Jeremy Yeoh Zijian, Creative Director at Naga DDB Tribal, was recently invited to present an Advertising & Graphic Design Masterclass with his topic – ‘Find Your Why’. With an education background in advertising and business marketing, the former senior copywriter turned creative director with a slew of awards under his name shared industry know-hows and gave useful pointers to the audience to prepare them when going out into the working world.
Advertising is more than just selling and getting people to buy. Advertisers have a bigger role to play in society, possessing the power to plant a seed of an idea in people’s minds with every message in a commercial. More often than not, people buy products not because of quality, but rather the emotional connection they have with the brand. At the end of the day, a good story that connect to people’s hearts will ultimately gravitate them towards the brand or product.
He shared some key learnings that he had throughout the years in advertising and how he had come to discover some of the stories he has told. He encouraged to start every story by asking “what if?”, and supported creativity by thinking and doing things differently from the norm. Anything that comes after ‘what if’ should be something ground-breaking, innovative and unprecedented in a way no one else has ever heard or seen before.
“When others zig, you zag. It’s very easy to subconsciously follow what others are doing without even realising. Always remind yourself to find a way to do it differently, and to do it better,” Jeremy advised.
Thinking is something creatives must do constantly; and because ideas do not come from within the four walls of the workplace, one has to go out, have conversations and observe people in their surroundings. Ideas are all around us, only those who are observant and continuously think will be able to spot these ideas. It is a matter of who spots it first, and who spots it better.
He divulged that advertising can be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging when having to deal with rejected ideas most days. It gets very personal, so one must be strong-willed and resilient to keep fighting for what they believe in. However, advertising can be really rewarding – watching their idea materialise and put out for the world to see and talk about is the most satisfying thing in the world.
His advice to have a successful career is to always keep an open mind and absorb like a sponge, especially when social media is moving so fast and there is so much to learn in this digital world. Creativity is important, but so is strategy. One has to know why they are doing the things they do and what they are trying to achieve. He iterated that, “When you’ve found your ‘why’, you will find your purpose.”
“Skills can always be taught, but character and attitude will take you further,” said Jeremy earnestly to always stay humble, because the moment one becomes arrogant is the moment they stop learning and listening, which will lead to their downfall.