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The Benefits of a Placement with a PR & Digital Marketing Agency

Looking for a career in PR & Digital Marketing? Our current Junior PR and Marketing Expert Aaron Jackson discusses how a placement with brookscomm has benefited him.

A foot on the career ladder

Often, when I tell people that I’m studying a degree in Media Studies with Film Studies, questions are raised about the employability that accompanies this type of qualification. The connotations with subjects associated with ‘the arts’ are that opportunities following graduation are few and far between thanks to the extremely competitive nature of the industry.

While it may be true that the bright lights of Hollywood are reserved for that select few, studying media equips you with a broad range of skills that can be applied to a number of professional disciplines.

I was introduced to brookscomm through the online recruitment portal that University of Surrey has in place to help students secure a placement in fulfilment of a ‘sandwich’ course (3 years study, 1-year work placement).

The role brookscomm offered was that of a Junior PR and Marketing Executive. A handful of the modules that I had studied covered areas of marketing directly, but PR was more or less uncharted territory from an academic perspective. However, having dabbled in music journalism for the last couple of years, I had been working with PR agencies to some degree.

What attracted me particularly to the role that brookscomm were advertising was the opportunity to dip my toe into not one, but two areas of knowledge that I had a prior interest in. The marketing element would allow me to break away from a lecture theatre and put theory into practice. The PR element would afford me invaluable insight into a world that I had to thank for affording me so many fantastic opportunities as a music journalist.

Moreover, I recognised the role as a rare chance to take another step on the career ladder. As I mentioned, I was already recognising how competitive the media industry is – particularly for students fresh out of university with very little experience.

Research “show(s) that almost two thirds (69%) of hiring employers believe experience is the most important asset when recruiting with 72% of employers also admitting that too much emphasis is placed on qualifications and not enough on experience”.

Now, with nearly a year of experience as an industry professional at brookscomm, I feel well equipped to finish my degree and have a go at that ‘real life’ thing that my parents kept going on about…

The importance of integrated approach

One of the most crucial lessons from this placement that I will take away with me is how important it is for companies to manage their communications with an integrated approach.

In an industry that moves as fast as this one, it’s not enough to focus attention on PR or marketing. The average consumer won’t be thinking about a brand in terms of PR, marketing or social media – they will recognise a brand and their message as one whole entity.

The different areas that contribute to a company’s communication strategy will naturally overlap and cross over into one another to produce the message received by the customer. In light of this, communication professionals should be observing a brand’s messaging strategy through the same lens as a consumer would.

In practice, this involves being flexible and adopting a skillset that spans across the likes of social media, PR, traditional marketing and digital marketing. It has been a massive learning curve to become familiar with all of these variables and, as is often the case, it has taken a bit of time to comfortably work with this mindset.

However, the induction process at brookscomm ensured that, from the start of my placement, I was given a wealth of knowledge and resources with which I could get to grips with this industry.

Within the space of a week, I was contributing to crucial work in the office and was already beginning to feel like an important member of the team. At the point of writing this, I can confidently say that brookscomm has helped me reach a professional standard that has allowed me to work in a way that is integral to the team’s day to day success.

Now is your time

At brookscomm, I have learned things that books could have never taught me. If you’re keen to learn what it takes to work in a professional environment and further progress yourself towards being a top candidate for your dream job in the media industry, then look no further than a work placement.

Our MD Mandy Brooks says: “The placements we offer bring young energy into the office, which is a great way to share experience, generate new ideas and keep the business fresh and exciting.  With the original founders, myself and Chaz, still an integral part of the company, we have established a wide and diverse, knowledgeable, productive results-based team. Each team member is hugely valued and in turn adds particular value to brookscomm.”

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

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Lush quits social media: smart or a stunt?

On Monday, the popular British cosmetics brand Lush announced on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that they would be “switching up social”. The brand will be shutting down its LushUK accounts as well as Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla. This dramatic shift comes from the brand being “tired of fighting with algorithms” and that it does “not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.”

Lush concluded its announcement by stating “This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new. #LushCommunity – see you there.”

It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the brand’s digital presence. Could this announcement simply be a headline grabbing tactic, or does it speak into the future power of influencer and community marketing over corporate messaging?

Controversial marketing

Lush hasn’t been a stranger to causing a stir with publicity tactics that push boundaries and provoke conflicting reactions in the past.

The particularly divisive “Live Demonstration” from 2012, where a performance artiste was subjected to animal laboratory tests in the shop window of Lush’s Regent Street branch, was a provocative move. Most would agree that the overall message of the campaign was positive, however, this graphic approach to the issue certainly ruffled a few feathers and had a memorable impact. Much like this move away from social media, it certainly goes against the grain.

Maintaining online influence

The term “#LushCommunity” appears to hint towards a new way for Lush customers to engage with one another and the brand itself. Through which platform is unclear, but maybe that’s the point – that the community isn’t confined by a platform, or indeed by role.

Lush has collaborated a lot with online influencers in the past and in distancing itself from social media in one sense, it’s likely the brand will put more time, money and effort into working with lifestyle influencers and online ambassadors to keep the brand alive online.

The brand has already been successful in this arena, largely via reciprocated content. There are large numbers of videos on YouTube of popular beauty, fashion and even family vloggers testing Lush products. Some of the most successful videos are Lush factory tours which have come about as a result of Lush inviting influencers to come down to its factory for a tour. The success of these videos may be a sign of content yet to come for the brand.

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Redefining community

The future of Lush’s communications strategy is unclear, other than the fact that it appears the brand is moving its engagement with consumers into a ‘community’, which will likely include vloggers and influential online ambassadors.

What is clear, however, is that Lush is on the front foot when it comes to making bold decisions in its marketing and communications strategy. This decision has already given them a lot of exposure, but it’s hard to tell whether this short-term win will translate into a long-term gamechanger. The bottom line is that Lush’s attempt to reshape the structure of online communications is relatively uncharted territory and worth keeping a close eye on.

#LushCommunity – see you…where?

Aaron Jackson – PR & Marketing Executive

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

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How to maintain high standards in business

In light of our Managing Director Mandy’s new role as a client PR advisor to the Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR), Carys grabbed her for a quick chat on how to establish and maintain high standards for the benefit of your customers, and how this can be put into practice to make a real difference across all elements of business.

With over 20 years’ experience as an agency leader Mandy has built brookscomm from the ground up, gaining a wealth of knowledge on how having high standards within your company can lead to longlasting business success.

Where does your commitment to high standards come from?

A phrase that my parents always said to me growing up was: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. It’s encouraged me to have high standards and has stayed with me. Now I realise it’s shaped my approach to most things in life, including business.

The question isn’t just around why we choose to focus on getting the best quality in business, but also how. The ‘why’ is clear – we want to put our best foot forward and in a business environment, we know that this is the way to offer the best service to our customers. It’s the ‘how’ that takes a little more work.

What can be a barrier to businesses maintaining such high standards?

If you speak to any business leader, they will undoubtedly say that they want high standards. We all do. But often the focus is put more on practical details. It is far more a state of mind than it is in the logistics like how people work, or who is working and when.

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there – perhaps that enabling people to work remotely or part-time means they’re not working as hard or to a high standard, or that if you take a lean approach to your business your quick decisions may be ‘knee-jerk’, which compromise your output. But that’s not the case; in fact, in some scenarios it can even be the opposite of what you’d expect. Working smarter and staying agile means you’re quicker with your processes or working setup, not dropping on your quality.

What are some of the best ways to focus on quality within an organisation?

If high standards are lived and breathed, then the concept is always at the top of your mind. It’ll shape all your decisions, from recruitment and processes through to strategy and business development. 

By committing to excellence in your industry, you’re able to provide the best possible service for your clients or customers. Explore new qualifications, make it a priority to stay up to date with latest trends impacting your market, invest in training for your team and stay in touch with likeminded contacts in your industry. This way you can offer accurate and reliable consultancy to your clients and understand your position in the market that much better, helping you finetune your offering too.

What can industry leaders do to drive higher standards?

The CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) is on a mission to develop a level of excellence for our industry, bringing a new level of rigour for PR professionals through its qualifications, events, training and other CPD related activities. I’m playing a role in helping them develop this by operating as a Chartered PR Client Advisor, which means organisations can request support from the CIPR to appoint either an external agency or recruit a communications member of staff.

It’s great to see that through programmes like the CIPR’s Client Advisory service, organisations are committed to maintaining high standards and are bringing in expertise to help with that. By applying the same rules to communications as they do to any other element of the business, leaders can focus on getting value for money and stay focused on maintaining a high-quality standard for customers.

Learn more about how Mandy and the team can support your integrated communications activity here.

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Q&A with Carys Waters, our new Project Leader

We caught up with Carys, one of the newest members of the brookscomm team, to get to know more about her and the role she’s taken on at brookscomm.

What’s your career background?

I’ve worked in PR and communications since 2010 after completing a degree in Communication, Media and Culture at Oxford Brookes. I actually started my PR career here at brookscomm in its former life as Chazbrooks Communications and returned a few months ago. Since then I’ve spent time both in-house and at other PR agencies, predominantly working with technology and B2B companies. The company has grown considerably since I left in 2013 and diversified to provide a wider integrated communications offering. That plus the supportive and flexible culture that has always been in place at brookscomm meant I was keen to return.

What made you want to work in PR?

I think it’s the variety PR offers that appealed to me, and the fact it’s such a people-based industry. You have to wear lots of different hats in PR, as you’re constantly thinking about the stakeholders of the companies you’re working with, the journalist you’re pitching to, the customers or prospects of your clients; the list goes on. It means you learn loads and it’s fast-paced. Plus, the satisfaction of making your clients happy by working together to deliver a campaign or secure high-quality media coverage is hard to beat!

As Project Leader, what does a typical morning entail?

I typically start my day reviewing news online (Twitter, BBC, PR Week, Marketing Week) to understand what’s happening in the world and identifying relevant news for clients or for us as an agency. Then I spend time checking what needs to be achieved that day or week for clients, providing or arranging support across the team to deliver this as necessary. As part of this I also monitor what we’re delivering against any project plans and how results are measured.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?

It’s a cliché, but my parents have always taught me to trust my gut instinct. I’m not one to be hasty, so I always ponder my decisions (probably more than I should!) but I generally end up going with my initial instinct, and it’s hardly ever failed me.

What is your favourite brand and why?

It’s hard to pick, but I’m a fan of the BBC. I’m always impressed with how it tailors the brand to the channel – radio, TV, online – and maybe it’s because I work in communications, but I often notice how the message is shaped for the audience of that particular channel. I also tend to trust the BBC as a news source and generally find its news coverage reliable.

What news stories have grabbed your attention most in the last year?

I think it has to be anything around the amount of plastic waste we’re producing. It’s horrific how much is being chucked into the oceans and I’m so pleased that programmes like Blue Planet 2 have brought attention to this, so that more people are aware. I’ve been interested to read about a number of big brands boycotting excessive plastic packaging and I hope that continues throughout 2019.

What are you looking forward to most in 2019?

We’re investing more into the brookscomm brand so I’m looking forward to seeing the results of that this year. Working in an agency, I look forward to growing with our clients and helping them to achieve their own communications goals. At brookscomm, the clients we work with are so varied, so that’s always enjoyable. Personally, I’m also getting married, buying a house and have a big birthday in 2019, so there’s lots to be excited about!

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

0 comments on “Why there needs to be more young professionals in the workplace”

Why there needs to be more young professionals in the workplace

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By Barney Packer, Digital Marketing and Public Relations Intern

 

When they were just 18, young entrepreneurs from New Zealand, Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor set up their first business venture Crimson Education. Crimson Education set out to be a platform that could matchmake students around the world to their perfect university – a great tool, especially for those looking to study abroad.

Taking an idea and turning it into a successful business at such a young age shows that the upcoming generation have something truly exciting to offer. In fact, a 2016 report by BNP Paribas found that, on average, baby boomers launched their first business at age 35, whereas millennials are typically doing it at 27. The youth of today are hungry to achieve!

With Crimson Education now valued at $160m, it begs the question; what exactly is it that young professionals add to the workplace?

Providing new ideas and thoughts

Young professionals’ fresh perspectives are invaluable. Their suggestions should be heard and recognised, even if just for spring boarding. Consider the benefits of having this viewpoint in the office, especially if you’re a business that wants to attract a younger demographic. If you have your own audience in the office, then use them!

Our MD Mandy Brooks says: “The placements we offer bring young energy into the office, which is a great way to share experience, generate new ideas and keep the business fresh and exciting.  With the original founders, myself and Chaz, still an integral part of the company, we have established a wide and diverse, knowledgeable, productive results-based team. Each team member is hugely valued and in turn adds particular value to brookscomm.”

Social media gurus

Growing up in the age of social media means that young professionals can spot opportunities that others might miss. One of the biggest demographic groups for Instagram is males between 18 to 24 years old, meaning that a teenager developing their social media following at such a young age is experience that businesses can benefit from. Young professionals are quick learners with natural marketing skills and are agile enough to move fluidly in the modern world.

A 2017 study into the effects of social media on young professionals’ work productivity found that networking, sharing, and finding social information has a positive impact on professional enhancement, with respondents of the survey stating that social media was a catalyst of the development and growth of their professional careers.

You give them opportunity, they give you loyalty

One thing that many young professionals worry about is the future of their career, and rightly so. They want to move up the ladder, earn money and be proud of their work, so opportunities for them to prove their worth is something they are driven by. Let them demonstrate their skills, while supporting and guiding them, and they will recognise it.

Young professionals who contribute creative and forward-thinking ideas are a key part of the workplace. The skills they offer are essential to any modern company and should be recognised, utilised, and developed across all industries. Collaboration is the key to success.

Over the last two months working here at brookscomm, I have been given the opportunity to apply skills I’ve developed during my university studies and previous work experience. Being supported and comfortable in pitching creative ideas within a healthy work environment has made for a really positive experience, enhancing my productivity, company loyalty and work satisfaction. All of this has enabled me to grow as a professional and deliver improved results.

If you’re interested in an internship opportunity at brookscomm, please drop us an email.