Jamie Williams is a partner at London-based independent creative agency Isobel. Here, he asks, how can we connect young diverse talent with the agencies who crave it?
“How do you get into advertising?” I’ve heard this question a lot, but equally important questions to ask are “Why get into advertising?” or “Should I get into advertising?” So let’s start there.
Advertising and the wider creative industries are changing quicker than almost any other industry. There are so many different ways for brands to engage with consumers, only the best agencies and marketers stay ahead of the game.
The industry is always on the look-out for something new. Fresh ideas, a new approach, new insights, new trends, new technology, new talent. While experience and knowledge are absolutely crucial in our industry, they need to be mixed with new thinking and new approaches.
I’ve sat through enough uninspiring presentations on youth marketing to know that utilising the thinking and energy of young people is of great importance to agencies.
So for young people, I think our industry is an incredibly exciting one, jam-packed with diverse opportunities, within creative, design, strategy, tech, project management, and that’s just the start. And if you do well, you can move up remarkably quickly.
We don’t have formal operating qualifications like medicine or law. Some young people see this as a negative, but it means that in theory, anyone can make it in advertising. While the range of advertising and marketing courses available are all beneficial, as are wider degrees and diplomas, some of the most successful people in our industry have very little traditional education. Once you’re in, it’s how well you perform that matters.
But having said all of this, I know our industry often doesn’t feel very accessible.
From the outside, advertising has always had a glamorous image. However far from the truth it may be, it’s an industry associated with celebrities, fame, money, and the bright lights of London.
There are great agencies and opportunities throughout the country, but London is where the main action is, where most of the jobs are, and it’s a pricey place to live. If you live a long way from London, getting into advertising can seem a long way off.