fact, working on something small can open a door to great new opportunities. Tracy gave us an example of Old Spice, which used to be an average personal hygiene brand that no one really cared for nor wanted to work on until Weiden+Kennedy rebranded it. Now, everyone wants to work on it. Conclusion - where there is a problem, there is an opportunity. Embrace that.

2. 99 percent of a great idea is a great strategy.

 An idea without a strategy behind it is just pointless and thus doesn't have any chance for success.

3. The greatest creative weapon is you ears.

Listening is key to your success in advertising. Knowledge talks, but wisdom listens. Listen to your consumer, client, and colleagues with an empty, not open mind. An open mind means the door to your mind is open (so you are ready to listen,) but there is no room for a different idea. An empty mind, on the other hand, means that your mind is completely clean and ready to adopt a new idea.

4. Embrace compromise.

The client is paying you, so you have to recognize that they are always right and consider their opinions and advice. Talking and discussing issues with the client are extremely important for reaching a consensus.

5. Engage in a creative democracy.

Collaboration is crucial in advertising. The ability to work with your colleagues efficiently makes you a better professional. We > Me. And don't forget that your client has to be part of this process.
Anything is possible as long as no one cares who gets the credit for the work produced (the greatest creative barrier is you ego, remember?)

6. Love your client like you love your dog. 

It's all about a good relationship with the client. After all, it's them who you are working for.

I agree with each of Tracy's points and will try to follow them in my future career. Actually, I don't even have to wait - as an ad student, I can use some of these tips now, while working on group projects. Practice makes perfect, right?

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