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How I Got My Job: Caroline from Total Media



We're pleased to welcome Caroline Siveyer from media agency Total Media to the MKB blog today! She's here to tell us all about working for Total Media - who plan advertising strategies and campaigns for companies across the board - and how she went about getting her dream job. We think it's a totally fascinating part of the media industry; how on earth do you plan advertising?!?!
 
We're about to find out. The floor is yours, Caroline! 
 
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Tell us what you do for a living.
 
I am an Account Director at Total Media. Total Media is an independent media agency which specialises in producing advertising strategies and buying and planning campaigns for a wide range of companies – everything from books, to holidays and laptops! I sit in the client services team and am responsible for looking after a number of brands; talking to them; understanding what they need from their advertising; creating a strategy; discussing innovative new media strategies with specialists (everything from digital to TV and social media) and presenting these ideas back to the clients. After an advertising campaign has finished, I also work with Total Media’s specialist teams, as well as the client, to understand how successful it was.
 
How did you got about getting your job? What did you do before that?
 
I started at Total Media after University, joining their graduate training programme. I studied drama at university and never thought that it would bring me here! But upon finishing my degree, I understood my strengths around coming up with new ideas and communicating with people, and looked for a job which suited that. Total Media has a long history of working with arts clients, including publishers, museums and galleries and the idea of working on media campaigns for new book launches and show premieres really appealed to me. I wanted to make sure that I would be creating campaigns for something that I was passionate about! I am really lucky in that Total Media invests heavily in training their staff (our Continuous Professional Development programme has received a platinum accreditation for the third year running) which means I’ve been able to rise quickly through the ranks.
 
What does a day in the life of your job look like?
 
My day varies hugely depending on what is going on. Usually I start my day checking through my emails at my desk, replying to any questions and seeing what I have coming up. Mid-morning, I may then have a brainstorm session where I have a brief from a client and I bring a number of different specialists and people from around the agency in, to help me with ideas. I often have an idea in my mind of a strategy or idea in advance, but it is great to be surprised by a fantastic idea from someone in a different team. Following the brainstorm I will usually then send an email around to all attendees, asking them to look into a different advertising idea and I will begin to write up the strategy document.
 

I sit in a team of 6 so if I have any spare time, I tend to use this to work with other team members, showing them new things and technology that we can use.
 
In the afternoon, I may typically do some audience research for an upcoming campaign. At Total Media we believe the most important thing about an advertising campaign is to ensure that we understand what and how the target audience think! We need to think about what we want the audience to do (e.g. buy the product or like us on Facebook) and then try to understand what would encourage them to do that. We have many tools, data and surveys that help us to know this, but I am also often found talking to real people on email, the phone or on the street!
 
 
Typically, I would then finish my day with a visit to a client. Most of my clients are based in London too, so I don’t have far to travel. Client meetings are varied: they could feature me presenting a new advertising idea, or getting a new brief from the client or a general chat around how a campaign is performing.
 
My job is very creative idea and people focused – that’s why I love it!
 
What’s your favourite thing about working at Total Media?
 
The thing that I love most about Total Media is the culture. We all come together for work (and socialising!) and that means that it is a really friendly environment. When everyone around you is passionate about their work, good at their job and really nice, it makes coming into work that much better.
 
 
What would be your advice to people aspiring to work in a creative industry?
 
I would say follow your heart. I studied drama at university because I enjoyed performing arts and the theatre, and I had no idea I’d end up here! I just did what I liked, and what I thought I was good at, and I think that as long as you stay true to those two things, you can’t go far wrong!