There's no doubt the role of a 'suit' is changing at a rapid rate. Digital disruption, automation and a new wave of conscious consumers all affect the traits a suit requires to be successful. Hazel Tiernan, Group Account Director at Icon Agency, shares 10 skills suits need to embrace to remain relevant in the future.
Revisit the basics
Know your industry, know your client's industry and know people. Use your initiative. Impress your boss, your peers as well as your clients. To be a great suit, you need all of this knowledge, plus integrity, passion and excellent attention to detail.
You also need to be clever and agile. How do you story tell in five seconds? Get clever in five seconds.
If you don't have a great foundation in these areas it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to progress very far in your career.
Have a strategy
The foundation of any great creative idea is a solid strategy.
Deeply understand the who, what, why and when.
Be insightful — really dig deep into understanding current human behaviours to drive conversion to your business challenge. Do not leave it to the creatives to work it out.
It's our job as suits to cut through the understanding of the brief to get to its core and unlock the most engaging campaignable opportunity. Work with your client to make the brief inspiring.
Love the work
Love the work. Respect the work. Work with your creatives to nurture an idea. We often get accused of 'selling anything' but our responsibility is to provide clients with solutions that will make them a success.
Be a multi-channel champion
A suit is responsible for amplification of an idea and so we have to understand how that idea lives in every single channel. It's all very well and good to have a killer TV ad, but nowadays that can only be one element of a campaign: digital can no longer be a subset of a campaign. Be multi-faceted in your media expertise so that you can effectively leverage the many different channels at your fingertips.
To do this you'll also need to know other people's work - you won't have time to learn how to be a designer, writer or producer, but you'll need to understand their processes and ways of thinking so that you can bring their expertise together for maximum impact.
Never forget that at its core your job is to provide value to your client. If you have a client that wants an integrated solution but still has the same budget, then you need to make those budgets work harder on a number of different channels.
The landscape has changed so much in the last decade, but there's no disputing the power of engaging creative wins every time. More than ever, creatives are now embracing effective 'storytelling' (for lack of better word!), which means understanding a brand's protagonist, antagonist and broader narrative. Every single human decision is influenced by emotion and stories communicate brand messages in emotionally impactful ways. Statistics, facts and figures may validate your point, but the story is your point.
Take Tourism Australia's 2018 Super Bowl Ad. The campaign was cleverly seeded using PR and social. Then there was the launch at the super bowl. Then the world talked. Then everyone wanted to know more. That to me is far a more effective than aerial shots of beautiful landscapes.
Think mobile first
Know how to leverage mobile more than anything because that's where we spend most of our time, including watching great ads.
Excel in managing and nurturing relationships. This stretches beyond the client and includes everyone internally - from the receptionist when you walk in the door, to your finance team and interns. You have to constantly nurture those relationships so you have a team that wants to do good work for you and drive value for the client.
Know technology and its relevance to your client
As a suit you need to have your finger on the pulse with technology, make sure you're continually developing your knowledge, and learn the roles it can play in your job and industry. For example, think of the recent changes to the Facebook algorithm. A great suit will sit down, read about it, and learn it. We are ultimately there to help our clients tell a story, so it's vital we understand the very technologies that will best help us.
Love what you do. Get paid for your passion. If you don't, move on.