Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Ode to Teamwork

Why is teamwork so hard to achieve in our ad industry? Asrar Alam and Sameen Rashid pose the question.
Published 10 May, 2024 11:27am

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Consider this our rallying cry to all you lone wolves out there.

Sure, you may be able to sprint to the finish line on your own, but we have to find joy in what we do, right? The magic happens when you join forces with kindred spirits, each bringing their own unique flair to the table. Approaching the target inch by inch and building an idea word by word. It’s a beautiful picture – and an ideal one too. Sadly, in Pakistan’s ad industry, it has become as rare as a unicorn sighting.

Picture this. A busy industry where every idea, concept and pixel is a piece of art waiting to be unleashed. Sounds dreamy? It is!

However, behind every masterpiece lies a team. A team that is often overlooked in the glitz and glamour of the final product and who will probably never meet their target audience. They are the round pegs in square holes, the ones called the ‘crazy ones’ in the 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial. The imaginative people, the home-grown artists and the clever punchline writers of our industry.

Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram reels, this statement caught our attention. “The Wright Brothers made us fly, and they were a team. A university student assembled a team and created Facebook. Three people came together as a team and made YouTube. What are you doing with your like-minded people?” It hit us like an 18-wheeler truck, and we had no answer.

Think about it. Our advertising is always a step behind global standards and that is because we don’t believe in teamwork. Teamwork makes the dream work. We are talking about the kind that ignites sparks and fosters creativity. So, why is it that in an industry purportedly built on collaboration, teamwork has become rare?

Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” And boy, was he onto something! Teamwork is more than sharing ideas or dividing up tasks. It is about forging connections, building trust and creating something greater than the sum of its parts. It is about turning a group of individuals into a cohesive unit – a well-oiled machine fuelled by passion and purpose. Steve Jobs echoed this sentiment when he said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they are done by a team of people.”

We have lost count of the number of times we have witnessed a team of underdogs defy the odds and produce magic that leaves clients speechless. It’s the collective brainpower, the diverse perspectives, and the relentless pursuit of excellence that set these teams apart from others.

And here is the kicker. Teamwork is not just about getting the job done. It is about enjoying the journey. As a wise person once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

In an industry that thrives on innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, there is no room for egos or solo acts. It is about harnessing the collective genius of the team and channelling it towards a common goal – a goal bigger than any individual could ever hope to achieve on their own.

So what is the secret sauce to fostering a culture of teamwork in the cut-throat world of advertising? Simple, really: lead with empathy, cultivate trust and celebrate individuality. It is a delicate blend of empathy, communication and mutual respect. It is about creating an environment where every voice is heard, every idea is valued and every challenge is tackled head-on – on a united front. Embrace the messiness of collaboration and know that out of chaos comes clarity. Above all, it is about recognising that the true measure of success is not just in the numbers. It is in the relationships we build, the bonds we create and the impact we have on the people around us.

This said, I know that it is not easy to become a dream team. We often find ourselves in places where we don’t belong and with people who feel like strangers. But it is up to us to go out and seek the people we connect with and with whom our energies are multiplied by a thousand, giving us masterpieces that tell the world who we really are… advertisers!

We sign off with a wink and a nod because life is too short to take ourselves too seriously. Here is to the dreamers, the doers and the fearless teams who dare to defy the status quo. Together, we paint the world one great thought at a time, one team at a time.

Asrar Alam is working as a creative consultant for major brands, creative agencies and production houses.

Sameen Rashid is working as a creative consultant for production houses.