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  • Brey Stephenson

4 Tips For Surviving SWOOP


So, you made it into SWOOP. Congratulations. You’re now part of an elite team of nearly-there professionals with a passion for advertising. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Well, don’t prop your gams up on the table just yet. You’ve still got a lot to learn.

This isn’t a class in which you can just scrape by doing the bare minimum. To be successful, you must give it your all and commit yourself completely--just as you will in the “real world.” So, let me share with you four tips I’ve found to be essential to your success in SWOOP.

Know Your Client

This is one should be pretty obvious. Make sure you and your team are familiar with and understand what it is your client wants and expects. This is essential for any project to be successful. More likely than not, a client comes to you for guidance: they want to know how you can help promote their business. They may not have the knowledge or expertise to do this themselves, so they look to you to show them the way.

This is a lot of responsibility for a creative team. They must take what the client shares and distill it into creative solutions that showcase their products/services. This can lead to any number of wins and losses on the way to those solutions. And with such an arduous task, it can be easy to lose sight of your goal: promoting your client.

That’s what your job boils down to, helping the client. It’s not for showing off, dominating the situation or stroking your vanity. You’re here to contribute to the larger cause of formulating and executing creative ideas for your client. Never let this slip from your mind.

Do Your Research

This is something you’ll hear from every advertising professor you’ll ever have. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research--on the client, their competitors, your job, what have you. You need to know every detail about your project and how you can contribute to it.

Strategy is the foundation of good advertising, and without it, there can be no cohesion. You need to conduct good research in order to form a proper strategy. Without it, you’re doing little more than shooting an arrow in the dark in hopes it’ll find its mark.

So, never forget to do your research. Your client and team will be much obliged.

Toughen Up

Advertising isn’t for the weak-minded. You’ll be constantly judged, criticized and possibly ridiculed for you work, much of which you’re pretty proud of. This is just the name of the game in this industry.

To make it through with any remaining wits, you have to develop tough skin, and learn that your work isn’t necessarily an extension of you. Furthermore, you need to separate yourself from your work. Don’t become overly attached to a single idea, because it could be the one to get axed.

Understand that advertising is built on great ideas, not just good ones; good isn’t something to strive for here. And the only way to reach those great ideas is to wade through the crappy ones. So, toughen up, take the vicious criticism that’s to come and let it motivate instead of deflate you.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

This may be the most important tip of all. You have to remember to enjoy yourself, and to compartmentalize your stress. And with all the demanding work that’s thrown your way, this isn’t always the easiest of tasks.

Obviously, not every project or account you’ll be on will be stimulating. You’ll find yourself working on things you care nothing about, or collaborating with clients with whom you disagree at every stage of the process. This is just the nature of the business.

Even so, you can’t take things too seriously; otherwise you’ll drive yourself mad! And this applies to life in general, not just your efforts in SWOOP. Finding your meaning, your purpose, should be an enjoyable endeavor, not a daunting one. And the more fun you have in the process, the more satisfied and prosperous you’ll be in your career, and in your life. And that’s the whole point, right?

So there you have it, my tips on how to make the best of your time in SWOOP. Now go forth and create something memorable--or at the very least, make it out alive.


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SWOOP | Student-Managed Advertising and PR Agency

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