As an advertising agency specialising in working with clients in the Arts and Culture sectors, the past two years have been especially turbulent for KMS Media. Despite the uncertainty, they knew that 2022 (their ten-year anniversary) would be a pivotal year for the company. They took the decision to take on a couple of bright young recruits to help push the business forward.

Gemma and Rob stood out from the crowd due to their enthusiasm and willingness to learn, not just about the advertising industry but also KMS Media’s business philosophy and customer centric service. They have kindly written a blog on their first impressions of Manchester’s media industry and working for KMS Media to share with members.

Rob Kirkwood

“I’m Robert Kirkwood – A new graduate starting off in the Advertising world as a Media Assistant here at KMS Media. Similar to many other 2021 university graduates, I found myself in quite a precarious situation when I graduated. Although there’s much talk of a worker’s market at the moment, this was noticeably different earlier on in the year when I was exploring my career options – It almost seemed as if every door was shut tight.

I’m normally quite a spontaneous and open person, and so the prospect of having my life all planned out, or instantly going straight into a chosen career path was quite daunting. Indeed, my degree background was in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at University, which kept a lot of doors open for me but honestly almost gave me too many options to consider.

Although I’d always considered Marketing as a solid career path, I’d never even thought of Advertising as a separate career path in it’s own right. Indeed, big media owners and agencies that are now all right in front of my face at work were notably absent from jobs fairs, and there are not really any big advertising graduate schemes that are talked about by final years like in other industries.

I suppose I even had a lot of mis-conceptions of the industry at first. I imagined it as more campaign and creative design, rather than delivering a brand’s campaign and brand proposition. Our job as advertisers is getting the message out there and in front of the right people, which makes our role key – without effective campaign delivery then all the branding and marketing is rendered obsolete.

In-fact, advertising really is a huge world ‘out there’ to be discovered. Ever since I’ve discovered this industry I can’t help but look at every OOH piece there is; I’m now always finding myself checking the media owner of billboards or pointing out a JCDecaux D6 or Ocean billboard to my friends. It’s incredible just how many people can pass a single billboard, and being able to spot a campaign you’ve worked on appear on a bus side or digital screen is such a great feeling.

It’s the same for digital as well. I find myself paying so much more attention to banner ad’s. It’s also incredible how much data online advertising can collect on potential customers. What I love about working in a full service advertising agency is being able to to pick up all these different aspects of media as they all have their own benefit – Out of Home has a massive presence and ‘real’ feeling, while Digital gives so much information and data on potential customers that allow the right decisions to be made with confidence.

So what have I learned from my short time in the media world? The one thing I’d say to anyone is that this really is a people industry. You’ll have so many contacts in so many different companies with their own goals, perspectives and aims. Subsequently, you’ll need communication and negotiation skill to leverage what you need to organise a proper campaign.

Another big thing that you need is organisation and proper diligence; dealing with multiple threads and people all at the same time requires a great eye to detail along with exceptional organisational capability. We’re really transformational people in advertising and as we’re so instrumental in realising marketing campaigns’ aims and goals. An organisational skillset is incredibly vital – I can’t stress that enough as it’s something that shocked me myself!

Working at KMS has been great so far – I’ve already got to take on so many different kinds of work throughout any media format, whether that be OOH, Digital, Press, Print, TV and even a bit of Cinema! We really do it all at KMS and so far it’s helped me get my grounding really well. We have such an amazing point of difference in our service to clients as there’s so much personality in our office, and my two bosses Millie and Karen have an incredible passion and depth of knowledge for advertising and in providing an excellent service to clients. I’ve also noticed that we’re consistently ahead of the curve – qualities such as empathy and understanding in communicating with others have always been emphasised at KMS, while they have only just started to be talked about in the wider industry. From my love of history, I know that Manchester has always been the driver of change and innovation in this country, and to be a part of an advertising agency that is always at the forefront of positive change is just fantastic.”

Gemma Carlin-Brannigan

“My name’s Gemma and in September 2021, I joined KMS Media as their new Digital Media Assistant. Having studied Cinematic Arts at University, I am well accustomed to media in its entirety from photography to film and from analysing to thinking creatively. I’m a fan of all things digital and even dabble in web development courses in my free time. My previous job provided me with a lot of experience with digital marketing and I was able to bring this experience to my new position at KMS Media.

KMS Media:

Millie and Karen are my first step into the Media industry, and while it’s only been 3 months, I have never been happier and more invested in a position before. I really appreciate how my ideas are listened to and implemented. The environment at KMS is so friendly and encouraging. The work that I do is appreciated and recognised and I can’t express how much this gives me the passion to do better and be better for KMS Media!

Working in Media:

Working in Media advertising is so fast-paced, it can take a while to really navigate your way around everything. I prefer working in ever-changing environments, so I really appreciate my role as a digital media assistant. I enjoy trying to think outside the box and working to get the best for our clients. With KMS, you get a friendly face, a warm smile, and a firm promise that we will do our very best to exceed your expectations. Millie and Karen have great relationships with clients, and suppliers, and this shows you can go far by being nice to others and staying true to yourself.

One thing I really didn’t anticipate is how important networking and social interaction is in the Media industry. Just recently, I attended the MPA Christmas 2021 event and it really blew my mind. I wasn’t sure what to expect and if I would feel comfortable enough to let my guard down as I would be surrounded by colleagues from neighbouring companies.  I relaxed once I realised the media industry is full of big friendly personalities and it was a place to celebrate the industry and each other. I really enjoyed myself and loved meeting people I had only ever communicated with over email. It didn’t feel like a work event, it was such a good time had by many like-minded individuals! A definite perk to the job!

To work in the media industry, you have to be invested from the very start. You need to be personable, committed, and dedicated. It involves a lot of chasing, organising, and managing aspects of a campaign to ensure your client is getting the best experience. It can take a bit to get used to but it’s an amazing feeling when the campaign you worked so hard on does really well and produces great results. That’s definitely my favourite bit! Seeing it come to life and deliver above everyone’s expectations.

Behind the scenes:

Media is everywhere and while I understood this to an extent, now it’s all I think about! I’m forever critiquing billboards, Facebook adverts, tv adverts, and posters. I like to try and think of the meaning behind it all and why it was placed there. I really like this about my job. It’s not always about the message on the billboard or what it’s portraying. It’s about the placement of the advert and the context in which you are receiving it. Placement is such an important factor, and it wasn’t something I really understood until I started working at KMS Media.

My future at KMS

Overall, my goal is to broaden the digital aspects and open KMS up to more digital opportunities and campaigns. I believe online campaigns are the way forward and can be much more effective as impressions, clicks, conversions, etc. are all tracked. This is great as it shows you which elements are working in a campaign and which elements may need to be removed e.g., one creative could be performing stronger than the other and this tells us to push more budget towards the more successful creative. I hope to enhance and optimise KMS Media’s abilities to take on and deliver more and more online campaigns. As I am currently a digital media assistant, I plan on working towards becoming a digital media executive. I feel as though I belong in this industry and I’m really excited and grateful to KMS Media for introducing me into the world of media.”