4 Key Lessons From A Career in Brandvertising

As someone who stumbled into brandvertising purely by accident, especially when his family had very traditional expectations from him growing up, I’ve had a weird yet insightful relationship with a very rewarding career so far…

It’s been full of ups and downs, no doubt. There have been times when it’s made me frustrated, confused, hopeful and uplifted… sometimes all at the same times! (I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s gone through these situations in their career)

Every project has been diversely challenging and riddled with valuable insights that have changed me as much as I have tried to change them. I’ve lost as much in utopian thinking as I’ve gained in practical experience and while the measure of success changes for each instance, the recipe for attaining that success starts looking loosely familiar. While having been inundated with millions of reference stories about productivity, motivation and team building, the best presented themselves when brought on by a personal sense of relativity and experience.

Keeping that the will to achieve and passion are an established (yet rare) constant, here is what I’ve learnt so far…

  • Ideas need people to develop. And launch. You won’t get as far as your imagined potential without help. Know your team and extended network of peers. Know their strengths and what value they can bring to the larger picture, then find ways to collaborate and experiment with various stakeholders. Connecting dots within your work environment is as important as connecting them extraneously.
  • Teams that believe in building ‘brands’ inevitably go further than those aimlessly brainstorming to find ‘disrupting’ ways to sell products… and the former are usually the best environments for innovation. Believing in the power of brands and their potential for real-world impact can unveil moments that build more intrinsic brand equity and recall than a heavy hitting ‘marketing’ campaign ever could. The power of humanity channeled through shared-interest community platforms your brand enables will ALWAYS trump vanity problems you market your ‘product’ to solve.
  • Every moment around us is bathing in cultural insights that are just as honest a human truth (if not more) as the consumer insights we look to gain from focus groups, social listening and analytics dashboards. Don’t just rely on modern tech, be curious and alert about your physical environment. Use your team for insight experiments, notice their behavior in everyday situations, ask questions and try to understand motivations and how they change over time.  Sooner or later, you’ll start noticing the overlaps between what you’re looking for and what you’re living through every day.
  • Focus on solving problems. Solve both consumer problems AND team problems. Crafting a seamless user experience for a targeted micro-moment that triggers a click-and-mortar sale should be as much a priority as incubating an environment that allows for improved interactions between relevant members of your team. A lot of times, these valued members are buried under tedious workflows that keep them from contributing to the free-flow of knowledge and ideas that make up great solutions. Find ways to unclog these arteries and solve problems that lead to better problem-solving. And always keep pitching these solutions.

I’ll wind up this writeup with one of my favorite TED talks to add more context to the summary above.. and to open new channels of dialogue on subjects of interest as I uncover the next decade of insights.