Author: jomcgrann

Just Jo - your average student; studying advertising and brand management. Lover of Woo Woo's. Head strong and determined. Too hardworking to not be successful.

I Failed Graphic Design

It’s close to that scary time in a Placement Year – my first ever appraisal. I have my appraisal tomorrow with the big bad boss (who actually isn’t big or bad and is probably reading this… Hi Caroline!) and it’s got me thinking about what I’ve been up to in the past six months.

I have to fill in a “Student Self-Assessment” beforehand ready to take into the meeting so I have been writing a list of things I’ve done so far. The majority of things on the list are design tasks, which cover anything from leaflets to reports. It’s been interesting to work on such a variety of projects and give me experience working with different documents. Usually we get most things created by designers who will then print them too, but a few tasks I’ve actually created from start to finish in house and have been able to send them onto printing companies for the final stage. This essentially is cutting out the designers fee altogether – which in my opinion are all overpriced in the first place.

Tip: if you’re a student with basic Photoshop and Illustrator skills then create a graphic design company, I bet you’ll be better than half of the ‘designers’ out there already and you’ll rake in the money. Rant over.

To name a few I’ve designed a new complaints leaflet which was originally created by professional graphic designers. I designed the Junior Newsletter which gets sent out once a year to approximately 7,000 junior members of the credit union. I’m currently working on the credit union’s annual report which holds facts and figures of the past year and predictions for the future.

Who would have thought that I, the girl who scraped a D in AS Level Graphic Design (and had to drop it) am designing things for the biggest Police credit union in the UK?

Another thing this appraisal has got me thinking about is what I want to do in the future. Obviously the design side of things I enjoy a lot, but also the media planning side of things. Deciding what adverts are being sent where and what e-newsletters/ads we’re going to send to who and when. Another thing I really enjoy is being able to go out and be the face of the company – kind of like PR – as you get to meet some really interesting people and you can portray your company/service however you wish.

Working for a smaller company with fewer employees allows you to learn about so many different things, so anyone reading this blog who’s looking for a placement year don’t just aim to work for a company because you’ve heard of their name. At the end of the day you’re going to be a small cog in a large wheel and not experience as much as you possibly could elsewhere. I’ve been lucky to learn many things about what I DO want to do in the future.

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Does my Placement Year have to end?

After quite a few busy months settling into my Placement Year I’m back blogging! So far I’ve completed nearly 5 months as a Marketing Assistant at No1 CopperPot Credit Union and guess what…I love it!!!

So, what’s my job like? No1 CopperPot is a credit union exclusively for the Police. Not only has it taught me about the financial world but it’s let me take a peak into the world of the Police too. My job is to spread the word of the credit union to Police Officers and deal with the promotional material/gifts we give away, create the adverts, develop/work on the website, travel to different Police events/dinners/conferences and be the face of No1 CopperPot…and I’m sure there’s more than that but you get the picture! I don’t work on my own though, I have a partner in crime…Helene! Helene and I make up the marketing team since we said bye to the last placement student Hass, who has now gone back to Uni to finish his degree.

20140919_191354The past 4 and a half months have already flew by and already taught me so much. My confidence has grew and grew, especially when it comes to meeting new people, presenting and well, just communicating in general. Already in just over four months I have travelled all around England to places such as Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Crewe, Suffolk, Harrogate, Leeds, and even up to Glasgow in Scotland! One of the most amazing nights so far has to be the Charity Dinner I went to in Harrogate to raise money for COPS UK charity. Dolled up to the nines with my fella looking dapper as ever we danced the night away after a lovely 4 course meal and stayed in a gorgeous hotel, it makes me wonder how that can be considered work?!

 

Here’s a snap from Suffolk…

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Working for the Police has given me such an insight into such a unpublicised world. Ok… it may be publicised in the news every now and again when an Officer makes a mistake but when do we see an unbiased view of what the Police do for society or how hard there job actually is? That’s it. We don’t. Going to Police conferences and hearing them speak has made me have so much more respect for Police Officers and less respect for the media.

Police: 1 – Media: 0

For anyone who may be contemplating the possibility of doing a placement year in the future I hope this blog persuades you to go for it. You learn real skills that Uni doesn’t teach you. You learn how to deal with real people in the world of business (not just chat to hungover students), and you learn how a business runs, and you find your part in that business. A Placement Year also looks so good on your CV, being able to prove you have the skills necessary to get a job is worth so much more than just saying you have a degree and assuming that makes you qualified. Plus…you get paid, if that can’t tempt you to do a placement year then I don’t know what will!

Anyway it won’t be so long before my next post, I’ll make sure of that! Laters…

Look Up From Your Smart Phone

The purpose of this blog post is just to share this YouTube video to any of those who have not already seen it. We live in a society where we are obsessed with media and our smart phones are our closest friends. We capture every moment and make it picture perfect, focusing more on how the image will come out rather than the memory we are creating. Sadly, this is now the norm for the younger generation, our social reality becomes our main reality.

I found this video being shared on Facebook by numerous friends, clearly showing it has made quite a few people stop and think. As a result of this, I am going to make sure when I am out with friends, then I’m out with friends, real friends, not virtual ones, make memories, have a laugh, have real life social interactions that I will remember for a lifetime.

Here’s another video I found;

It may not be as long as the first one, but the concept is similar. It makes you realize what you really miss out on when your eyes are glued to your smart phones, you don’t see what is really happening.

But the phone’s down and enjoy what’s really around you…

Onwards and Upwards

After spending my 2nd year at Uni trying to make sure I pass the year whilst trying to sort out my plans for the following year, everything has now fallen into place. Trying to balance uni deadlines and job applications/interviews/assessments isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it is necessary if you wish to succeed. Any student who has ever tried to get a placement year will probably be able to understand how frustrating the whole process can be. Application, hope, rejection, application, hope, rejection – it’s a vicious cycle really.

Anyhow, my 2nd year is officially over and the placement hunt has been completed – I have bagged a placement year (and a good one at that)!

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After waiting weeks without hearing any news, 3 job interviews/assessments came up in the same week. Unfortunately this was the same week as my final exam. The three days before my exam were each lined up with different interviews – not the best timing really. However, as it is now the week after my exam, I am now free from uni for approximately 14 months, and I have a job to look forward too in three weeks time at a credit union! So my future plan is looking like: 1 year marketing placement, complete final year, graduate, get myself a full time graduate job. It’s all coming together quite nicely.

And people think my generation is lazy?!? Think again!

So now I have a new job that’s not so far away I obviously have a long to-do list: buy a fabulous new work wardrobe, invest in some killer work heels, make sure my handbag game is strong and celebrate with Woo-Woo cocktails till I start? It’s a hard life, isn’t it?

Nerds Today, Bosses Tomorrow.

This weeks blog post is purely just to show my love for this anti-bullying advert I came across this morning – I’m sure many of you will come across it shortly as it’s making its way round the web virally. As I am already a big fan of Saatchi & Saatchi, this possibly made me love them that little bit more.

This advert shows the typical school nerds getting bullied whilst singing their hearts out to the tune of “I Will Survive”. The lyrics in the song and the message of the advert is an unseen twist to usual anti-bullying campaigns (you know, the ones which make you want to jump into your TV and give the bully victims a hug?!) It gives the bully victims power and hope, and quite probably a realistic message to the bullies for the future – these clever nerds at school could well be your future bosses!

Genuis. I love Saatchi & Saatchi!!

 

Until Next Year, Easter

After a weekend of gorging on chocolate and indulging in alcohol (for most people anyway), the Easter period is now over unfortunately, and today it’s the first day back to work. Whilst trying to look for inspiration for this blog post I decided to look through this years best and worst Easter campaigns. In my opinion there has been definitely more bad campaigns than good – far too many ads have been very similar. (I mean, really, how long did it take you to think of using an Easter Bunny?)

Here’s a list of a few of my favourite Easter print adverts that I have come across:

bunnyI know, I know – this joke it very old but it still manages to make me laugh?! Classic and simple but I do think the message is clear.

EasterAnother simple and clear advert, this time from Subaru. Even though the image is simple and so is the message, as Subaru is known for being a maker of fast cars, I think it sets a positive brand image for promoting safe travels. It also helps that the bunny ears made from the logo looks very cute. A+

chocThis campaign included the advert above and two others; one showing the same woman with a chocolate egg as a ring and another wearing them as earrings – and ALL of them actually look smart! At first glance I didn’t realise it was a chocolate advert, until I looked closer. I like the play-on with a high end fashion advert, it just works.

get close to godAlthough this is a lot more serious than the previous adverts I have shown, the message is probably the most important. As we treat the bank holiday weekend as an excuse to drink and party, we all need to stay safe whilst doing so. I think the message is strong and is the perfect time to promote the message that drink driving kills.

deathAnd the winner is… TBWA. Not surprising though really, is it? If anyone is going to create a fantastic Easter advert then the chances are it’s going to be one of the top advertising agencies. I found this hilarious, I have never seen anything similar to this before, it is a truly an original and clever piece of creative work. Whilst everyone else focuses their campaigns around chocolate, eggs, or bunnies, this is a completely different way of looking at/joking about Easter. From the font to the colours and the picnic, I love all of it. A* for TBWA

And The Placement Hunt Continues…

Currently I am in the same position as many other 2nd year University students who have opted for a ‘sandwich year’ – forever searching for placement opportunities, then spending hours filling in an application form or writing the perfect cover letter. Then once we’ve applied for a placement that we’d kill for, we have the long wait to see what happens even though we may not hear back from most companies.

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Sounds like lots of fun doesn’t it? No, I don’t think so either. However once you do get a call back from a company you have applied for to find out that you have made it to the next stage, there’s no better feeling! I can only imagine how good it’s going to feel whenever I get the call to say I’ve been successful through all the stages and have bagged myself a year placement…

“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed like hopeless failure may turn into glorious success.”

I’m sure this quote is quite relevant at this moment in time. It’s keeping me going anyway!

On another note, recently I came across quite an interesting article which told the top 20 list of pointless degrees – as they’re “most likely to leave you on job seekers”. Here is the list:

20. Psychology.

19. Religious studies and theology

18. Music

17. Sport & Business Management

16. English Lit

15. Advertisement

14. Business Management

13. English Language

12. Sociology

11. Events Management

10. Accountancy

9. Film Studies

8.Ancient History

7. Media Studies

6. Primary Education

5. French

4. History

3. Criminology

2. Sport Science

1. Geography (With an Employment after 6 months as low as 36%)

I don’t think there’s anything worse a student could read whilst stressing out over assignments and deadlines that they probably won’t even get a job once they graduate! As an advertising and brand management student it wasn’t great seeing advertising as number 15 (although I’m glad I didn’t see branding or marketing on this list so I’m not completely written off). I’m pretty determined to prove them wrong!

Three Advert Rocks #SingItKitty

I don’t know about you but I didn’t think anything could beat #DancePonyDance, but I think they have actually managed to do it. With there new advert rocking the hashtag #SingItKitty they have come up with a unique and funny concept yet again. Each time I see it on TV it entertains me equally as much as it did the time before (surely this means it’s a pretty good advert?), it’s a nice change from seeing Go Compare adverts which I try my hardest to ignore.

If it wasn’t good enough with the little girl with more confidence than Beyonce, the little diva cat in the basket is her perfect sidekick. The advert concept itself is great but with poor music it could have been ruined, however this well known track that sticks in all of our heads for hours after it couldn’t have been a more perfect match.

Even though I adore Three’s adverts I still don’t think they have been totally successful – but in my case I don’t think they could ever be? I love them as a brand in terms of the adverts they produce, they are creative and memorable and get a lot of publicity but their service still remains the same. Realistically they put money into their advertising to hopefully get money out of it by gaining new customers, the idea being people will remember Three when they are coming up to renewing or starting a new mobile contract and will want to go with Three but is this really going to happen? As said earlier I love their adverts and like them as a brand but I still know if I’m renewing my mobile contract I’ll never ever go with them as, believe it or not, I actually like my phone having signal (I know, it’s crazy isn’t it?!). If many others are still aware that Three are known for their customers having poor signal, will a good advert really sort that out?

Oh well, I don’t mind either way, I’m sure I’ll love the next advert just as much and I’m sure I’ll blog about that one too! For those of you who haven’t seen the advert until now, you’re welcome.

 

How To Write A Successful And Popular Blog Post

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Since starting allmarketingthings, I have read different articles on how to make your blog successful and have read popular blogs to try and follow suit – because let’s be honest, everyone wants a good blog don’t they? But blogging can not only just be a hobby and a way of releasing creativity, it can also be a way of making some extra cash on the side (and a pair of UGG boots too – so I’ve been told!) Since I found out this attractive bit of news I’ve looked into the success of blogs even more, not for making some extra money now, but for leaving the option open in the future, should I want to do it. 

One thing I found out whilst researching is that the title of your blog post is very important! It has to be something people want to read about… so if you’re reading this now then I’ve done a good job haven’t I? I wasn’t actually planning on explaining how to write a popular and successful blog post, as I haven’t even managed to do it myself (yes, the maximum amount of likes I have had on one post is only 5) but I was going to recap some things I have read. Naming your blog post something more interesting than the content could be called false advertising, however, I would like to call it a one off scientific experiment to see how many views this actually gets.

Another thing I have found out is making relationships with other bloggers and seeing what others are doing does help. You can gain inspiration for things to write on your own blog and it can give you the motivation to write a post (sometimes we all need a little push don’t we?). If not for either of these reasons then just do it for the sake of reading. There are some great blogs out there waiting to be discovered, covering all different hobbys and interests. By making relationships with other bloggers you automatically make one more virtual friend who may just visit your blog just because they want to read whatever you’re writing, and vice versa.

This is just a tip I am popping in here from my own experience. Blogging is a hobby, so enjoy it. Write about what inspires you, what makes you think, and what do you find fascinating. English has never been a favourite subject of mine, however since blogging I have found my own style of writing and through validation of what other bloggers are doing I realised it’s okay to show your personality through your writing. I prefer reading blogs which are written in a similar way to magazines, as though I am in a conversation, and so I write in a similar way. Since having a blog I can now say it has become a hobby, something that was once a chore now I enjoy doing as a pass time… hence why I am writing at 1.39am on a Friday morning.

I unfortunately have to say there are no more blogging tips now. As I explained previously the title was a bit of a cheat anyway to see whether an informative (and probably highly searched) phrase gathers more views. I’m sure I will blog about my findings at a later date. Until then… keep blogging!

#FirstWorldProblems

I’m sure many of you are all aware of the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems, and if you are not, let me explain…

First world problems are problems that many of us will complain about in day to day life, many get broadcasted on Twitter or Facebook. Here’s a few first world problems that I have just found on Twitter…

“Can’t decide between Jamie or Nigella roast potatoes #FirstWorldProblems

“I’m so hungry, but I’m too lazy to go downstairs #FirstWorldProblems

“So many shoes…so little luggage space #FirstWorldProblems

“When your phone charger doesn’t reach you in bed #FirstWorldProblems

“All the tech in the world and still bored #FirstWorldProblems

Get the picture?

They’re all silly things and I bet we’ve all been guilty at one time or another of thinking/saying/complaining about something similar to these. At first, I found the hashtag quite amusing, and guilty, I have used it once or twice on Twitter. I found it rather amusing when I first heard about it, but now I’m rather reluctant to use it.

So here’s some food for thought… whilst we are here pulling our hair out because we’ve gone to bed then realised the phone charger is downstairs and we have to go allllllllll the way back down the stairs to get it, or Tesco has ran out of our favourite flavour of Ben & Jerry’s (which are all clearly #FirstWorldProblems), what would third world problems look like?

I have no water to drink and I haven’t had any for days #ThirdWorldProblems

We have no food to feed our family tonight #ThirdWorldProblems

This YouTube advert really puts into perspective how ridiculous the things we say actually are. It cleverly jumped on the back of the first world problems trend and was able to turn it around to raise awareness of their charity…

The aim of this blog post is to realise how ridiculous many of the things we complain about actually are. Since it’s Christmas time we need to look at the things we own and the people who are around us and be grateful of every single thing because there are millions of people who can only wish for the things what we have. Yes, it may be annoying if your phone dies and you haven’t finished editing your selfie for Instagram but be grateful that you even have a phone, be grateful that your house has electricity. It may only happen in the first world but it isn’t a problem. Realise how lucky you really are.

Merry Christmas,

Love Jo.