What should I expect in my first week / month as a junior strategist?

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Mostly a lot of onboarding. Then you’ll be tasked with assisting more senior strategists with things like research.

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Every job in advertising is hands on!

Agree with ASD1. It’ll be a lot of onboarding information to the agency (if you’re new) and to the accounts. You may find yourself with downtime, and this is ok. Reach out to other strategists and ask how you can be of assistance. Begin doing your own research of the category and industry of your account(s).

Ultimately, you’ll want to position yourself to be as useful AND proactive as possible.

It’s also an opportunity for you to meet teammates, members of the account team from other departments and begin forming relationships.

I’d highly suggest finding time to meet with your manager to discuss goal-setting and setting a cadence for checking in. Start this early and then consider letting up to a bimonthly or even monthly cadence as you feel more comfortable with the material and what you’re working on.

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I would not recommend trend reports every day. It may become exhaustive. Having done such reports in the past, I would recommend weekly reports on the category, target consumer, and any standout brand activations/breakthrough work. The most important aspect here is not just finding an interesting trend (the behavior) but identifying WHY that behavior is happening (the insight). Once you know the why, you can identifying opportunities and implications for your brand and consumer

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Listen more than you talk. Read all the previous documents. Inputs, briefs, etc. Interview everyone on your team. Get the context of the situation and understand where the team is coming from. While tempting, don't try to be the hero right out of the gate. Your first idea is everyone's first idea. The first month is your time to be a sponge. Once you're familiarized with the accounts(s), the people on your team, and the status of the project(s) then you can start to contribute thinking in meaningful ways. The silent ones are often the most useful. This took me 5 years to learn.

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All of the above. First, understand their role. Get their take on the account. What's working, and what's not? And most importantly get to know them as people. Build relationships. Those that go far in the agency world know how to connect with their team and agency culture as a whole.

As said above, you’ll be doing a lot of desk research, ranging anywhere from competitive audits to consumer/culture deep dives. I would talk to each strategist and have them share with you their go-to sources when doing research. This will save you a TON of time (especially if they’re using subscriptions like Warc, Gartner, iSpot, etc.)

You’ll definitely be faced with some minor yet difficult decisions when you’re making decks. Getting to know how your fellow strategists are used to compiling information, findings, and presentations will help you get a feel for where the bar is. If they ask you for a competitive audit for instance, you should ask them to send you their favorite audit they’ve created so you can mirror what worked and what could be improved on.

Whatever project you work on, think a bit ahead, “what would the next step of this be?” If you’re gathering a ton of interesting findings about a culture topic, take it a step further and include what the implications and opportunities are for your brand (bonus points if you can weave in brand positioning, vision, RTB, etc).

You’ll also be asked what kind of projects you like to be a part of (qualitative research, quantitative research surveys, social media/content strategy, new business pitches, creative testing, etc.) so I would be prepared to identify the projects you want to work on the most in your first year that excite you, play to your strengths, or is something you’ve never worked on that you’ve always wanted to try out.

Starting out as a Junior strategist is so exciting and fun. I’m stoked for you! If you have any other curiosities feel free to shoot me a note in my DM’s

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