Hello, Marike. What is it that you do?
I’m an Account Executive.
So, what does that actually mean?
Well, Society has different Client Service teams, each with Account Directors, Managers and Executives. An Account Executive is a bit of a Jack of all trades and reports to an Account Manager. I mainly function as an interface between Society and our clients. My day can be filled with anything from replying to a mountain of emails, writing monthly reports to liaising with strategists and writing briefs.
What kind of qualities should an Account Executive possess?
I would say interpersonal skills, patience and very good time-management. My work involves managing other people’s expectations. When a client phones to tell me they need something urgently, I manage the schedules of everyone involved in a campaign on our side with a smile. You need to reassure your client with enthusiasm that their desired outcomes will be reached.
How would you describe Society?
We are able to turn around work in a couple of hours, that might take others a week. When I started working here, I helped on a Burger King social media campaign. It was an awesome sight; seeing everything that goes into a short campaign and the processes that turn an idea into a final product, a bunch of creative and driven people and how they act under pressure. I remember thinking to myself “Wow, I want to work here, these people get sh*t DONE”.
Warrick. You’re quite new here.
Yup. I started as a copywriter in Society in April but I have been in advertising for 5 years now.
How is copywriting different from other forms of writing?
Copywriting is part problem solving, part having no idea what you’re doing, and then doing that really well. I’d say the biggest difference between a copywriter and any other writer is that every job I get has the potential to become something more than just reading material. It could become a tangible object, a visual experience or maybe even a smell.
Is it difficult having to create things on demand?
Yes. Definitely. Mostly because I couldn’t give you a good definition of “creativity” if you held a gun to my head. Like I said, a lot of the time I approach a problem going, “I have no idea how to do this”, and then through a series of brainstorms and existential breakdowns, something clicks. I feel like it’s never the same process twice, but when that “click” occurs, it’s a great feeling, and makes all the uncertainty and self-doubt go away.
What advice do you have for all the writers out there who want your job?
People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them. Of course you need to keep in mind your target audience as a copywriter, but do not detach yourself entirely. It must interest you to at least some extent. If you try to embody your target market too much you might forget to make it interesting.
Hi Lee-Ann. What do you do?
I am the Lead Community Manager at Society. I started here 18 months ago, when we only had two Community Managers. Now we have eight.
I have no idea what that is.
Community Managers are ultimately the voice of the brand. If someone wants to talk to Burger King anywhere on social media, we are the people answering them on the client’s behalf. We have to wear many different hats throughout the day as we speak on behalf of different clients. We are slowly developing multiple-personality disorders and ADHD and probably need daily Ritalin. We keep our laptops open and with us at all times.
What makes a good Community Manager?
A combination of sensitivity and a thick skin. You need to be sensitive to the needs of every person in your client’s community you interact with, absorb their anger on behalf of the client and NOT yell at them to go and read the FAQ list when we receive obvious questions. You also need to be adept at writing in many different tones and be able to switch between tones on a dime. We are the very last people to see content before it goes out, the last line of defence, so you need a sharp eye and be able to identify any mistakes that may have gone unnoticed. Once you understand your client, you eventually become able to adopt their personality and speak fluently on their behalf.
Thanks for the chat. I think you should get back to your laptop.
Good morning, Matt. What do you do here?
I started out as a copywriter and am currently a Digital Strategist.
A digital what now?
I help inform exactly how we are going to communicate with our audience, what channels we are going to use, how we are going to use them, how we will target adverts, what kind of content we will present. Before the creatives create content, I am one of the minds that help guide what that content should be like and where it should go. For example, certain target audiences use Facebook, other target audiences use Instagram, some use Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn… My job is to understand the social media and digital landscape and decide how to use social media to communicate effectively with a target audience. It’s all about translating the client’s desires into actionable insights and tasks.
What’s your tip of the day?
Timing. Even the most compelling creative will be ineffective if delivered at the wrong place and the wrong time. Serve highly engaging content during lunch hours. If the content requires 20 minutes of engagement, don’t post it at 9am when people are trying to get their workday started. Also, a Digital Strategist needs to be able to see the forest for the trees. When problems are complicated, I need to be able to reduce them to simple questions and then answer those questions.
Hello, Di. What is an “Influencer Marketing manager”?
If there’s a social media campaign and you want to get it to the right people to inspire an audience to get involved with the campaign, I would be the one to find the right person, or “influencer” for the campaign. I think there aren’t many agencies in South Africa with an influencer specialist.
So you know a lot of famous people?
Haha! No, not really, but I have worked with a few. I love to gossip and have channelled it into a career. I am the type of person who cannot go to Woolies for milk without browsing every newspaper and magazine headline.
What does one need to know to be able to do your job?
There is a big difference between “reach” and “real influence”. It’s not very effective to pay someone with a million followers to tweet about your brand if it only gets ten retweets. Social media is great for gaining awareness, but if, for example, your campaign wants people to download your app, people tend to be more receptive to such a call to action when it comes from someone they trust and with opinions they respect. I find that person for every campaign, someone who can speak to the audience effectively and, ideally, is also a member of the target audience.
Can you tell me something you have learned in the last 7 days?
One of the many pet peeves of influencers is being told how they feel. I recently called someone and said to him “We have this campaign, I think you will really like it” and the angry response was “don’t tell me how I feel!” You have to make sure the influencer’s goals as well as the brand’s goals are met and ensure an ongoing relationship well after the campaign ends.