Archive for Intern Tasks
In today’s post, meet Jamie Hogan – current Peppercomm intern and future PR star
I am originally from Rochester, NY and attended college at Oswego State University in Oswego, NY. I graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in creative writing. After spending the summer after school working at AT&T, specifically teaching people how to use the iPhone when it first launched, I moved to New York, NY without a job. I snuck in right before the economy took a turn for the worst and after temping at a few random places (Hermès and Sony stick out in my mind) I landed an interview at a fashion jewelry company and got the position. I started out as the showroom manager and after that, was promoted to an account executive. Although I worked at that company for over five years, I knew that job wasn’t exactly right for me and that feeling was solidified by a particularly bad experience. I started seeking out new opportunities in fields that I thought would be interesting and because of my background in journalism, public relations really stood out. I was lucky enough to be hired as an intern at Peppercomm about three months ago, and have enjoyed my experiences since then!
2. What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?
Since I didn’t have any experience in public relations before this internship began, I actually find many aspects to be appealing! I’ve learned so much in this short period of time and I really think that there are a lot of exciting facets to the industry. As far as my accounts go, I really like the more “consumer-y” traditional PR projects and also enjoy helping out with new business research. And although I haven’t done much with it, I think the event-planning side is very interesting as well.
3. Any surprises or revelations about the industry?
One real surprise was learning some of the “behind the scenes” responsibilities that public relations professionals take on. For instance, it was amazing to learn that many times, it’s our team who is writing articles and answering questions on behalf of the accounts that are hiring us. I had to really wrap my head around that one! As one co-worker put it, “PR people run the world, and no one knows it.” I thought that was a fun way of describing it and it makes me feel like I’m part of an underground secret society.
4. Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.
I’d say that my proudest moment so far was when a team member on one of my accounts gave me a shout-out during one of Peppercomm’s staff meetings. Getting recognized for something that I had done well made me feel great and really boosted my confidence. It was nice to know that my hard work had paid off.
5. Any favorite/inspiring case studies?
While it was before my time at Peppercomm, I remember reading about the Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles 25th Anniversary. For such an iconic brand to reemerge and spark nostalgia into fans by way of social media, I thought it was a great juxtaposition of new and old because of the innovative use of modern technology.
1. Tell us about yourself- Where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and PR?
My name is Ali Pearce and I’ve been interning at Peppercomm since September. I graduated from Elon University, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina, last May with a degree in Strategic Communications. I have always enjoyed working in teams and coming up with creative solutions to problems; therefore public relations was a perfect fit for me. Because it is an industry that encourages thinking outside of the box, I am constantly being challenged and continuously learning new ways to help our clients.
The culture at Peppercomm is unlike any other organization I have been a part of and immediately drew me into the company. The minute you step into the office, you can tell that everyone enjoys coming to work and because of that, the energy here is contagious. My interview flew by because I spent half of the time laughing with the intern committee. That’s when I knew I was sold and that Peppercomm was the place for me.
2. What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?
I’m really interested in the digital side of public relations. Social media has revolutionized the industry by completely changing the relationship between brands and consumers. I love following the digital trends and learning new ways to build a brand’s presence through these social media platforms. One of my favorite aspects of this internship is working with Peppercomm’s internal digital team, PepperDigital.
3. Any surprises or revelations about the industry?
I think the biggest revelation about the industry for me was the different types of projects that we work on for our clients. Before working at Peppercomm, everything I knew about PR came from the classroom and my internship for an in-house PR department. Working for an agency is completely different; no two days are ever alike and you are constantly juggling different types of projects for a unique client base.
4. Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.
One of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my internship thus far has been working for a foreign technology company. My team and I have been helping to establish a social media presence for this client. This has been difficult at times because of cultural differences and a differing of opinion on various topics. Drafting social media content for this client has taught me how to adjust my language and tone so that it matches my client’s audience, which I have come to learn is an essential skill in public relations. Overall, it has been rewarding every day to see an increase in engagement on the client’s Facebook page and to receive positive feedback from the client.
5. Any favorite/inspiring case studies?
I recently came across a Unicef campaign on Pinterest that really resonated with me. Pinterest is typically used as a platform for sharing things that you want in your closet, for your home or things that you want to cook or craft. Working off of this theme, Unicef created a fictional Pinterest account for Ami Musa, a 13 year old girl from Sierra Leone. Using this account, Unicef pinned items such as a cup of rice or clean drinking water to show the wants of a 13 year old living in poverty. These images stood out amongst the typical materialistic pins. Personally, this campaign forced me to think about those less fortunate about myself and instilled in me a desire to do something to help others instead of pinning another pair of shoes.
We love “day in the life” stories. It’s a great way to gain good insight into a company and see what you could potentially be doing in a position with your dream organization.
One of our summer interns with our Business Outcomes division did just that and reflected on some of his tasks while on the team. Read his post on the Washington and Lee University website and learn a bit more about our Business Outcomes team.
Today’s post is by Peppercom intern, Jackie DiMauro–future PR star and current organizer extraordinaire.
Cue the horns, fireworks and fist pumps.
Oh, me? Why thank you. I really AM the queen of planners, aren’t I?
Let’s just say I’d usually feel bad for anyone who stumbled across my color-coded planner, but this was the greatest compliment someone could give an organized-crazed person such as me.
I always carry a planner/journal, a calendar and an iPhone to organize and prioritize my day-to-day life. I started doing this in college when I was juggling six classes, a full-time internship, and somewhat of a social life. Now, even though I’m out of school, these prioritization skills are still relevant and necessary, especially in PR.
My planner helps with many things, including:
- Keeping track of my time and how long I work on projects.
- Prioritizing current assignments and staying on top of deadlines.
- Staying prepared for meetings.
- Having a visual of my workload.
When you’re constantly prepared for meetings and meeting deadlines, it shows you’re serious about the position and the company. Your managers DO notice these things and they WILL respect you more.
But remember: it’s not only important to be organized and prioritize your workload as an intern, but also to be interactive with your co-workers and team members.
Starting at a new place, we interns may not know the best person to turn to if we have questions and we definitely don’t want to step on any toes. Should we lean on fellow interns? How about an AE? Dare I ask upper management? Sure, any of the aforementioned titles have a time and place to answer questions, especially depending on how closely you work with someone, but interns shouldn’t be afraid to communicate with management.
I’m not saying ask your management supervisor where to find a pen, but if you have a question about an account you’re on or a positive idea to share during a team meeting– then by all means say it! Being proactive and contributing thoughts to the people in power will only help an intern in the long run. It will also help gain the trust and respect of fellow team members who are above you.
Personally, it feels great to interact with upper management, or clients, and be considered a team player. It shows a level of professionalism, that as interns, we strive for.
So go out to your nearest Staples or Barnes & Noble, grab a nice, new, neat planner, and start organizing and prioritizing your workload. And, at your next team meeting, try to contribute an idea or story you’ve come across. Not only will you feel great, but your actions will speak volumes to your team members and managers.
In today’s post, meet Courtney Moed–Peppercom intern and future PR star.
1) Tell us about yourself—where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercom and public relations?
I am from Manalapan, New Jersey and in the Fall I will be starting my junior year at Ramapo College. I am studying Communication Arts with a concentration in Global Communication and Media. An interesting fact is that I am the Public Relations Committee Chair on the Executive Board at my school. This has given me a major leadership role and I feel as though this internship experience will make me even more qualified for the position.
I have always been interested in public relations and how the media works. Luckily, Ed, my uncle/cousin happened to have an “in” at this really hip PR firm. I came to visit the office a few times and knew this is exactly what I wanted to do.
2) What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
Although I am still exploring the different areas within the industry, there are a few that I am particularly fond of. I find crisis management fascinating and think it is very exciting how PR firms are able to send out positive releases in the media when something negative happens. It is really interesting to see the creative outlets that people will use to display a positive image. I also think that event planning is very exciting because it is important for companies to have events that give them a good reputation and make people want to buy their products or discover their brands. Event planning is also intriguing because there are endless possibilities and every event is unique in its own way.
3) Any surprises or revelations about the industry?
My biggest revelation about the industry is how much work actually goes into each task. This industry is ever-changing and fast paced so it is important to not lose sight of the future. Public Relations is extremely exciting because it is always something new and stimulating, but that can also be its downfall because it requires a lot of effort and attention. As a PR intern, the most important thing is making sure you have excellent time management skills, otherwise you may become overwhelmed very quickly.
4) Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship program so far.
My proudest moment in the internship program so far is being able to see all of the hard work I have done come together. It is rewarding to see all the research and time you spend on a project really benefit to become a positive presentation or blog post. The first time my blog post was posted, I was so proud of it because I put so much effort into it and now it was finally out there for the world to read.
5) Any favorite/inspiring case studies? (This does not have to be limited to Peppercom)
My favorite case study so far would have to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turn 25. I believe that fans are the most vital people because they are the ones who need to be pleased. It was great how fans were able to be reached whether it was through blogs or Twitter. Social networking is something that our society cannot live without so it is extremely important that it is incorporated into campaigns.
In today’s post, meet Ed Page, current Peppercom intern, future PR pro and visitor from across the pond.
I am one of the many Ed’s at Peppercom, but the only British one! I am from London, England but live in Henley-On-Thames, a small town by the river Thames in Oxfordshire; famously known for its annual Royal Regatta and cameo in The Social Network. I am a student at the University of Nottingham majoring in American Studies, but a year ago I crossed the pond to go to college in the middle of a corn field, the University of Illinois in Champaign, on an exchange program for 10 months. There I studied a variety of modules such as marketing, journalism, advertising and even got involved with a weekly painting class. During my 10 months at the University of Illinois, I was fortunate enough to join the Illinois branch of the American Advertising Federation (AAF).
While there, I was fortunate enough to gain insight into the world of public relations, marketing and advertising. The membership included placement days, visits to various agencies in Chicago and weekly talks from various notables in the industry. It was these placements and visits to the agencies in Chicago that ultimately ignited my interest and curiosity into the world of Public Relations. It was not however until a family ski trip to Utah with one of Peppercom’s clients in February that I discovered and learned more about the company. Within three weeks I was on a plane to New York for what I thought would be a 20 minute interview, it turned into an hour long conversation with Mr. Ed Moed, Peppercom’s co-founder and the rest is history as they say. It also didn’t hurt that I was wearing a pair of trousers covered in tiny skulls which I think the Peppercom Intern Committee enjoyed quite a lot.
2. What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
I am particularly fond of event planning and that is where a lot of my past experience lies. Coming from an artistic background I am also greatly drawn to the marketing and creative side of PR. I have enjoyed working on a variety of projects thus far from brainstorming and discussing marketing initiatives to gaining insight through H20–Peppercom’s in-house creative department.
3. Any surprises or revelations about the industry?
Prior to working at Peppercom, I would have always said I wanted to focus my efforts on entertainment PR. However, since working at Peppercom, I have realized the extent of how public relations dominates the world in so many different sectors and markets. One of the best things about working at Peppercom and the industry so far has been the interaction with a plethora of clients from all different spheres. I particularly enjoy working with our clients in the financial sector which I never would have thought I would. I have also come to learn that no day is the same in the PR world which is very exciting; the industry is extremely fast paced and you never know what might occur on any given day. From a crisis popping up to your pitching efforts resulting in a published story, the PR world is a multi-faceted and diverse arena.
4. Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship program so far.
My proudest moment so far definitely has to be the third day of my internship, the saying “being thrown in at the deep end” is an understatement to say the least. It was a Friday night and one of our clients had a major event the following week and there was still a lot to get organized, myself along with my fellow intern Nicole, stayed until 1 AM putting together various documents that were crucial to the event running smoothly. My initial reaction when the clock struck midnight was “Is every night going to be like this? What am I doing? Have I made a mistake getting into the PR industry” (please note that this is not the norm for this agency)? As the night came to a close and reflecting on that evening, I not only bonded with my team and got to know them, but there was a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when the job was done. The client was happy, we were happy (if not rather tired), the event ran smoothly and the client was very impressed.
5. Any favorite/inspiring case studies? (This does not have to be limited to Peppercom)
One of my favorite case studies has to be SPOUT: Connecting With Film Lovers. SPOUT is a unique online film community and it came to Peppercom as it needed to drive traffic to its Web site and encourage new members to join. Being a film-buff myself, I was fascinated to see the work Peppercom did in driving circulation, buzz and obtaining great media coverage surrounding SPOUT; over 5,000 New Yorkers and film enthusiasts subsequently got involved. I find it fascinating how buzz surrounding a company can snowball and traffic grow as a result.
In today’s post, meet Jonathan Salm, current Business Outcomes intern with Peppercom’s Business Intelligence Group.
1) Tell us about yourself—where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercom?
I am from Lakeland, Fla., and currently live in Lexington, Va., where I will be a senior at Washington and Lee University (W&L). I am majoring in English and am a philosophy minor, but I’ve been able to take a wide variety of classes as a part of W&L’s liberal arts curriculum. I’ve taken courses in Latin, formal logic, philosophy of law and even a miserable semester of calculus. I’ve also spent some time in W&L’s C-school (school of commerce, economics and politics), where I was in an awesome marketing class last year. In that class we worked on a full-fledged marketing campaign for the National Student Advertising Competition and were divided into teams based upon our skills and interests. I was on the media planning team and was personally in charge of feedback, measurement and evaluation. When my professor forwarded our class an email the Business Outcomes internship at Peppercom, it sounded like it would be a great fit for me. And so far, it has been!
2) Explain what Business Outcomes is.
Business Outcomes is a division of Peppercom’s Business Intelligence Group. In this industry, firms like Peppercom help companies to form and push out their respective messages. However, the amount of influence and the type of message is hard to quantify. That is where Business Outcomes comes in. By analyzing data and using a flexible algorithmic scoring system, the Business Outcomes team has created a verifiable way to measure success and identify “white space” areas of opportunity. To achieve this we measure the quality and quantity of share of voice and public responses using different analytic variables. With these results, the Business Outcomes team provides benchmarks for success and prescriptive strategies for the future.
3) How does your division and work fit in with the rest of the agency and clients?
Business Outcomes is an additional service that Peppercom offers on top of public relations work. Some companies want the extra service and analysis that Business Outcomes offers, while others may not be interested. Right now, the Business Outcomes team works with a number of Peppercom’s clients.
4) What attracted you to this type of work?
During my internship search, I applied for positions with companies in the marketing, advertising, and public relations fields. What really attracted me to the Peppercom Business Outcomes internship was the division’s focus on the “why” of PR. Why are certain messages successful? What kind of messages are more successful than others? And how do different media forms affect these messages? These questions are what Business Outcomes seeks to answer. As an English major and philosophy minor (which might seem at the opposite end of the analytical spectrum), I am continually asked to analyze stories, novels, essays, etc. While postmodern novels and PR messages are quite different, the methods for analyzing and understanding both are exactly the same. The more I thought about it, the more similar this job and my background seemed. Additionally, my strong computer skills (particularly in excel) helped me hit the ground running once I began.
5) Tell us about your proudest and/or favorite moment of your internship so far.
It was definitely finishing a special project for a Peppercom client. We were asked to analyze every single traditional media hit for a competitor over the course of an entire year. Our search gave us somewhere around 6,000 total hits that we had to read through, sort into buckets, and analyze under a deadline. Thanks to lots of hard work from the Business Outcomes team and the help of a few of my fellow interns, we were able to get it done accurately and on time. It was a great feeling to see the finished presentation after all of the work we put into it.
Other ways to connect with Jon:
Seeing your name in print is always exciting. That is, unless the article is talking about your client and the reporter just quoted you as the spokesperson. While most reporters are usually willing to change the name after the fact, the gaffe may leave your clients less than amused.
When talking to reporters or bloggers, how do you make sure your discussion remains off the record without sounding presumptuous in your request to stay “off the record?”
Depending on the situation, ask if you can offer a quote or additional info FROM YOUR CLIENT for an article. As a major part of our job in PR is to present our clients in the best way possible and maximize positive media exposure, ask the reporter if they would like additional insight from an industry expert, such as your client. Doing so will not only increase your chances of having your client’s name in the paper, but also help establish their presence as leader in their industry.
Reiterate your position when talking to a reporter. It’s fine if you sound repetitious but make sure reporters know that you are not the spokesperson and are merely here to facilitate discussion between them and your client. While the reporter may have no intention of quoting you in his/her article, it helps to emphasize your role in this interaction. Over time, the reporter may even come to regard you as the go-to source for information from your client and approach you for opportunities in the future.
This guest blog series is by Ellie Jesse. Stay tuned throughout the summer to hear more from Ellie.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know how important internships are.
What you might not realize, is how awesome they are. It has taken me three summers and five rounds of internships to truly appreciate the art of it all. When I began my first internship at Peppercom in the summer of 2010, I had little to no experience and absolutely no idea how lucky I was. Feeling like you are at the bottom of the totem pole is not necessarily a confidence booster.
My point: sometimes interns take for granted what they have. Let’s break it down:
- First and Foremost, You’re in College. When you’re done with your summer internship, while everyone else is continuing on the daily grind, you get to go back to school with experience under your belt. Need I say more?
- Internships are like Trial Runs. If by the end of your internship, you realize you don’t like what you are doing, don’t do it again! Being able to check something off your list is priceless. Figuring out what you don’t want to do will lead you to what you do want to do.
- A Wealth of Knowledge. Interns are certainly hired to increase productivity, but good internship programs hire interns so they can learn. As an intern, you are in a position to ask questions, explore the company, and try something you don’t know anything about. People want you to succeed; they want to help you learn new things.
- Resume, Portfolio, Website–You Name It. Internships are automatic generators for your personal brand. By the time you finish your college internships, you should be proud to type your name into Google.
When I started my internship journey, I didn’t appreciate what I had. When else are you going to have an excuse to change jobs every summer? Probably not too often. So wave your intern flag high, I certainly do.
Ellie Jesse is a senior studying public relations at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is a former Peppercom intern, having completed two internships at the agency. Currently, Ellie is a marketing intern for MBA@UNC, which is a distance MBA offered through UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Ellie also blogs for InternQueen.com and myPRconnection.
In today’s blog post, meet Sarah Smith, current Peppercom intern and future PR star.
I’m from Northern Virginia and attended school at BYU, which may sound familiar because of this guy, or when its sister school allegedly banned this. (Personally, I never caught “Jimmermania” and skinny jeans are a wardrobe staple). After trying on a handful of majors, I decided on public relations because it combines my passions for writing, strategizing and enjoying feeling stressful way more than anyone should.
2) Which area of the industry do you find most appealing?
I am drawn to branding and positioning, and most recently interested in the digital side. It’s been said before, but I love the fluidity and applicability of public relations – every organization can benefit from the kind of distinguishing strategies PR professionals provide.
3) What’s your biggest revelation about the industry so far?
In a word: synergy. My revelatory moment came several weeks ago in a meeting as my coworkers discussed a client’s positioning, including upcoming opportunities and potential pitfalls. Nothing remarkable happened – at least not to them. But what I witnessed was a dynamic cohesion achieved only by those equipped with research, experience and deep trust in each other as professionals.
I was reminded of an observation made by Tony Lee, publisher of this year’s top ten most stressful jobs in America, when he explained why public relations made the list. He attributed stress to control, noting that those who have the least amount of control often have the most amount of stress: “…they’re reacting to whatever is happening around them.” The kind of cohesion I’ve experienced at Peppercom is possible because we counter that lack of control with forward-thinking strategy and proactive engagement with clients and media. Here, great ideas don’t stop at the elevator. Fellow intern Nicole nailed it on the head when she said that PR becomes who you are and not just what you do, and that is what Peppercom is all about (aside from being super funny – also great for synergy.)
4) Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.
My proudest moment came shortly after I joined a new account and was able to successfully connect our client with several top tier media opportunities. It was great to see the truly mutually beneficial nature of PR come to fruition.
5) Any favorite/inspiring case studies and why?
The Nikon case study is probably my favorite because it’s the perfect example of how older companies can use new public relations strategies to position themselves in the market and remain relevant.