March 6, 2015, by Hannah Smith

Spotlight On: Advertising, Marketing and PR

By Hannah Smith, student blogger

On 24 February I attended the Spotlight On… Advertising, Marketing, and PR event hosted by Careers with a stellar line-up from advertising agencies and cultural public relations (PR) start-ups to a consumer goods supplier. I left the event feeling full-to-the-brim with possibilities!

The five guest speakers from AMVBBDO, The Dairy, Saatchi & Saatchi, WildKat PR and Reckitt Benckiser spoke for a few minutes each about their companies, their job roles and their lifestyles before the floor was opened up for questions.

Different options

What quickly emerged for me is that when I’ve been considering going into marketing or advertising, I haven’t actually known the difference between the two, or even what is involved on a day-to-day basis for someone in the industry. The speakers quickly went a long way to rectify this for me; it became particularly apparent the difference between the agency side versus the consumer goods side, which I hadn’t even considered!

Up until this event, I had assumed that if I were to venture into marketing it would be through the marketing department of a large consumer goods company such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson or P&G who make the goods we buy in the supermarket every day. However, the advertising agencies presented a whole new world of opportunity, particularly Saatchi & Saatchi who handle some of the biggest clients in the industry and are responsible for advertising giants like the Cadbury’s Gorilla ad. They described their work as of a similar ilk to management consultancy but with creativity instead of numbers. Sounds perfect to me!

Different cultures

One speaker who I found particularly interesting was Kathleen Alder, founder of WildKat PR, whose agency deals with passionate clientele in the creative cultural industries (originally classical music) who need guiding through the process of making their passion a business. Her approach was very different to that of the large-scale companies and similar to the small Nottingham-based agency The Dairy, represented by Verena Vieregge.

Kathleen employs her staff on the basis that she likes them, they are self-starters and passionate about culture, which the company see as a way of life. She promotes a more intimate working style, training tailored to what  the staff member wants to do and the working day starting at 10am with Kathleen insisting her employees are out of the office by 6pm!

Different backgrounds

What struck me most about each speaker’s story was the diversity of backgrounds; although it was lovely to see that three were Nottingham alumni. Kathleen, for example, had a chance encounter with Richard Branson in the food aisle of M&S who allowed her to live in his house and supported her start-up.

Will Hooker, from Saatchi & Saatchi, chanced upon his route into advertising because it was the only graduate scheme still open when he had a sudden change of heart during his third year. It goes to show that if you’re passionate, you can make it. And if you’re in the middle of second year (like me) and still not sure…that’s okay too!

Plenty of advice was also offered to the eager audience; like thinking about why an employer is asking you a question – what is it they want to know? Benedict Pringle from AMVBBDO advised us to take a carpet approach and apply for everything, and Verena at The Dairy advised keen advertisers-to-be to get to know the industry and the software involved.

Definitely food for thought!

Hannah Smith

Our Spotlight On… events give you the chance to explore a wide range of career areas by hearing from the professionals working in them. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get the inside story and ask the questions that matter to you. They are offered them during the autumn and spring terms.

If you missed an event, keep an eye on this blog as we have staff and students attending most events and they will be sharing their experience with you. Why not start to explore the options open to you on our types of jobs pages on our website and talk to a member of our team if you have any questions.

Posted in Choosing Your Career