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As we see the world beside us, there is no doubt that the fight to survive gets tougher & tougher. To stay alive in this already stacked market, companies need to be unique in their approach to deliver their message, so that more people take notice. Here, some creative individuals stepped forward and introduced the notion of promoting the product through the means of advertising, that will help create a different image from that of their competitors and in the eyes of their targeted audience. This gives the organization a stage to amplify their voice and in turn increase their brand value.
Overtime, advertising world has evolved and changed into what we see it to be now. It is not just a marketing tool, but an outlet to spread your message across the masses. Many varying creative voices work together to reflect that single thought that can usually make or break the company. Advertising is a field which provides creative individuals to work their magic but also reflects the cultural value and status of a society at that particular time and period.
As a media and communication student of Jagran Lakecity University, I had the very opportunity to pursue an internship with an ad agency, Rainforest Communications, to see personally how the inner working of an ad agency goes. For a two month period, from 21st May to 21st July, I learnt some vital rules as to what is necessary for an ad agency to run successfully. Observing and being present as many projects unfolded in front of me, helped me in grasping some basic facts about copywriting and clients servicing.
Personally, I wanted to work in a relatively smaller scale agency with bigger clients, which could provide me the opportunity to understand the workflow in each and every department, so to have a better understanding of where I stand and where I could direct myself to improve. I individually worked on two separate projects, from start naming Apollo Cradle and Azista Karela Biscuit. Although one of these projects couldn’t be completed by the time I finished, because the client decided to take a hiatus.
The report is divided into three different chapters. While the first one describes the functioning of the agency, the second chapter focuses on my personal growth and the skills developed over the time period of the internship. The third one talks about the specific project which I worked on and how we made a marketing campaign for that product.
Founded on April 2017, Rainforest Communications have come a long way in its year of functioning. As it is important to understand the consumers who can turn a product into a brand and thus the communication that needs to take place between for the product to reach its destined place is also important.
They understand their customer base and thus make the campaigns accordingly to what the client stands for and what message it wants to portray to its audience, so to keep them on the map for a long term basis. The staff of Rainforest Communications understands those implications, which thus help them in strategizing a creative plan, which has in turn helped them in sending the trajectory of the company towards an upward direction.
This is department that handles each and every client and gets to know from the client what job the organization has to do. For an ad agency, clients mean everything as they are the one handing out jobs and the client service individual should make sure to keep them happy. Clients want big ideas that will drive their product into becoming a brand. Most of the times, these clients don’t know what they want or how they want to move ahead with a marketing campaign for their own product. Client services department covers the gap between art department, copywriters and the clients as they are the face and the voice of their organization. This department has to look out after the needs of each and every one involved with the campaign, be it on the client’s side, or in their own agency, and make them all meet in the middle for the benefit of all.
Copywriter and creative head department took the role of strategizing and coming up with a creative plan for the product keeping in mind the accordance of client’s need. The creative heads need to think outside the box, while being aware of that very box, understand the issues as to what drives the audience, so that they can translate all the information into messages.
In Rainforest Communications, the creative heads have the experience of over 20 years individually. They know the importance for a creative head to keep up to date with all the cultural or sub cultural trends, which will help the team in interpreting the consumer perception and also aids in strategizing, so that the brands could be positioned in the market in such a way that will prove to be an advantage in the future. Copywriting, without a doubt, is a very different and definite art form, and that comes with its own troubles. They need to inform the audience with the information they are seeking from the product while also giving their own perspective in a creative sense.
To start the creative process, it is really important to know your target audience. Then afterwards, we can find the psychograph, as in the habits, the attitude and emotional value in regards to the product. Then in the final process, an apt approach should be made so to reach out to the audience and make an emotional approach towards the audience.
Arts department’s responsibility is to visualize the message, which is decided by the creative heads, so to attract the target audiences in the best way possible. Although client services head is responsible for distributing the work among the graphic designers, the designers then in turn could suggest some changes which may in turn be aesthetically better, if the need be. From my experience, the staff in the arts department needs to be experienced as even in an unprecedented situation, the work needs to be done as soon as possible.
Overall, the communication needs to be fluid, within all these functioning departments, so that the work flow inside an office is also uninterrupted.
Before starting this internship, I always thought that I would roam around like a headless chicken in an office scenario and had very little to less idea as to where I was moving towards in my career. Although I didn’t doubt the path I was taking in my life, a thinking man can’t help but wonder, while tracing back some of their steps.
Through this summer training, I have a much better understanding and a train of thought towards the right direction, as I personally feel more confident in my decision making, be it for myself or a group. Wherever life may take me, I am much better prepared for it.
Understanding oneself is what matters and will take you further towards your goal, as after realizing that sentiment one can see that everybody else has gone through these same phases of life as well. If we keep worrying about the little things, we may lose focus of the larger picture and if we just worry about the larger agenda, we may lose focus on the little things in life as well. So, it is important to keep a balance of both by working hard. If we keep working hard, after a while, the small pieces will fall into the right places to make the larger picture clearer.
I have always had a knack for copywriting or just writing in general. I had confidence on my own skills in those aspects and felt that that would be my calling later on. But as the training period progressed, I have come to the conclusion that I need to practice more and change the way I put my thoughts on paper. The “Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.” Formula works. While thinking thoroughly on your client’s product and how to project it to the audience is good, but if you want to appeal to the masses, you have to keep it simple. I have heard that phrase before, but never respected its connotation. Now I never seem to forget it, as now it seems to have been embedded in my mind.
Given the competition, its target audience, and the segmented market, the message is what connects with the people.
Who is our audience? How do we communicate with that audience? What messages should be put forward?
These are the very questions that one should ask themselves to brief not only themselves but their team as well.
I can’t really claim this to be my very first desk job, but I learned a lot about the atmosphere that should be consistent throughout the staff. Every single staff member had more credentials than myself, but they made sure that I felt relaxed and a part of the team. Although the atmosphere was quite relaxed, I am more aware now, of how to behave in an office atmosphere.
The importance of training can’t be further stated as along with our education period, the training period helps shape us directly for the job placements in the future. Just being in that environment and watching how important it is for a team leader to understand the job. As he/she then distributes the work accordingly to the personnel. It is important to understand that all the work relationships, professional, but making an effort to know the person who works with you for more than ten hours every day helps a lot during work as well, as you know how that person thinks, what makes them tick and how you can get the maximum out of them for the benefit of the company.
Teamwork becomes more important than the single person as getting past the work is not an easy task when done alone. A single person can’t run a successful ad agency, as it is the team that drives the work forward, day in, day out. Going through the various aspects of an ad agency, one must respect each and every member, as they contribute to the company.
One such incident that helped me understand that was when I was preparing for the market research of Azista Karela Biscuits. When I had to conduct a taste test which I planned to do all by myself, my boss instead instructed me to delegate the taste test rather than solely doing the whole process just by myself. At the time I thought to myself that he may not trust me with the whole process and maybe that is why he instructed me to delegate. But to my surprise, executing the whole work and telling others what to do, rather than doing it myself was tougher. As every person needed to be in sync and it was my duty to make sure it stayed that way. Through others help I could complete my targeted goal in less time to what I could achieve prior to it.
It is funny to think that the first productive thing I did for the company was to make a box. Because what the experience prompted me to do is, think outside the box keeping in mind the existence of it. The light box that I made came from a personal experience within the university. During an ongoing class in the photography lab I saw the model for a light box, which was supposedly being used by students from photography majors. As I was told that the company, which had been hiring a professional photographer for pack shots of the product, wanted to shoot the photographs for the client themselves, I suggested them the idea of the light box. After getting the approval, I started working on it and finished making it with the help of my colleague and the internet.
I still may not be able to believe it, but I think I have adapted to office life pretty well. Since this is the time I start building up my resume, I could see that I was able to update it more and find out what would be useful to put on paper for my benefit. Both on and off office hours, the learning experience for me was really positive.
I would like to show my gratitude to everyone here at Rainforest Communications who helped me out during the duration of my internship and for the vital experience that I gained through their expertise. More situations kept calling as time went by, which helped me experience some real life scenarios. The learning experience of my own wouldn’t have been this memorable if not for the teamwork and understanding of the whole team.
One of the most important aspects of being part of a client services team, one must understand how important it is to make a creative brief which should cover all grounds and be simple with its format and language at the same time. As a communication expert, a client services executive should not only understand the message but also successfully interpret it into such words that will help the whole team, including the copywriters and the members of art department in receiving the message as well.
To prepare a proper brief, the executive should understand the 15 parameters involving the product. All of these above mentioned items should be carefully reviewed by the client services executive in order to create a good brief, through which then the whole team could understand the nature of the job and be able to work on it accordingly.
The project which was assigned to me during my internship period was a product named Karela Biscuits from the company Azista. Being part of their Taste Good segment, Azista wanted a healthier variant of biscuits that were found in the market. At the time, the biscuit market in India alone has been projected to reach around $7.25 billion by the year of 2022. An upcoming company, originating in Hyderabad, Azista had been venturing into mostly healthier segments in the FMCG market.
But with Karela Biscuits, which is being made from bitter melon/gourd, was a tough sell despite how unique the idea is in terms of the current market. Although, the biscuit market isn’t void of any health variants, with many big brands already providing a separate segment for the health enthusiasts and diabetics, separate from their regular segments. Other than that, having Karela in your product has its own ups and downs, as I got to know later.
From Rainforest Communication’s point of view, it was an interesting prospect, as without any specific time constraints we had to come up with a marketing plan that would put Azista on the map of firstly Hyderabad and then later of the country. The direction Azista gave us was that they wanted to check if they could market the product to the masses as these biscuits already had a presence in the medical shops for being sold as diabetic friendly biscuits, with no sugar, cholesterol and trans-fat.
From my own perspective, this was an amazing opportunity to work on and with a product that has just started its life. In that respect, I could see that it would help me greatly to understand thoroughly, how a marketing campaign is planned from the scratch. Although when I came in, I was handed a different project altogether, but unfortunately after few delays that project was put on hiatus indefinitely. So, after few weeks of working on that very first project where I was eased into it, rather than being rushed, I had the confidence to go straight into a different project where I could be of a big help.
I was ordered to do a market research from the start to find out the current state of the market and where our product could stand given those circumstances. Since the situation was trickier than what usually people can claim as given its Karela factor, which is notorious among general public for its bitter taste. Fact of the matter was that Azista with its Karela Biscuits brand, failed to even capture the niche market where people would actually prefer a Karela biscuit over others.
With the approval of the creative heads and the director of Rainforest, we decided to do a blind taste test to determine what the general public thought of the taste and other important aspects of the biscuits. I was handed the responsibility to orchestrate the whole taste test, in accordance to which I prepared a questionnaire. Through this taste test we could determine the target audience and the target segment where the Karela biscuits belonged.
While preparing the questionnaire, I had to make sure that not only all the aspects regarding to the taste and first impressions were covered, but also determine the psychograph of the potential customers, through which we can come up with a relevant plan to counter the competition and in process attract more customers for the product. The questionnaire had a ‘before reveal’ and ‘after reveal’ sections, through which I wanted to determine what specifically the impact was of the name ‘Karela’ on to the participants.
In total, I successfully completed the taste test on 118 different participants ranging from different age groups, gender, with different classes of society being also kept in mind. One of the most important things I learned from this experience was no matter how calculated or concrete your plan maybe, there will always be unforeseen situations that cannot be controlled.
The test result took different turns with each participant, but in the end the overall picture was clear about our product. Being there, I could see that what most participants told me and what they wrote on the paper answering was somewhat different. That was one of the major troubles that I faced during the survey; to get the right answers out of the participants, so that there is no confusion later on during the conclusion.
From 11 year olds to up till 70 year olds, a diverse group of people took part in the survey, and as I concluded the taste test, I had good amount of confidence in what kind of numbers the test would show, as I was present during the time of the taste tests.
Now besides the blind taste test on potential customers, we also asked Azista to provide us with the list of the retailers, who were already distributing the Karela biscuits. A separate questionnaire was prepared by me to find out what the distributers had to say about the product and what problems, if any, have they faced with the product.
Through the taste test, we could also determine the direct competitors that are currently operating in the market. As despite the fact that there is no product in the biscuit market that can claim to have been made with bitter melon, Azista can still count few brands in their competitor’s list. Within diabetics and health enthusiasts, people usually look for products that are sugar free, have no cholesterol, and are also trans-fat free. Many big brands including Britannia Nutrichoice, Sunfeast, Parle, Unibic, Anmol, and Patanjali among others cover that segment well.
The test numbers for both the blind taste test within the potential customers and retailers’ test summary are as follows. This doesn’t contain each and every single questions asked in the questionnaire, rather few that showcases the gist of the test done. As each and every question is arranged in age groups, and how many people liked it or didn’t like it. After the taste test, we had all the numbers in front of us. But in the end it was not about the numbers, as we needed to find the core message which the people gave us. While concluding the test, these are the key messages which that I could perceive from the given numbers and the remarks being presented by the participants. While the survey results for retailers’ proved that the box sales of the product were around 2-3 per month except for 2 medical shops which sold around 40-50 boxes each. While lack of promotion was the factor being sighted as the major reason for the lack of sales by the shopkeepers, as the customers had no knowledge about the product which created mistrust within the brand and specifically its taste.
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