"All great cooks…know that the secret to success is something called mise en place….[which is] a universal concept focusing on the idea of readiness. When chefs walk into a kitchen, they don’t just start cooking, they first assess the situation and make sure they will have everything they need for their entire shift. Why? Because in cooking, taking minutes or even seconds to go chasing after something you need can be the difference between a perfectly executed dish and total garbage." (Elliot Bell, themuse.com)
Have you ever turned up for a meeting where you felt ill-prepared? Perhaps you hadn't completed the meeting agenda; or were doing a presentation, but hadn't rehearsed. How did that make you feel? Stressed? Nervous? Embarrassed?
It's easy, in our hyper-busy agency environment, to leave things to the last minute, thinking we can make things up as we go if we have to. At times you'll be fortunate and get away with under-preparing, and at other times it will come back to bite you.
Even if you are a last-minute wonder, it always pays to set aside enough time to prepare yourself. This could include planning for:
The more prepared you are, the more in-control you will feel, and the more you will come across to your colleagues and clients as professional, confident, efficient, authoritative and knowledgeable.
If you are prepared and confident, your projects are more likely to run smoothly. The more prepared you are, the better will be your chance for success. Your clients will be more likely to have a positive experience working with you, recommend you and your agency to others, and be happy to work with you again (valuable repeat business).
Being prepared takes no great skill and there is no training required, but it does require you to care about your job. Anyone can do it, but if you do it well you will be noticeably more impressive than those who do not; and your clients and agency will thank you for it.
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Research activities are typically initiated and conducted by your client, as part of their marketing remit. However, there is another type of research that is advertising-specific and is more likely to be initiated (or at least recommended) by your agency rather than by your client. The two main areas of research that an agency would get involved with are ‘pre-testing’ and ‘post-testing’.
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