We can’t believe it’s already here: our last week! It’s as the saying goes: “Time flies when you’re having fun!” Of course, a part of me hopes that this final week will go by like Baywatch’s Slow Mo Marathon so it can feel like we have a little more time at HLK before our final farewell. Since all great things eventually must come to an end, this week we’re choosing to make our final mark as Infinite Velocity.
In our first blog, Making the Band: Infinite Velocity, I make mention to Infinite Velocity’s inside joke about being a unique type of musical band. Just like most psychedelic-country-soul bands, it’s important to leave a legacy behind, as I know future interns will as well.
Since we learned so much during this internship, I decided to ask the group three important questions that we hope will inspire those future interns as well as others as they go through their HLK journey or a similar journey in life:
1. What was/were some of the most fascinating thing(s) you learned at HLK?
2. What advice do you have for the next person in your role?
3. If you could choose a different internship position that wasn't your own, which would you choose and why?
Nijaz (Art Director):
1. One of the greatest things I learned at HLK was the way agency life works. I was especially fascinated at how collaborative the culture was. Even though everyone had their own tasks, they still had to run it by the whole team responsible for the certain client/account.
2. I would strongly advise the next art director intern to quickly become comfortable with their mentor. I know that my internship would not have been as easy/straightforward as it was without my mentor. She was able to guide me into the right directions when I was confused or needed some creative help.
3. I honestly don't know if I could choose anything else other than the art director role. I guess if there was one thing I would like to improve, it would be my copywriting skills. I feel as if this internship would have been a good challenge, especially considering the amount of feedback each of us have gotten from our wonderful mentors. I truly think I would have learned a lot about copyrighting.
1. At HLK I learned about the balancing act of the client's wants and the developers creating it for them. You might think a website should be set up this way or it would make the most sense for the menu to look like this, but ultimately the client wants something else so a new plan has to be made to incorporate their ideas. This was something I'd never really considered so it was an important lesson to learn.
2. My advice for the next person is to ask lots and lots of questions and to just trust me when I say that sitting in on meetings is an awesome learning tool, even though it might not seem as great as getting to dig into a project on your computer.
3. I would choose the Strategist because the research aspect of it is intriguing, getting numbers and information to support the campaign tactics your team is coming up with. Also, I like the idea of getting to focus on the big picture and making sure all the individual parts align with that strategy.
1. The most fascinating thing about this internship was learning about and living in ad agency culture. In my head, I had always associated post-graduate careers in an office with dreary, muted-color images of isolated, poorly dressed cubicle workers routinely typing away mind-numbing facts and figures at a desktop. This image has been hammered into my brain after years of being succumbed to media of all forms. But life in the world of HLK didn’t reflect those fears at all. In fact, the other day I walked into the office wearing my favorite (albeit a little old and worn) black Chuck Taylors, jeans, a T-shirt, and my blue Budweiser hat. No red-faced boss confronted me and railed on in spit-flying fury for an hour about my dress code.
I just came in, sat at my open desk surrounded by my fellow interns, and started chatting them up. We talked about the campaign, trailed off onto personal tangents that had virtually nothing to do with our ads, started campaign talk again, trailed off again, you get the point.
Ad agency culture is all about mixing personal, pleasure, and business. How are you supposed to develop good creative work if you’re not comfortable in your workspace and not having fun? The times where I came up with most of my good ideas (and I think I could say the same for my fellow interns) were when we were joking around together during our brainstorming sessions. Plus, work that builds off your personal stories makes it good and relatable, so being in a space that embraces and encourages your personality to thrive in is paramount.
2. For whoever is the next copywriter, I have only three pieces of advice.
a) Be confident – You’ve been selected out of numerous applicants for this position. There’s a reason for that. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. That’s where your best creative work is going to come from.
b) Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Chances are, you’re not a copywriting prodigy that’ll revolutionize the advertising world (if you are, promptly disregard anything I say to you). It’s more than okay to mess up and to feel stuck. How can you learn if you don’t make mistakes? Whether it is your mentor or your fellow interns, ask someone for help. I’ve gotten over many instances of writer’s block just by taking a break for five minutes and talking through what’s puzzling me with someone else.
c) Have fun – You’re only here for six weeks, so why not enjoy it? Don’t let there be a duality of work and play in your life that you have to pick between. Let your creative work be your form of play. Go crazy with your ideas. When your work is your play, you’re more likely to come up with a big idea that everyone’s going to love and, most importantly, you get to be happy.
3. I would want to be the Developer intern, that way I wouldn't have to work with the rest of the interns and I wouldn't have to present (JK luv u guys!)
Maariya (Media Strategist):
1. How much you can learn in just a short amount of time! I've learned so much and gained so much new knowledge during this internship.
2. My advice would be to reach out to those in media at HLK! They are so nice and always willing to help. There are so many people that know so many different things and can really give great insight on familiar and new topics.
3. If I had to choose a different internship position I would probably choose the Copywriter position. Words can have the power to affect people in so many ways. Whether that be to possibly change their mind about a certain topic, to tap into their emotions and move them in a way they haven't been moved before, or to simply make them laugh. It's definitely interesting the way words can affect people!
Torie (Account Manager):
1. I am still amazed every day at how genuinely nice everyone at HLK is. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn't to have people I’ve never met before coming up and introducing themselves or complimenting us on how great our pitch was. Also, there’s no “well, that’s not my job, that’s your job” here. Everyone steps up into multiple roles and is willing to help others out, whether it’s the account manager defending the creative work or some strategists being models for a content photo shoot, and that’s how I think it should be everywhere.
2. To the future Account Manager:
First of all, like I was saying, everyone at HLK is so incredibly nice, so say hi and talk to as many people as possible! Getting an internship is all about making connections, so ask if you can sit in on meetings or have lunch with some of the different people at HLK. Also, don’t be afraid to work hand in hand with the other members of your team and help them out in any way possible. You will want to do everything in your power to create an amazing campaign that everyone will remember for when you come back looking for a job (because you’ll definitely want to) — that is if you’re a youngster like me and still have a couple years of college left! Finally, a small bit of advice but something I wish I would have known: figure out how the schedule for the conference rooms works! As the Account Manager, you’re in charge of this, and I can’t count the times we got kicked out of a room I didn’t realize had been scheduled while the other interns were grumbling “You had one job, Torie…"
3. If I wasn’t the Account Manager I think I would be most naturally inclined to be the Strategist. Kristen (the Strategist) and I worked really closely together and the line between our jobs became a little blurred at times, which is good because as the Account Manager I’m supposed to be the client advocate, and as the Strategist Kristen is the advocate for the target audience. Actually, the first day when we were learning about each of the roles and the mentors were talking about strategy, I thought, “Shoot, I’m in the wrong position — I should really be a strategist." As the week went on I realized I was in the right position as the Account Manager and organizer but I think I could pretty easily step into a Strategist role as well. Now if I’m really dreaming, I would be the Art Director if I had all of the skills you need because I’ve always loved design, but I’ll stick to logistics and leave the art direction for the more tech-savvy people (yes @Nijaz, I’m still learning the keyboard shortcuts).
1. The most fascinating thing I learned is how each part of the team works together to create a final product for the client. Whether it is a small project like an email campaign or a more full-scale campaign with many tactics, it takes a village. I loved sitting in on meetings and seeing the different types of projects people are working on. (So definitely make sure you tell your mentor that you want to tag along for his or her meetings!) Also, I have a general rule to life to never be the smartest person in the room. At HLK, there are so many talented people to work with and learn from. That is definitely a plus as an intern and for anyone looking for full-time employment.
2. For the next Strategist: be comfortable going up to each part of the intern team to check in with their work. You are meant to work with them to make sure that their portion of the campaign is aligned with strategy. And don't feel like you are being overbearing! The more hands on deck, the better the campaign can be. Also, make sure you understand the audience inside and out. Know their interests and motivations as this drives the campaign and your tactics.
3. In reality, I would be the Account Manager. I really enjoy organization and making sure everyone is on track with their sections of a campaign in the proper amount of time. It would be a good fit for me. In the future, I could see myself in that position (if I wasn't a Strategist obviously) because I would like to communicate with the client more regularly and be the advocate for their opinions among an HLK group. In a pretend world, I would be the Art Director because Nijaz gets to do some fun designs. Turns out though... I work too slowly in Photoshop.
Sara (Me/Content Manager):
1. The most fascinating thing I learned was seeing how collaborative each of the departments are with one another. All the departments work together to bring a campaign to life and everyone helps one another develop strategies, ideas, copy, content, and whatever else they can help out with. HLK pairs their employees up in similar ways to how Launchpad interns are paired up to work on a campaign, and what’s great about this is that all the departments are able to stay on the same page and assist one another when needed. It was fun to have the opportunity to learn about different industries within the market, bounce ideas off each other, and then create an entire campaign for a client.
2. My advice would be to reach out to others at HLK and to touch base with your mentor whenever you need. Everyone at HLK is assigned to a different account, so someone else at HLK might have insights that you need to help make your campaign stronger. Your mentor is there to help guide you through the process and to answer any questions that you might have. I know that I couldn’t have done most of this without my mentor’s guidance and him helping to connect me to individuals who could benefit our campaigns and the Launchpad blog. It was also great to meet with so many nice people at HLK and to learn from some of the best of the best.
3. This one is a difficult one, because I really enjoyed being the Content Manager. Therefore, if I had to choose I would probably choose to be the Copywriter, since this position can relay powerful messages through words. Also, I could take over Zac’s position and we wouldn’t have to deal with him. (JK Zac — we all luv u too!!!)
In a pretend world, I would be the Art Director because I love the idea of making some incredible, creative designs based on the campaign. Realistically, my graphic design skills aren’t at a level where I can do this quickly.
TO HLK EMPLOYEES: On behalf of all of us, we just want to say thank you to all those individuals who helped us and guided us during our internship, as well as to those who made us feel welcome at HLK. It’s because of you that we have grown and learned so much, and we will truly miss all of the amazing people that we met during our time here.
Who knows? Maybe if we’re lucky, then perhaps one day:
Thank you all again at HLK, and for those who are just beginning their internship program, good luck with your campaigns and we hope you have a ton of fun!