I may have mellowed (trying to act my age) with my praise for the industry, my learnings have grown in leaps and bounds. A lot has conspired over these years. I have had the privilege to work, network and build relationships with some of the loveliest people. Many of whom are now dear friends and mentors. I have had incredible opportunities to churn out considerably good campaigns alongside a few which never saw the light of the day or were lost somewhere in the failed pitches folder.
Well, now that I know a thing or two, here is some advice for folks setting out for a (crazy) ride in advertising - first, always be up to take up additional responsibilities. If you are a part of a particular team, try taking some time out to observe others from various teams while they work and hone their craft (obviously do not creep them out) and put that to use in some way because watching is easy, it is the part where we need to sit and do the work that most of suck at. We don’t have to limit ourselves to one task - be curious. There is no one task overwhelming enough that we cannot do - make a note of it. Imprint it in your mind rather.
Second, it is imperative to know the entire process even if most parts do not concern you because (a) it will provide you with incredible insights, helping look at things from a different perspective and (b) will come into use at some point during your career, trust me on this. One can always choose to pursue their ambitions at something they're particularly good at, at a later stage in their career. My learnings over the years have been unparalleled. So much so that a few of my lectures (I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree) are what I’ve learnt while at work by simply doing things - learning, doing, failing and eventually getting it right.
My thought process from ages twenty-one to twenty-six has evolved vastly, and so will yours. The more people you meet, the more ideas you discuss and the better work you get yourself acquainted with, you’ll realize how the world does not revolve around you and your work but also how significant your ideas and voice can be when around the right set of people. You do not have to confine yourself to the washed-out walls of your workplace - broaden your circle and be inspired by folks and work produced all around. Not just in this industry but all over.
For us advertisers and marketers, it’s important to stay two steps ahead in the game, always, learning how and when to pivot and adapt to the ever-evolving technological advancements. With the introduction of the metaverse, for instance, which is more than just Web 3.0, we could prepare for it by beginning to read up about it (Blogs, Twitter threads), hear podcasts or be a part of the discussions on various discord servers created and led by experts and communities.
I still do believe in hustling. Wanting to be successful, wishing for all that wealth but also cribbing at the slightest inconvenience - how does that even make any sense? To achieve great things, we have got to put in the effort. You are not as smart as you think you and there are thousands like you, with this incredible drive, willing to be where you are so keep learning and getting better at all that you do.
Oh, and here's some cool advice that all of us are already acquainted with but keep forgetting - believe in yourself because NOBODY else will until YOU do (koi doosra tereko nahi bataega tu kaun hai! - I’m still as much of a Bollywood buff so had to conclude in style). Fuel your passion with curiosity and hard work, strike a balance and you will be fine. While the ad industry may look quite different from what they portrayed in Mad Men, it isn’t too harsh either. Be open to learning new things, be inspired, work with all your heart and practice gratitude & humility.
As for me, still, a long way to go and lots yet to accomplish. Got to dream and work hard enough to achieve all that I intend to. For everything else, there's kayanaat working at the backend.
(The author is founder, Gemba)