A quick intro spiel- I studied a B. Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, and after working in beauty PR for a year I then moved into Account Management roles in both B2B and B2C agencies, then I worked in-house for Mercedes-Benz in advertising & events. With this all before I was 24, yeah, you could say I moved around a bit.
So while I wasn’t exactly strategic in my career path early on, I really do think in the marcomms and advertising industry, most skills are pretty transferable. If you’ve worked only agency or only client side, in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), for a financial institution or for an automative brand, most of the skills and the networking you do is all beneficial. Yet another reason you should always put your best foot forward and treat people with respect- you never know who will be your boss or interviewing you for a new role one day!
Now, I’m working for a brand and licensing agency, with zero idea what licensing was about when I started, but I got the role based on some prior client experience and account service work (told you ^ transferable).
Almost 2 years later, I can tell you in licensing, basically we work on behalf of entertainment and corporate brand owners like Paramount (think Anchorman and Breakfast At Tiffany’s) and find interesting ways to leverage the equity in their brands. One day we could be finding a new Toy Partner for the latest pre-school hit, and the next working on a retrospective exhibition for a cool retro entertainment property. Virtually almost any brand can have a licensing department, including people, which makes the variety of this career one of the best things. Plus the work is very creative and we get to manage a huge portfolio so you never really get the chance to be bored.
It’s a very close-knit industry, everyone knows each other and it seems the longer I’m in the industry- that everyone has also worked with one another at some point so it’s definitely a role where relationships and reputation count. The people and brands I’ve worked with so far interstate, and overseas has resulted in jobs offers from all over the globe.
While long hours come with Agency-land, and we definitely have our weeks, on the whole it seems a pretty good industry for respecting that you have a life outside of the office, and the travel opportunities are a serious perk. I’ve travelled to the UK, and all over the United States to attend licensing conventions, and also to learn about the brands I license; my first trip being to Tennessee to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery.
I really just lucked into the industry, so I can’t say I know any strategic loop holes unfortunately! I would say though that its a bit of a hidden industry – from the outside, I never really considered until that of course it would be someones role to work with retailers and producers in placing brands onto products. Now it’s impossible not to go shopping and see all the brands on the shelves – even at Woolworths, you’ll always see a Peppa Pig yoghurt or an AC/DC drink bottle, even band-aids are branded!
So if you want to work in licensing, you really need to go hunting for the jobs. I love working agency side but you can also work client-side and approach one of the big entertainment brands with headquarters in Australia: the BBC, Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, Warner Brothers – there’s heaps of great consumer products divisions run locally!