Ad executive gets creative
Zoie Chan Wai-ling, digital media executive at Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), says she loves working in advertising because it requires so much creativity. “When we design and execute a media strategy, we have to understand and balance what the brand wants to deliver with the human experience the target audience is looking for,” she says.
Chan joined SMG through an internship programme at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), where she studied a BBA (Hons) degree in electronic commerce. “I worked as an intern during the summer break, then part-time during my final year of study and eventually became a full-time staff member upon my graduation,” she says. “My degree at CityU equipped me with key digital knowledge and skills which made me better suited for this job.”
Her daily duties include supporting the digital team’s day-to-day management of media plans and conducting competitive-analysis reports for clients. The biggest challenges include long working hours and meeting tight deadlines, but Chan appreciates how these help her develop her professional talents.
“Working on tight deadlines helps me develop better time-management skills,” she says. “Extra effort is needed during the planning and execution process, especially during peak seasons. Being able to multitask is also very important because with such a packed schedule you have to learn how to prioritise your tasks.”
Her packed schedule also allows her to develop precious relationships with a wide range of industry professionals. “I get to meet new and interesting people every day, like media vendors, clients and people from the industry in general,” she says.
December is peak season for media agencies as recommendations need to be prepared for clients. For Chan, last December was no exception. “We did lots of brain-storming, data analysis, budgeting and more. We were continuously burning the midnight oil to rush out proposals. But then just before the Christmas holiday began, we received many gifts of appreciation from clients, which was both memorable and heart-warming. Every teammate was thrilled with the surprise,” she says.
Chan advises those who are keen on getting into advertising to do a lot of research into the industry before they join. “There are lots of reference books out there which provide an introduction to the industry and a lot of case studies,” she says. “There are also authoritative websites which keep readers abreast of the most up-to-date news in the market.”
She says they should also keep an eye out for internship opportunities offered by advertising agencies, such as the Hong Kong Digital Advertising Industry Fresh Graduate Support Scheme. “These opportunities help students gain hands-on, real-world working experience,” she says.