An Introduction to the Communications Industry

These sessions will explain how an ad agency works, and what opportunities exist in the communications industry. The sessions will also give an overview of places other than ad agencies, such as design studios, digital marketing companies, TV channels, radio stations, film Production companies, etc.

The basics of Brand Management:

  1. Identify brand stakeholders.

  2. Understand how stakeholders currently perceive your brand.

  3. Study competition and market trends.

  4. Define brand positioning.

  5. Define brand promise.

Advertising strategy

These sessions give an overview of advertising strategy and execution. To lay a firm foundation to successful advertising strategy and execution, the sessions will draw upon both classic and contemporary advertising. Different principles and laws of advertising will be explained.

Advertising research

Understanding the consumer and finding consumer insights is the key to create effective communication. Students will learn some basic methods of studying human behaviour and how these insights can be used to craft persuasive communications.

Creative brief

These sessions will explain what a creative brief is, why it is necessary and how to write it. This will include exercises in writing a creative brief. It will also explain the general format, including:

  • What is the PRODUCT or the SERVICE?

  • What is the communication PROBLEM?

  • Who is the target PERSON?

  • What is the PROMISE you are going to make?

Workshop on campaign planning

A good brand building campaign lasts for years. Most campaigns do not have that kind of longevity because they are not based on an insightful understanding of the consumer. The history of advertising has several examples of campaigns that have connected well with consumers. These campaigns invariably stay fresh for several years and only need minor modification as the consumer evolves. The workshop will show you how to arrive at the four key decisions that are the hallmark of every long-running, brand-building campaign.

  • Analysing the issue

  • Developing a strategy

  • Arriving at a brand’s ‘unique emotional truth’ through consumer insights

  • Generating extendable campaign ideas

Workshop on social marketing communication

Social marketing was "born" as a discipline in the 1970s, when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realised that the same marketing principles that were being used to sell products to consumers could be used to "sell" ideas, or to change perceptions, attitudes and behaviours. Students will learn by working on actual projects based on real life social problems. They will go out and interact with the people concerned, get a first-hand feel of the problem before taking on the task of creating communications solutions.


Introduction to Semiotics will begin by taking examples from advertising, film and the media to demonstrate the semiotic constructs such as ‘denotation’, ‘connotation’, ‘advertising mythology’, ‘syntagmatic and paradigmatic structures’. In ‘Application of Semiotics’ in the industry, students will be introduced and exposed to some case studies in the use of semiotics for purposes of brand building. They will be encouraged to ask questions and hold debates pertaining to their own career goals in the context of semiotics as a subject.

Workshop on creative judgement: Evaluation of an ad campaign

These sessions will not only take you through the techniques of evaluating an ad campaign but will also help you sell your ad to the client. It will help you understand two basic sets of parameters: One, evaluate the ad in terms of its efficacy, that is, to what extent the campaign has achieved its set objectives. Second, learn to appreciate the aesthetic aspects of the ad – how the ad looks: its layout, colour scheme, typography, balance etc.

Workshop on film appreciation

This programme will make students aware of genres of film as an art form. It will also make them aware of basic concepts relating to arts and the humanities.

Music appreciation

The focus of this workshop will be on background music, sound, jingles and signature tunes that are used in advertising films and radio spots.

The medium is the message

This is a workshop based on the writings of philosopher & theorist Marshall McLuhan and will explore the idea of personal, political, social, gender and environment through advertising and communication design, giving impetus to the medium to reinforce the message. McLuhan meant that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.

Ways of Seeing - A workshop on Introduction to visual aesthetics

It is an introduction to new ways of seeing, assimilating and understanding various facets of art, design, cinema and photography. Beyond appreciation of various creative expressions, the core objective of the workshop is to help articulate a distinct visual language of one’s own.

We’ll be closely looking at the life and works of some of the most defining artists, iconic photographers, filmmakers, and visual storytellers who have left an indelible impression on the canvas of time.

The sharing will be done through a series of slide shows, looking at art books, photo-walks & viewing of films on pertinent themes and subjects. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to engage in various creative explorations.

Creative communication - written and verbal

Persuasive written communication: Using CRE (Controlling Reader Experience) Techniques.

The writer’s attitude: The art of writing is actually the art of re-writing. Discussion on why writers need to develop a passion for words.

Overcoming the writer’s block: The craft of writing involves two stages – creating and editing. This is an intensive workshop on ‘How to Suppress the Editor in You and Let the Creator in You Do Its Job.’

The art of description: 90% of all writing revolves around some kind of description. This session will teach you techniques to improve descriptive writing and characterization.

Getting to the core message: Understanding the creative brief and extracting the essence of the Proposition, or the 'Emotional Truth' of the brand. The sessions will help you discover what the Sales Message should really be.

Using the eight senses for persuasive writing: Evocative writing involves using all the senses. An adventure through ‘The Land of Show, Don’t Tell!’

Tone of voice: Understanding how tone of Voice is crucial to advertisement effectiveness and brand image. Exercises to discover that there is more to the tone of voice than just ‘warm and friendly’!

Process writing: Very often, a copywriter has to take the reader through a process. Sometimes, in a travel destination ad, it's about how to get there. Sometimes, it's about how the client's manufacturing or quality check process is better than the competition's … This session teaches you the discipline of capturing and communicating processes precisely and effectively.

The Craft of copywriting: To paraphrase and quote Oscar Wilde: “It is easier to write a full-length novel than to write four lines of good advertising copy.” Intensive sessions on crafting headlines, taglines, body copy – both long and short – plus exercises on how to develop multi-media campaigns from the creative brief.

Structuring and fleshing out really long copy: Series of sessions on how to tackle long copy for leaflets and brochures, and long-copy ads. There are special techniques, disciplines and formats that can be used to convert voluminous long copy into a truly readable and effective sales message.

Direct mail: A session on this important medium, which is probably the second biggest advertising medium today. (Worldwide, TV is number 1 by far with revenues of Rs. 3,70,000 crore as of 2012 and Print is Rs. 224.1 crore. The size of the direct marketing industry was estimated to be Rs. 7,120 crore in 2013).

The session comprises lessons and classroom exercises to understand the various elements of a DM package, including the economics and logistics of DM such as the envelope, the offer, the cover letter, the main leaflet, the response device, tracking and follow-up.

Basics of scripting for television and radio: Interactive sessions and exercises involving developing scripts for ad films and radio spots.

Workshop on advertising appeals: These sessions will explain the most frequently used advertising appeals. Some of these are the rational appeals such as comfort, convenience, economy, health, quality, dependability, durability, performance and efficiency. However, the most used appeals are the emotional ones such as joy, love, sex, fear, pleasure, pride, safety, security, self-esteem, sorrow, etc.

Creative communication - design

These sessions will sensitise students on ‘Design Thinking’, so that they not only become better designers but better managers as well. The following important aspects are also covered:

A focus on customers: It's not about the company and how its business is structured – the customer doesn't care about that. She cares about doing her tasks and achieving her goals within her limits. Design thinking begins with this insight and focuses on her problem and how design could find solutions.

Creating alternatives: Designing isn't about choosing between available multiple options. It's about creating the options. This unique ability to find multiple right answers to a given problem is what sets designers apart.

Ideation and prototyping: The way we find those solutions is through brainstorming and then, importantly, building models to test the solutions out. One doesn't necessarily represent the solution, only a solution. It's not uncommon for several prototypes to be combined into a single product.

Wicked design problems: The problems designers are used to taking on are those without a clear solution, with multiple stakeholders, fuzzy boundaries, and where the outcome is never known and usually unexpected. Being able to deal with the complexity of these 'wicked' problems is one of the hallmarks of design thinking.

A wide range of influences: Because design touches upon so many subject areas (psychology, ergonomics, economics, engineering, architecture, art, etc.), designers should bring to the table a broad, multi-disciplinary spectrum of ideas from which to draw inspiration and solutions.

Emotion: In analytical thinking, emotion is seen as an impediment to logic and making the right choices. In design, emotions play a vital role; decisions taken without an emotional component are lifeless and do not connect with people.

The Principles and elements of design: Form. Function. Space.

These are the building blocks of communication design, not only of works of art. These will also help you become a better manager, and a creative director in the future. These sessions will help you understand and use important tools that create a brand difference. This programme will provide a basic conceptual understanding and practical hands-on experience of the following three broad topics that constitute the fundamentals of graphic design:

Alignment, balance, consistency, contrast, proximity, and blank or negative space.

The understanding of the relationship between colour, text, graphics and composition – essential in any form of visual communication.

How you apply those principles – application determines how effective your design is in conveying the desired message and how attractive it appears.

Module I: Visual communication fundamentals

  • Space, symmetry, and unity

  • Visual structure and connecting elements

  • Design components

  • Three dimensional space

  • Colour & composition

  • Creating visual messages

  • Presentation

Module II: Diving deeper into design

  • Typography: “Typography, after all, is what language looks like!”

  • Grid systems

  • Publication design

  • Print production

  • Digital production

  • Campaign building

  • Presentation

Module III: Into the future

  • Interaction design

  • Motion graphics

  • Online communication

  • New media

  • Personal branding

  • Portfolio building

  • Presentation

Visual literacy: This workshop will help you learn the most important aspects of visual communication - the language of visuals. It will enable you to communicate using visuals as easily as you use words. This is also the essential foundation for achieving expertise in visual communication.

Digital marketing communication design

‘Digital’ is the new emerging media. Although currently in terms of volume it is still small as compared to the electronic or print media. In last four years, figures indicate that it is growing by 40% every year. Recognizing this trend, we have added a new programme on Digital Marketing Communication Design. This special programme will arm our students with that extra creative edge to deal with this new media.

Understanding the digital space: Workshop on creating a webpage

Form factor in the digital space

Digital media marketing and advertising platforms: Output: paper and group presentations

Designing an online marketing strategy: Output: website and group presentations

Discussions and Review: Output: Group Discussion


Workshop on cinema: A human being cannot live without stories. Cinema is a universal medium for telling stories and breaking communication barriers. It’s also a combination of many art forms. This audio-visual medium often transcends the language barrier for laughter, tears and all the emotions in between. In this module students will learn cinema as an art form that creates a dream like virtual reality, in which the viewer is always the centre of the universe, as the camera becomes his eyes and the microphone his ears. In this workshop, apart from learning some basic theoretical constructs of movie as an art form, there will be lot of accent on experiential learning through making short-films, television commercials, viral videos, movie trailers, promos for TV serials, music videos, etc.

Note: we are using cinema as a generic term (not as a celluloid medium or the technology). In practice our students shoot movies on video format and not on ‘film’. The students learn the whole process from generating ideas for films to writing screenplays to making storyboards to shooting to editing to presenting to clients in a proper sequence. The accent is on generating ideas for cinema, and not on creating craftsmen such as Cinematographers, Editors, Music Directors, Actors, etc.


The workshop will cover:

Pre-Production: Location hunting. casting – screen tests, set designing, costume designing, colour-coding / branding and costing.

Production: Cinematographer-Director coordination, camera angles, lighting, make-up, acting / voice modulation, jingle recording, voice recording.

Post-Production: Editing, music recording / editing, sound effects, computer graphics, presentation of the film.

Workshop on radio communication: This is a hands-on workshop on creative programming for FM radio (beyond radio spots and jingles). It would be conducted with examples, lectures, and exercises.

(A) Understanding the medium of radio:

They say, “TV killed the Radio,” but how true is it? The session will revolve around ‘Approximate Revenue Share of Radio’ to ‘Evolution of Radio In Current Times’, and ‘Emergence of FM radio And the Scope It Offers’.

(B) Inside radio

(C) Workshop - “Bollywood on radio”

This interactive workshop will take students through several aspects and features that are unique to radio as an advertising medium:

A virtual tour – a video on how each department works in a real radio station.

Photography workshop: This is a hands-on workshop to impart basic skills and knowledge of Digital Photography, to encourage students to use their own images rather than material borrowed from the Internet.

Any Body Can Draw (ABCD): These morning drawing sessions not just help students get over their phobia of “I can’t draw” but also sensitise their eyes to capture and store visuals in memory. ABCD involves gesture drawing, object drawing, visual and colour perspective, portrait, pen & ink, watercolour, rendering techniques, composition etc.

Workshop on personality and caricature: This is a workshop on understanding and skills of capturing the uniqueness of personalities and situations and their contribution in storytelling.

Workshop on visual merchandising: A workshop on the art and science of Visual Display. Session includes learning the modern retail theories, and developing techniques for designing window displays to highlight a sale or a best-selling product. The workshop would also touch upon following:

Style and staging: Students study Visual Merchandising techniques for creating effective set-ups before designing their own.

Digital imaging and image manipulation: How to work with technology and photography to manipulate photographs to meet design specifications by creating an aesthetically pleasing look that is creative and uses design principles.

Visual presentation: A study of how a store can match its design to the presentation of its products. The programme examines the interplay of signs, fixtures, lighting and product displays in Visual Merchandising.

Product Presentation: Combine materials, equipment and various display techniques to design presentations of products. Learn how to market a product to a particular targeted customer.

Invoking a Creative Culture

A series of workshops are organised to inculcate a 'creative thinking attitude'. By and large, most people believe that ideas occur to them by accident. More importantly, the belief is that there can be no process or ritual that can help generate ideas on demand. There are several such processes, and the techniques involved would be taught through a series of workshops on, “How Do You Generate Ideas On Demand?”

From ‘so-so’ to Picasso: This session will explain why we need to be creative and what stops us from being creative. It will also explain how to get rid of the mental blocks that prevent us from being creative.

Workshop on ‘transcreativity’: This is a five-day long workshop that underlines the relevance and importance of the performing arts. It also works as an eye-opener that triggers creative processes. It sensitizes people to appreciate various art forms and discover how they can be effectively used in communications. The key learning from this workshop is the secret of how to give unique, desirable and memorable experiences to consumers.

Workshop on generating ideas #1 Random associations: These sessions will help you learn how to generate ideas at will through random associations. It will explain how two unrelated words, or a combination of picture and words can generate innovative and original images or ideas.

Workshop on generating ideas #2 ‘scamper’: ‘SCAMPER’ is an acronym for ‘Substitute. Combine. Adapt. Modify. Put to other use. Eliminate. Rearrange.’ It is based on the notion that everything new is the addition or modification of something that already exists. For example, a tree becomes a log becomes a plank becomes a chair. Think about any subject and go through a checklist of questions to see what new ideas and thoughts emerge.

Workshop on generating ideas #3 Redefining the problem: This exercise will explain how redefining the problem can be a great way to generate interesting solutions. Boring problems generate boring solutions, and interesting problems generate interesting solutions.

Workshop on generating ideas #4 Search engines for creativity:

Memory: Tapping our own knowledge and experience (90 per cent of which lies in the mind.)

Observation: Looking at nature, scenarios, and human activities.

Referencing: Using existing external sources through reading, viewing, listening, and surfing the Internet or a library.

Interaction: Brainstorming, interviews, debates, discussions, Q&A etc.

Imagination: Sending a ‘mind probe’ into a journey of imaginative exploration.

Dreams: Dreams are rich with visual imagery and symbolism, both extremely important for creative fields. We will look not only at our own dreams but also explore the dreams of others. The techniques that the mind uses to create dreams will be analysed and applied to expand creativity.

Creative seismic vibrator: A workshop to excite creative minds: The basic premise of the workshop is this: while creativity is generally believed to be an unpredictable accident that occurs in the human mind, there is a lot of knowledge that one must possess in order to catalyze the repeated occurrence of these accidents. The workshop provides a bird’s-eye-view of what goes into developing creative strategies, and how they are executed. Hundreds of ads will be shown by way of examples of brilliant thought combined with breathtaking execution. Not just TVCs and print ads, but examples from other media as well.