A New York Minute
This past week I had the opportunity to travel to New York and visit a few agencies with other students as part of an Advertising trip that is offered each year by the College of Journalism. I had found out about the opportunity through Jacht and was interested to see what agencies, particularly those that were more traditionally advertising and public relations, were like in a city like New York. During my stay although eager to visit The New York Times and CNN, two of the more “journalism” agencies that were in the line-up, my schedule ended up filling in time to visit a handful of agencies including Cake / Havas, JWT, Dro5a, and PR firms Weber Shandwick. Some take aways from those visits included:
My eyes lit up when, during the tour of Cake Havas, a unique sub-agency of the Havas group focusing on more quick, youth focused social and traditional content, I realized that the agency was pulling in work from Havas accounts like LVMH and MCM. As someone who is highly interested in the luxury fashion industry and also someone who would love to have opportunities to travel around the world, Havas was excellent in pointing out that international agencies often times have a benefit of travel or relocation.
A full disclaimer, that does not mean you get to work wherever you want, but rather, due to their large network and range of clients on a world wide level and with different strategy in different locations of the world, agencies like Havas provide rich resources to allow you to travel, make terrific connections and make your career all the more exciting.
Public Relations are slowly becoming viable options for creative.
I visited Weber Shandwick, a public relations firm, on a whim of filling up my schedule and getting a chance to see what a Public Relations firm was like. What I didn’t expect though was that, little by little, PR firms are incorporating creative and traditional ad strategies to become more diverse in their offerings and are a really great option for creatives to find great careers and growth at.
I suppose it was always interesting to me that I considered advertising and communications agencies that included PR services as normal, not strange, perfectly fine. Yet, I never thought of a PR agency as doing any creative work. Weber Shandwick was unique in that, they began to see the clear need for their clients to have more creative content, they realized that clients could lessen their total budgets by consolidating into one agency. That decision led them to become the only PR agency to be on AdWeek’s top agencies for two years in a row, something
The morale of the story, don’t discredit Public Relations firms or really, any other kinds of firms. Creative departments are all over, and in many of these places you might be able to spearhead the creative and take it in entirely new ways.
Alumni are useful resources
This trip was put together largely in part by cooperation from alumni of the university who had found successful careers in the city. Ranging from content makers to creative directors, a wide range of alumni create a network anywhere in the world that are more than eager to hear from fellow Nebraskans.
Some of the most useful tidbits of knowledge I received came from alumni who are excited at the prospect of cultivating more talent. The fact of it all is, when you’re in a large place it doesn’t matter where you come from quite as much, but having some connections or home-state love is always a plus.
Be confident always.
The biggest tip almost everyone at every agency had was, be confident. If you are pursuing a career in a city like New York, confidence is key and knowing how to truly market yourself and network will get you places. This is probably not news to anyone, it’s no secret that larger cities are extremely competitive and that no matter where you are the industry is smaller than you think and networking does wonders. What is unique about the advice though is the amount of persistence they suggested you should take. There were at times certain agecnies that mentioned the simple act of emailing or calling every week, messaging higher-ups and more could sometimes end up doing the trick, the more shameless the better.
To go with this, when seeking full time employment, even mentioning a New York address in itself could move potential applications up the stack. When the idea that an applicant has to travel and relocate is among principal concerns, a more local applicant that is ready to start anytime is a more attractive option. The solution? Airbnb for a while, test the waters out, but always be prepared that, when applying for a job in New York, to be persistant and be ready to move in a minute.
Culture Culture Culture
Culture is everything, and if it is right, it’s right. The biggest take away from the trip was realizing that it’s best to see things and get a chance to dip your feet in. I realized that I personally, fell in love with the city and want to work there in an agency with a cool cultural fit. What I also realized is, the city is not for everyone. Just as I realized I didn’t like very small agencies, or smaller towns, I know plenty of people who love those two things. What might not be right for me is great for someone else. Part of what makes this industry so interesting is all the career paths one can take, and in the end the cool ways that you can up.