Concepting vs technical skill: Which is more important? I’m mostly used for creative concepting at my agency, which has been a great opportunity and has gotten me promoted thus far in my career. BUT

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The ability to think creatively about a brand no matter what the perceived limitation may be is the one thing i cannot teach. It goes beyond just plain conceptual chops and into the way a member of the creative team finds unique, engaging solutions for any piece. Sounds like you have the chops, the rest you’ll learn from others.

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Writing is craft. Conceptual skills are a more precious commodity but don’t overlook the details if you want to do great work.

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(Cont.) Because of this I haven’t really had any formal training in the basics (creating claims, efficient referencing, reading studies properly, etc). This is obviously huge in pharma and now that I own a brand at work I’m nervous knowing these activities are going to come up. I just feel like at this point it looks bad to ask someone for help, as they’d assume I have this down. Any tips for how I can work on these things on my own? Or am I over thinking it?

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Concepting is hands down most important! You can learn everything else on the job. Workin at a healthcare agency I can say we REALLY value concepting skills

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Definitely ask, preferably another senior CW who is known to be great at it. Annotation style can be a client mandate or be less formal if everything will just be tagged and linked anyway. Ask to look at an approved claims list as an example. Try to get your first rounds of annotations as early as possible to your editor so they have plenty of time to fact check and query. If you don't have clear directions for what folder to upload the reference PDFs to or how to style the annos, check in with your editor, but he/she should not be the one training you on how to do it. Good luck!

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Yes, ask around for people to send you samples from different brands on their messaging and claims platforms in a document, how they do references, PDFs annotated for MLR submission. It's definitely something I'd expect a Sr copywriter to be able to hit the ground running with but if you look at 2-3 different brands' docs and see how it's been done, it should be easier to pick up!

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I value your initiative. Can’t stand writers who pretend not to know how to do the work, or refuse to learn. It makes you more valuable even if it’s not as fun as coming up with the idea

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@ CDM, I've overheard creative hiring managers arguing over hiring someone with zero conceptual ability because they had pharma experience over someone with great concepts but little pharma. Not only do I find this disturbing, but it's part of the reason the work can be so bad ... I.e. It's not just because of the clients...

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Evoke group 1 = if you truly value conceptual skill I'd love to know the name of your recruiter. It's a major strength of mine and I find that too many Pharma agencies want things like "more high science" and "10+ years working solely on Oncology"...

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@ CD 3 - in my experience also, DTC at general agencies doesn't require referencing, etc. But HCP it's a totally different story.

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Delayed but I appreciate all of the responses here! I’ve buddied up to a copy sup who’s been showing me the “grunt work” skill when they arise, but seems my bosses have been bouncing me from concept meeting to concept meeting. I think they see where my background is :) Thanks all!

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Eh, just ask someone to show you how. Agree with Evoke1, the concepting is harder to do well. Well-hidden secret, Adobe comes with a set of tools in a menu option called Comments. The two important ones there are the rectangle tool, which looks like a rectangle and will draw a rectangle anywhere in that PDF, and the Textbox which also draws a rectangle, but you can write comments in it.
Mechanics are simple, really.
Good luck with your brand.

It’s all about the concepting. I never really learned the basics (I went from general to pharma at CD level) and it’s never been a problem. Juniors can do referencing etc. It’s the concepts that’ll get you promoted. It may be different in HCP agencies; I work in consumer)

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