Marketing

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.

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…

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!

Epiphany Abroad

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After 2 weeks in sunny Costa Blanca – Spain, I’m now back in rainy Manchester, and of course – back to blogging! I thought my first blog post-holiday should be about what has been on my mind whilst in Spain.

toughdecisions (image from nightowlnews.com)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my future and my career and what’s coming up in the next term of Uni. When I go back into what will be my 2nd year of University, I’ll be starting “Agency Life” (which is one day a week in an unpaid job in the industry related to your course – in which we get graded on), I’ll be going to my other lectures and also working. But another important factor will be applying for my Sandwich year – this is a year after the 2nd year and before the final year in which you can choose to work for a year in industry, to gain money and experience and maybe even use it to help with your final dissertation. Since my course is called Advertising and Brand Management I could take a number of different routes in choosing a job for my sandwich year. I could go into advertising, marketing, digital, branding – most routes I choose will be a guess if I’ll like them, as I’ll have had no previous experience – aside from marketing. Now for a lot of research into my possible choices.

I thought once you’ve decided what University you want to go to and what course you want to study the big decisions stop for a few years – but they keep on coming!

I would also like to thank Mama O for the Liebster Award she nominated me for http://gomamao.com/2013/07/23/virtual-hug-received-thanks/ – I didn’t know what this was when I first read it but after a lot of researching on Google I think I just about understand the concept. And a huge thank you to her no less. I’ll be replying back to this hopefully in a few week once I know who to nominate!

Social Media Addiction – Is It Real?

facebookaholic(Image from brandalsurga.blogspot.com

I, like many others, am the stereotypical young person who is always looking at some sort of screen. If it’s not my Blackberry, then its my Nook tablet or my Dad’s iPad, or my laptop or my TV. Sometimes I am even looking at 3 at once!

As most people, I can access Facebook and Twitter on my mobile so I can easily check what’s going on no matter where I am, and yes, I probably check them too much (every 2 minutes isn’t normal, right?). I use these as a newspaper when I am commuting, whether I’m on a bus, tram or train I will scroll through my news feed to see if anything new is going on. I use Twitter to tell me life events rather than watching the news, and I’ll have a group conversation via Facebook as opposed to meeting up in person. Surely everyone else does the same thing though? I think as a society we’ve got to a point where it’s normal but could it actually be classed as an addiction?

I’m sure plenty of people know what I’m talking about when you leave the house and leave your phone behind, you feel ‘lost’ without it. Many Blackberry users have been known to see the red light (the notification alert) even when there are no notifications, but they are adamant they have seen it. I will hold my hands up and say I have been sure in the past I’ve seen the red light when I in fact have not.

I have read an article from The Telegraph (I read it online, surprise surprise) explaining a study which was undertaken to see if people who claim to be addicted to social media have withdrawal symptoms when they go without Facebook and Twitter. Indeed they found out they did get withdrawal symptoms when they were forced to go cold turkey.

What would happen to people like me if Facebook, Twitter, or even mobiles were to disappear? Would we need to go to social media rehab?

Thomas Cook’s ‘irresponsible ad’

Thomas Cook’s ad from December 2012 was banned due to being irresponsible and sending negative messages to children.

Thomas-Cook-sign-at-East--007Click image to view advert on YouTube.

(Image from http://www.theguardian.co.uk)

As the holiday goers are queuing to jump back on the coach to head back to the airport to end their holiday, a man walks over to the coach and vandalises one of the wheels so the coach cannot go anywhere. It is supposed to match the tagline “holidays you won’t want to return from” as he doesn’t want to go home. He does this act of vandalism in view of children in the queue – this is where the problem arises for it being irresponsible and I agree.

However aside from that it does send a bad message to children about vandalism and bad behaviour, I think it shouldn’t have been aired due to the tagline being useless. Holidays are supposed to be exciting family experiences that are looked forward to all year round, irrespective of who you book with. The majority of people who go on holiday don’t want to return back home due to the good time their having, how does this advert set Thomas Cook aside from the others? The tagline could fit any travel agents.

I think Thomas Cook need to be more creative and think outside of the box. They also need to think sensibly about what they are showing and try not to get an advert banned…again, but also think about what differentiates them from competitors, I think the whole campaign was a poor move from their marketing department. They need to step up if they want more people to consider them for future holidays because they are not a company I’d even recall.

Good Twitter Management is Key!

I was scrolling through NandosUK’s tweets yesterday, noticing that most of their feed is filled with replying to people who have had a bad Nandos experience.

I thought I’d test them and point out that a lot of people seem to have negative experiences in their restaurants by the looks of their Twitter feed, so I tweeted…

my tweet

To my surprise, not long later, NandosUK replied! This is what they said…

nandos reply

Great Twitter management from Nandos here, they gave a good answer, controlled the situation and I was left with nothing to reply back, perfect!

The vast amount of people who follow brands on Twitter do it for a reason, we want to know what brands are saying. We want to see they are replying to their customers and rectifying any problems. Customer service is key in any organisation; they are the people keeping the business going so treat them correctly and listen to what they have to say!

After all, marketing is all about fulfilling the customers’ needs.

Do you have any examples of good, or even bad Twitter management?