International phone calls are not cheap. But sometimes, when you’re a soon to be college senior with no agency experience and the sincere hope of becoming a copywriter – you take the call. At least that’s what I did.
Flying back from my summer in Ireland, I was beyond grateful for the opportunity to step into the culture of a real agency. I had no idea what I’d learn. At the very least, I hoped to be able to keep up. After six months of immersion at BIGEYE, it’s safe to say that I’ve gathered more than just a surface-level understanding of how to succeed in the industry. So then, what are some tips to success as a novice/intern/apprentice? I’ll keep it simple. There are three. Though, I will argue that these will lead to heightened involvement and happiness for a professional at any level. But of course, I’m biased. Anyway, without further ado, here they are:
Questions indicate curiosity. As an intern, don’t be afraid to ask. Tasks need clarification, documents need explanation and certainly, clients need interpretation. So in order to fulfill the duties asked of you, don’t feel ashamed to ask. Show that you are interested in what the agency is producing by sitting in meetings, injecting your opinion (when desired, this note is important) and coming up with creative ideas to fulfill the assignments at hand. This curiosity is the same innate force that creates great marketing. Being interested in current trends, other agencies, and pop culture feeds into the bank of inspiration for campaigns. It keeps the agency on its toes and thus, keeps clients impressed. There is an entire world of ideas waiting to be discovered if you simply ask around and do your research.
An intern wears many hats – no surprise there. Yes, I am an Account Management and Marketing intern. But that doesn’t mean that on a busy day I won’t be asked to come up with copy for a client or edit a proposal. So, be adaptable. Use the curiosity specified above to embrace the different roles you might take on on any given day. Adaptability isn’t changing your position in the company, but it means enlarging the scope of it, which is important to remember when you’re feeling bogged down by tasks. Whether they realize it or not, professionals in the advertising industry are some of the most versatile. They represent their agency’s culture, their clients’ desires and, of course, themselves. With this multi-layered identity, it’s easy to see how adapting to create impactful messaging is natural. That’s not even covering the ever-changing technological landscape that advertisers have to adopt at every turn. So, yeah, adaptability is key.
This does not mean arrogant. You may know a lot, but you don’t know it all. That being said, whenever you present ideas or completed tasks – take pride in them. Who will believe in you if you don’t? Cliché, I know. But if you are chosen to be a part of something (like being an intern), do yourself a favor and don’t be shy. Isn’t that the principal rule of advertising? To sell something? Well, start by selling yourself. Agencies are some of the most confident entities in the world. Clients need guidance on how to best present themselves to the intended audience. So, what do advertisers do? Concoct a killer campaign that teeters right between genius and crazy. Something (hopefully) so good that the only way the client will buy it is with confidence and assertion from the whole team. That’s how the best agencies work anyways. And that’s how you should work within your team – with confidence.
So, there you have it. The three things I’ve learned lead to success in my time at BIGEYE: curiosity, adaptability and confidence. And, of course, a damn good sense of humor.
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