Batman and Robin, Mr. Miyagi and the karate kid, Del and Rodney Trotter. These are some of the really successful mentor and mentee partnerships (you can debate the last example). Mentoring is something that has seeped into the professional world, and here in the advertising and marketing industry, we’re extremely grateful for it.
Mentoring in the advertising industry.
As a college graduate myself I never took part in a mentoring programme. I wish I had, but it never happened. So this is a piece written by someone with no experience of mentoring in the advertising industry, these are just the thoughts of why mentoring is so important. For some information, I reached out to Karl Davis, who had taken part in an I.C.A.D mentoring programme. Mentoring in the advertising industry is not specifically about furthering your education as fresh-faced college graduate. It does do that, but that’s not what it’s about. What it does perfectly is further the mentees knowledge of the industry. Experience the do’s and don’ts of the advertising industry and probably most importantly teach you how to handle success and failure in the industry. This thought is backed up by Karl who “realised that the industry is much more socially and ethically responsible” than he had expected. This is what I believe to be a ‘valuable’ experience. As an expiring art director, it’s important for Karl to have a knowledge of advertising, how it works and what effects it has on the consumer. However, he gained this in his four years studying advertising. So what became paramount to him was learning about life in an agency.
Carter Murray a CEO at FCB believes mentoring in the advertising industry can make the entire industry stronger. When you think of it, that’s extremely obvious. An aspiring art director learns a lot from an experienced art director, in turn producing another, fully qualified and experienced art director. This would improve the strength of the overall industry, creating the perfect cycle of experienced mentors and eager mentees.
The two-way street.
Carter Murray also believes especially in today’s industry, that reverse mentoring can be of great benefit to both the mentor and the mentee. The mentee being (naturally) more aware of the current trends in today’s market, specifically on social networks, causing mentoring in the advertising industry to become a two-way street, with both the mentee and mentor constantly learning and adapting to what is going on.
The benefits of mentoring in the advertising agency
The benefits are endless. The feeling of teaching someone a new skill is just naturally satisfying and the feeling of learning a new skill might just trump that. The mentor gets an extremely satisfying remembrance. The idea that they helped build up a successful career and strengthen the industry as a whole would be something they could be extremely proud of. While the mentee gets great insights into agency life and they’ll be the holder of the successful career I just mentioned.
You can see some pretty great tips for both the mentee and the mentor here. These will really help if you are taking someone on or if you’re the mentee yourself, so get reading!