Jan 25, 2016

Creativity, Mind Maps and Torchy’s Tacos

Reflections of a high school intern
By Amy Drews

(For a school report, January 2016)
Working at Pennebaker has been an extremely valuable life experience for me.

Going into the internship, I expected one of two outcomes: to fall in love with marketing and continue to pursue it, or to realize that it isn’t for me. Because of my amazing time here, I have realized that marketing is absolutely for me and that I love it. I am beyond grateful for all that they have taught me, as it has led me to feeling much more comfortable and informed about my career path. Working at Pennebaker truly has me feeling excited and ready for the future!

At Kinkaid, I have always been extremely passionate about visual arts. Originally, marketing appealed to me because it seemed like a practical way to use my creative, artistic abilities. That being said, I didn’t really have a clue what it actually was, or what someone in the field did on a day-to-day basis. At Pennebaker, I gathered answers to all of my questions. I realized that there are two paths I could take within marketing- the accounts side or the creative side. Because I got to sample both, I realized that I love the creative side. Coming to this realization really helped me plan out what I want to study in college, which has always been a daunting decision for me. When I heard of all of the Kinkaid seniors who were working at the same companies together, at first I was a little bit envious; however, I have realized what a blessing working by myself has been. I have been able to do so much and be completely independent here, which I think has been very beneficial to my learning experience. All of the tasks that I have done at Pennebaker truly helped me learn.

One of my tasks was making the “2015 Wrap-Up” presentation. This was one of my favorite tasks because I got to see every piece that Pennebaker created in the past calendar year. I was so impressed with all of their work: I saw incredible flyers, witty slogans, beautiful books, banners, logos, and so much more. Aside from making this presentation, I had some of the typical organizing tasks. Some people complain about organizing binders of old work; however, it honestly helped me learn and see what Pennebaker is all about.
Through seeing all of their old designs and logos, I was able to develop a deep understanding for the company and the creative aspects of marketing. Seeing all of their work made me realize how much I love this part of marketing: I was truly fascinated by their work and it helped me fall in love with the idea of potentially creating these logos myself one day.

I spent a lot of time making “Message Maps” for different companies. This is a task that many people in the industry do every day, and I was honored that I got to learn how to do it really well. A message map basically defines a company through a primary message, lasting impressions, positioning concepts, differentiating messages, and more. At the beginning of my time here, I had no idea what a Message Map was or how to do it; but now I know how to do it, and how to do it really well. This task was awesome because I was making things that would actually be sent directly to important people at all of the companies Pennebaker has as clients. In order to make a Message Map, one has to do a lot of research on the client to develop a deep understanding for them. In making Message Maps, I learned how to find all of the information I need to understand clients. This research was also extremely helpful for meetings because I knew who the clients were and what was important to them. Learning to make Message Maps was so valuable and I know that I will use this skill often in the future.

Next, almost every day, I got to participate in meetings. Through being at meetings, I literally got to help name a new company, which I think is so cool! One client we worked with a lot was the Fontaine family. Working with this client was very helpful with my career development as well as my personal development. John Fontaine Jr., the son of the man we met with (Jack Fontaine), was a student at Kinkaid who passed away at age 16 due to a car accident with alcohol involved. It was so meaningful to be able to work with this family (who I had an immediate connection with through us both being a part of the Kinkaid community). At this particular meeting, I learned that empathy and forming relationships are key in having success with clients. Through all of the meetings I was a part of, I realized how important teamwork is in marketing. We often had internal meetings to discuss marketing strategy with various companies, which was so instrumental in my learning here.

Each person has such a different perspective and such unique ideas; and I realized that all of the best ideas were reached through a combination of everyone’s incredible ideas. As a result of some of these outstanding thoughts, I was able to participate in some very unique projects. For example, I got to help make a Spotify playlist for the party of a company to attract clients. The company is a retirement-planning company, so I put “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” and other songs about the future on the playlist. I realized that the weirdest, most unique ideas are often the best in marketing. All of the skills I learned from these meetings were so helpful and I know that I will use them all in the future.

One task that I am particularly proud of is writing for the Pennebaker blog. I was assigned various topics to research and write about: my topics ranged from “why advertisers are so obsessed with the millennial generation” to “why a company’s philanthropy is so crucial for brand value.” I loved this task for many reasons. On one hand, it was a good way for me to continue practicing my writing skills. Next, all of the information I learned from my research was tremendously helpful in understanding various marketing topics. Lastly, I love that something I wrote made it onto their blog because it was a way for me to make a sort of “footprint” on the company. This task was both fun and extremely informative.

Finally, I learned how an office community works. 

I realized that people within the office are extremely friendly; and it was a lot of fun to be a part of that. On many days, we would all eat together in the break room; and my bosses even invited me out to lunch with them one day. A fun tradition at Pennebaker is that every Friday, someone brings breakfast for everyone in the office. One Friday, we got Torchy’s breakfast tacos which was awesome!

Through working at Pennebaker, I got to learn a lot of general mannerisms of the office setting. Having a 9-5 workday was intimidating at first; but I think my schedule was great because it truly gave me an understanding of what the workday is like. I even got my own office to do work independently. Adults can tell you how the office environment functions; however, experiencing it firsthand is so much more informative and valuable.

Understanding how offices work and the importance of teamwork is very important; and I will absolutely take this special knowledge with me in the future. My experience at Pennebaker was absolutely incredible. They gave me advanced tasks which were all key in my learning experience: I left with a deep understanding of what I want to do in the future, what marketing is, and many important skills. I feel so lucky that Kinkaid has Interim Term to facilitate this exceptional form of learning. This internship has generated so much enthusiasm within me for my future career!

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