As a student, fresh out of university with a degree to your name and little to no working experience, the real working world can be a daunting place. You always hear those horror stories of friends, acquaintances or friends of friends who have spent the past three to four years of their life trying to get their degree, only to be turned away job after job because they are over-qualified but under-experienced.

I sometimes wonder how important a degree really is? Most of us would have grown up hearing our parents tell us over and over again ‘how important furthering one’s education is’. But in this digital age with so many sources of information and online courses available, going to a tertiary institution is not the only way one can learn and gain valuable experience.   For instance, you can learn so much from doing an internship, things that cannot be learnt in a classroom and things your lecturers will never tell you about. Yes, having the theory to support your work is important but putting that theory to practical use is where you learn the most.   During my first month at Flume I learnt that:

  • Community managers are an integral touch point for brands trying to connect with their audiences and form long-term relationships. Without them there would be no community but rather just standard corporate responses and meaningless one-time transactions.
  • Account managers act as the middle men between the agency and their clients. They are responsible for finding the right balance between meeting client’s needs and the agency’s ability to delight them, while still developing and maintaining fruitful relationships with them.
  • Media buyers are the people we love to hate. They are the ones responsible for identifying the most suitable digital platforms to advertise a brand by placing relevant ads where interested parties are most likely to see them. It is no coincidence that you see ads of products or services you have recently looked up. Media buyers make use of things such as AdWords, programmatic, remarketing, cookies, pixels, tags and many more complex programmes to track online activity.
  • Copywriters are the wordsmiths of any agency, they are the storytellers, the word connoisseurs and the catalysts for social interaction. Contrary to popular belief copywriters don’t just write copy all day, they are a jack of all trades from writing to researching, editing, managing projects and developing creative direction, and from personal experience I can say writing copy is a lot harder than you’d think.
  • Designers and animators make the magic happen, they are the wizards that bring the team’s ideas into the real world. They pay close attention to the fine details that an Average Joe may overlook as insignificant, but they know the smalls things can make a huge difference. These guys strive for perfection even if it means reworking creative two, three or even four times.

Overall, agency life is an extremely collaborative one, all these positions need to work together and learn from each other consistently. It’s these various skills and personalities that make an agency unique. Creativity and innovation is the heart and soul of an agency. It’s essentially what clients are after and the agency’s end product. It’s also subjective and what might seem like a great idea to one person, may not be to another. However, there are no right or wrong answers.

Another thing I have learnt is an agency is its people, and internal marketing is just as important as external marketing because if your employees don’t believe in your brand why should anyone else?   Some advice to anyone looking to intern is: Go into an agency with an open mind and be eager to learn.

Ask questions, share ideas and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and come back better the next day, because life is too short do stuff that matters!   Lastly, I’d like to leave you with a quote because there is nothing quite like a good quote to start a week or in this case end a blog:   “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

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