Autumn 2012 Week 9: 12-16 November

The interns take you through their week, day by day…

Monday 12 November am (Elmira)
A fresh new Monday, and we all walked in pretty rejuvenated from the weekend to make the best use of a couple of hours to work on our final presentations before showing them to Sarah, Kellan and Anne.

As it was only a ‘mock’, we were all quietly confident that we had covered almost everything we needed; we had prepared the order and content and did a little run through. After we gave the presentation we were given feedback, which was very beneficial, and pointed us in the right direction. Sarah told us about the things we had missed that really ought to have been covered in the presentation, and advised us on which parts we’d be better off without, as well as explaining how better we can communicate as one.

After our presentation preparation, we had one-to-one meetings with Sarah about our job applications and our chosen sectors. It was a very useful to get advice and guidance on how to approach the tough task of finding gainful employment in PR.

Monday 12 November pm (Catherine)
On Monday afternoon we were treated to a trip to John Doe, a leading creative consumer PR agency where one TBF alumnus now works. Based in the fashionable east end of London, the agency prides itself on being super connected and its ability to link brands into the worlds of popular and contemporary culture in true partnership rather than by corporate badging – by celebrating and creating a ‘culture of other’.

It was a whirlwind session in which we were able to meet and speak to everyone from the founder to the current interns. We gained a fantastic insight into the work and clients of this creative, consumer focused, stylish agency. It was clear that John Doe is an absolutely amazing place to work – if you have the stamina.

Tuesday 13 November (Bolu)
This particular Tuesday with Chris Cooke, we learned about law and politics. I know those two words may fill many with sheer dread – and admittedly a lot of us were sceptical about how interesting the topic would be! – however, as usual, Chris made his topic engaging, relevant and interesting. I may be slightly biased, coming from a Law background with keen interest in Politics, but I really did enjoy it.

Many people may not automatically link law with PR; however, it is vital to know the ins and outs of media law, for many reasons, not least because we need to understand what options we have in crisis situations. Likewise, knowing the mechanisms of British government is also extremely necessary; after all, it’s the body that makes the laws that will affect a lot of what we do! It also good to know what is happening “above” us so to speak; democracy is useless, if we don’t really quite understand how it works. The added bonus is that it will give us an edge over others when we’re at an interview! After this many sessions with Chris, I kind of feel like I have a degree in PR!

Wednesday 14 November am (Chandni)
Our outing to Lexis Nexis proved to be a really interesting trip, for although law isn’t my strongest point, it was really good to see what goes on there; they don’t just do journals but a whole lot more.

I enjoyed learning about their in-house comms team – what they do, and the different crises they have to manage – and it was great to hear from Simon Goldie, who spoke to us about the different communications platforms that Lexis Nexis use. It was really encouraging talking to everyone on the team.

Wednesday 14 November pm (Charlet)
This afternoon we all went to the Taylor Bennett offices to meet up with our buddies. It is always great meeting with these advisors; over the weeks we have got to know each other, so they understand how far we have come, and the advice they give us is invaluable.

My advisor Katherine Cox and I met at around 3pm and walked down to the local EAT. Over coffee and cookies we discussed how I could make myself more appealing to potential employers, what roles and where I should try applying, as well as what we were doing over Christmas.

Thursday 15 November am (Nadia)
This morning we had a free session and took the opportunity finish our weekly tasks and practice our presentations for Edelman.
This week’s Edelman task was very enjoyable and fun to research, Jasmin and I decided to present on Starbucks and we looked at their crisis surrounding their introduction of the new Trenta sized cup. After practising several times, we felt confident with our delivery; after nine weeks of working on presentations, we have realised that practising definitely pays off, and will always find the time to do so!

Thursday 15 November pm (Jasmin)
Today we had a field trip to Freud Communications.

Charlotte Robertson, an account manager, and a previous Taylor Bennett Foundation trainee, hosted our afternoon, and began by introducing us to Nicola Burrowes, an associate director, who informed us of Freud’s history, structure and the clients they currently work with. Nicola really sold Freud’s focus on employee development and the opportunities for its employees to understand different sectors.

The remainder of the afternoon was made-up of talks from many different people from all areas of the company. Fay, an account director, spoke to us about International PR and talked us through a couple of their really impressive campaigns, one being Pepsi’s ‘Kick in the Mix’ campaign with DJ Calvin Harris and an all-star squad of footballers (including Messi, Torres, Drogba, Lampard, Wilshire and Aguero). Simon, another account director, spoke to us a about Sky’s Skyride campaign.

We were also set a small challenge by Charlotte: to create a campaign around a mock brief of PepsiCo releasing a new health drink. Split into teams, we came up with imaginative campaigns and – with a limitless budget – they involved celebrities such as Swedish House Mafia, Cameron Diaz, Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr.

Our afternoon finished with a talk from the HR team, Nicky Vallelly (recruitment manager) and Zoe Cotter-Morton (human resources manager). Their discussion of their recruitment process proved really useful, and it was helpful to ask them about what they look for, and to listen to their advice on interviews, CVs and cover letters. It was a great afternoon, and some of us will certainly be applying for their internship programme next year.

Friday 16 November (Lola)
This afternoon’s task, set by Vicki Gomes, required us to give a presentation about a crisis that a company had encountered. We detailed the time-line of the event, how the company dealt with it and what we would have done differently had we been in charge of their crisis communications. As we worked in pairs for this task, it gave us another opportunity to exercise our team building skills and develop our delivery when presenting as a group.

My group chose Nestle and their recent issue with Greenpeace regarding the Orang-utans and the Indonesian rainforest, and I realised that although this was big company to take on, I would enjoy the challenge. As this was the penultimate presentation that we would give on this programme we made sure to take into consideration all of the tips that we had been given in the past nine weeks, in hopes of showcasing our development. This was one of my favourite tasks to complete to date and the positive feedback that we received only made it better.