Industry Overview: Advertising and Public Relations
This article is excerpted from The Vault.com Career Guide to Marketing & Brand Management. Vault Members can read the entire 360-page guide FREE online.
If you enjoy watching commercials more than television programs, then consider the advertising side of marketing. As an account executive, your role is to serve as a liaison between your brand management client and the departments within your agency. Account executives manage the creative production process from beginning to end, from researching what benefits a product offers, to writing the strategy for a typical commercial. Account executives must also handle matters such as briefing the creative department on how to execute the advertising strategies, working with the media department to buy ad time or space, and determining how to spend the marketing budget for advertising. (Will potential consumers be best reached via TV, outdoor billboards, print or radio - or through a general saturation campaign?)
Public relations professionals manage company communications and relations with the outside world. You can work for an internal PR firm (large companies have their own departments that manage the public relations of all of their brands) or you can work for a PR agency and be placed on a brand account. Public relations executives write public releases to local and national publications and develop ideas that will increase the "buzz" surrounding their brand. Some PR firms have excellent reputations for pulling off "stunts" that get their products in the news and increase their brand recognition. Public relations executives may also be forced to defend a brand in the face of public scrutiny - such as the Tylenol brand during the rash of poisonings in the 1980s.
Jennifer Goodman is a marketing specialist at McKinsey & Company and graduate of Harvard Business School.