Friday, August 14, 2009

The End of the Beginning

As we wrap this internship up, I just want to add a few things I’ve picked up in this last week. It is very important to end on the right foot, and if I ever need a reference or something in the future, I want to be remembered as having worked until the last minute. And you should to. So this is a short list of some things I have kept in mind for my last week at LS. They have really helped to put the cherry (I hate cherries) Oatmeal cream pie on top of a great experience.

Don’t Burn Bridges- This was mentioned in our field trip with Munch, as well as a few other times throughout the internship. Our industry is much smaller than we would like it to be, especially with social networking now in the picture. Being courteous and respectful goes a long way and will certainly be remembered.

Contact- Along those lines, be sure to get contact info for the people you really liked and want to keep in touch with. That way, when you see something maybe dealing with a client that person worked on, you could send it to them with a note of congratulations or your thoughts. This helps you to stay in touch and front of mind. After Ham Day, we got business cards from all who attended.

Stay Focused- It’s easy to get distracted by what is coming next. I have an exciting year coming up, this being my last one, but I still had work to be done this week so focusing on my tasks was even more important. Don’t get Internitis, the intern strain of Senioritis. The future will come; be in the present.

Evaluate- I took some time to go over all of my assignments from this internship, and read some e-mails that dealt with the process of completing work. Reviewing past projects gave me some great insight into some things I can do better and some areas I can grow in. One tidbit of advice I got from an old e-mail was, “When sending an assignment in for review, always assume that it is the final version for final approval. It saves everyone time, especially the client.”

Hopefully you enjoyed our posts, as we greatly enjoyed posting. Thanks to everyone at LS for such a great experience!

Evan R.

Brand Management Intern

I'll Never Forget...

As the final day of my summer at LS draws near, I’m forced to step back and reflect on what I, along with my fellow interns, have been able to accomplish in two short months at the agency. Between the meetings, the projects, the field trips and the various agency events, it’s safe to say that I will truly miss being a part of this office. As a testament to the contributions of the intern class of 2009, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite moments as a member of Liggett Stashower:

*Talking sports with Mark “Munch” Bishop at the ESPN 850 WKNR studio, where Munch and I spoke of our support for Browns all-purpose weapon Josh Cribbs receiving a new contract.

*Sampling the Little Debbie muffins Evan won for the agency thanks to an entry he submitted. For the record, I prefer blueberry.

*Receiving my first LS paycheck, if for no other reason than it allowed me to continue to support a handful of nearby parking facilities.

*Catching a glimpse of renowned Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz during our tour of the newspaper’s headquarters. I couldn’t wait to brag to my mom about it.

*Witnessing Liggett’s own Jimmy K. make a 30-foot putt at the AAF-Cleveland golf outing. It was truly awe-inspiring.

*Carrying on a 27-minute phone conversation with a user of one of our client’s brands for the sake of receiving his testimonial. At one point during the call, I couldn’t help but wonder about the size of the agency’s long-distance plan.

*Making my film debut along with the rest of the interns on the spiral staircase leading up to the third floor. All I can say is, acting isn’t easy, even if you don’t have any lines.

*Hosting a few rounds of Family Feud during our intern Fun Day. I can only hope I made Richard Dawson proud.

*Helping to detail a vendor’s truck at the Duct Tape festival. I like to believe my efforts helped sell a few extra units that day.

*Finding out I have an “it depends” personality during our DISC personality profile overview. Some days I agree with the results, other days I don’t. It depends on my mood I guess.

*Experiencing Ham Day in all of its glory. If it falls on a similar date next year, the forgotten month of August may finally have its own national holiday.

Patrick Bensi
Creative Intern

Thursday, August 13, 2009

That's a Wrap

As Rachel mentioned, yesterday was Ham Day/intern book reports. I was even given the opportunity to design the internal poster for this day.

Logo Design Volume 2 was the book assigned to me and it was right up my alley. More than half of the book is occupied with around 2000 logos and the remainder contains about a dozen case studies on brand identity.

As an avid skier, I found the Making of Burton Outerwear Fall//Winter 2007 case study the most interesting. This case study touched upon the unique approach the design firm took to finish this complex yet enjoyable project. Their main focus through the process was to create a cohesive idea and look, which is what Liggett does for clients. I also noticed some similarities between things I’ve learned during this internship – do your research, strive to be organized, ask questions, take chances and have fun. Those ideas will result in a project you can take pride in.

As this week comes to an end, I eagerly await the start of the fall semester back at Kent State. I feel prepared and inspired to do my best and continue to improve my design skills. Many people here at Liggett have taken part in my preparation, and I thank them all.

Abie M.
Graphic Design Intern

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is there a new way to approach branding?

Today the interns had the opportunity to present our book reports to the agency. Each book seemed extremely appropriate and interesting – and all very different from one another.

My book was Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin. It's about how branding doesn’t work.

You can probably see why I was a little nervous to present my book to a branding agency. But, I figured I was assigned this book to present an opposite viewpoint in order to evaluate the future of the advertising industry.

Baskin makes it clear to his audience that he believes traditional branding techniques are a waste of time and money, and will not bring success, consumers or sales anytime soon – try telling that to your hopeful client!

This book does illustrate how every industry is constantly evolving. And whether or not Baskin's thinking is correct, he does present some interesting ideas. He claims that companies and/or agencies need to start looking at their brands, their techniques and the world in a new way. They need to begin to understand that consumers are bored and are done paying attention to traditional branding practices.

Through this book report assignment, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the world of branding. Even though it was only Baskin’s opinion that I was attempting to understand, I was able to get a glimpse of where the industry may be heading.

As this is my last blog entry, I will end by saying that I will leave this internship with an extremely well-rounded experience. I truly believe that any experience is good experience. Projects come and projects go, but at the end of the day, what you add to the company, and what you take from your experience are what matter the most.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Final Salute

It’s like this. One Monday morning you are in an elevator nervously awaiting your first day on the job, and nine weeks later its Monday morning and you are coming to grips with the fact that the summer is over. At least, I am.

It was a whirlwind of experiences. I have some strong portfolio pieces to take with me, great networking connections for the future and fond memories to look back on.

My biggest piece of advice to bestow upon future interns would be, do not be afraid to ask. Ask questions . . . but more importantly; ask to assist employees with projects and work. Doing so will demonstrate a proactive approach on your part and it will allow you more pieces to use in your portfolio. It is important to make yourself useful while here at LS.

My other piece of advice is to accept that this is a learning experience. Just because you have come straight from the classroom, does not mean you are fully equipped with every skill needed to be the SUPER intern. Every agency is different. They have a different voice, a different culture and a different philosophy. Listen and learn all you can about each place that you work because that is the best way to contribute in a way that is consistent with the way they do things. Even if you learned writing one way at school, you may find that LS (or anywhere you work for that matter) does it differently. Be able to adjust. Do not get stuck in your ways. Make flexibility your best friend.

Tomorrow is Ham Day, which is a day where our Director of Brand Voice brings in a giant ham, and the interns give our book reports. My book is called “How We Decide”. Though it looks fun because of the three ice cream cones on the cover, it is actually about neuroscience. However, I have found it interesting. I look forward to talking about it in front on the agency tomorrow . . . I think.
Hmmm… I can’t think of any other words of wisdom to impart. So I guess I will bid you all adieu. It has been a pleasure working here for the past nine weeks, being able to feel apart of such a creative industry at an agency that reflects that industry.
Morgan P.
Brand Management Intern

Friday, August 07, 2009

Utilizing the Tangled Web that is Your Network.

In the past week, Steve had set up meetings for me with a public accounting firm as well as a law firm. Both were incredible experiences to see what kinds of advice professionals in both fields can provide to someone graduating in a few months. I was able to meet with numerous contacts at both locations, providing a true insight into both worlds. I am so grateful for the opportunities provided to me by working at Liggett Stashower. Above all the largest lesson I learned from both visits was that networking and properly using your network is key. Whether it be finding a job, or expanding your client base, the larger and closer your network is to you, the better off you will be in the business world. It is all about relationships. The relationships I am making here at Liggett are phenomenal. I will forever be able to use my experience here as a jumping point for the rest of my career.

Speaking of relationship building, last night was our intern party. We were able to unveil our t-shirt and poster designs to the executive committee, intern committee, our mentors, and our families. It was a wonderful experience to finally meet and get to know the families of all the other interns. You can truly tell a lot about a person by meeting their family. I was thoroughly impressed by all the other families. I now know where the interns get their personalities and character traits.

The intern party was slightly sad. It is hard to believe that we only have one week left in this experience, and that this is my last blog post. Even harder to believe though is the strength of relationships I was able to make while here at Liggett. I will be leaving here with six new friends, and relationships with wonderful people within a fantastic agency. This has been one great summer, I don’t know that I would have had as helpful of an experience had I not been at Liggett.

Danielle E.
Financial Intern

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lessons From Liggett

Not too long ago Danielle wrote a rather insightful blog regarding the myriad lessons we interns have come to learn from life at Liggett. While her lessons may have been on the humorous side, they demonstrate just how much information we have gleaned from our time here. In all seriousness, the lessons and advice I have received will not soon be forgotten.

As Rachel has already mentioned, we spent time on Tuesday eating and chatting with Liggett Stashower CEO, Mark Nylander. Today we spent a similar lunch hour picking the brain of Liggett Stashower President and Executive Creative Director, David Moore.

After spending time with each it appears our two fearless leaders represent the ying and yang that make this agency such an incredible working environment. While Mark has a strong background in public relations, David comes from an equally strong background in creative. Both sides are important ingredients in agency life.

During our lunch David shared with us the many risks he has taken in life that ultimately got him where he is today. He left us with a quote from Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% percent of the shots you don’t take.” I will have to remember this as I venture out into the real world upon graduation. I cannot and will not let fear get in the way of achieving my goals.

Bonnie C.

Brand Management Intern

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blast From the Intern Past

LS has had several interns who have made the jump to employees. As sort of a ‘What Are They Doing Now?’ on this blog, I decided it would be fun to get some insight from Olivia M. A former LS intern, Olivia was able to transition her internship into a full-time position as a LS Brand Specialist. In this position she works on several

client accounts performing media relations, ad routing and event planning.

Olivia attended Kent State, and studied journalism. When asked what the most rewarding part of her job now is, she said “getting a placement in a major magazine. In advertising placements are paid, but in PR you have to not only tell a great story but also build rapport with writers.”

To do that, Olivia likes to network, both in and out of the industry. “The best advice I’ve ever received was to network, network, network. Stay on top of the business and then keep networking!” Olivia encourages students to get involved with PRSA/PRSSA, the local 20/30 Club or AAF. To stay sharp and maintain awareness of trends, it is important to read industry magazines like PRWeek and BrandWeek. She also said it is a good idea to check out what brands are doing that compete with your clients. Apparently these are habits she formed earlier that have helped her continue to be successful.

It is always comforting to know that there is life after interning. Especially when interns can end up doing as well as Olivia.

Evan R.
Brand Management Intern

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Lunch with the CEO

Today we had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with the CEO of LS, Mark. This entry will recap our conversations as I point out a few pieces of advice and knowledge that will stick with me long after I leave this internship.

In the beginning of the conversation, Mark stated that it is important for interns to use everything to their advantage, and do anything we can do to stand out. With that being said, in order to do something to stand out and be successful, one must do something that is relevant to the job or company that they are applying for. I know that coming out of this summer experience at Liggett, all of the interns and I have a leg up on our competition and hopefully we will all use the knowledge we have gained to stand out from the crowd.

Mark also mentioned a good point when he said that the friendly competition between entry-level job seekers in this business also happens within the business itself. Agencies strive to differentiate from one another and they do so by specializing in a certain niche, following trends and watching current issues within the industry.

We also talked about the most important traits in a new hire, or in an employee in general, which are honesty and integrity. I truly believe that in order for anyone to be successful in his or her professional, or personal, lives, it’s important to have a strong sense of integrity. As an intern, learning what potential employers or higher-level executives will be looking for in new hires is extremely beneficial.

For me, one of the best parts of this lunch was hearing how passionate Mark is about his work, this company and the industry in general. When asked what the most rewarding part of his job is, he mentioned that despite all of the challenges, getting up and going to work each morning with a great group of people and being able to make decisions each and every day that will impact the business, is something he wouldn’t trade for the world.

Just like there are many different environments in college, there are many different cultures at agencies. By working at Liggett I have had the opportunity to grasp the kind of culture that is this company, and so far I have realized it is one of warm, intelligent, hard-working individuals – working in this type of atmosphere makes our internship that much more enjoyable.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Name Game

Last week, my mentor asked me to help come up with a name for a new client initiative set to debut early next year. Developing names, taglines and other seemingly simple marketing elements is crucial to a brand’s identity. As much fun as it is to work on assignments like these, it can also be a little nerve-wracking, as a client’s success often hinges on how well a name or other short message communicates effectively with its target.

In this most recent case, the name had to encompass an entire program rather than a specific element, while also steering clear of any previously trademarked words or phrases. It wasn’t easy. Let’s just say great names don’t just fall from the sky. Well, maybe the obvious ones do, but those are already all trademarked anyway.

To confront this issue I had to go on a, shall we say, “mental road trip”. Sure, it’d be nice if I could just sit at my desk and pull creativity out from under my keyboard, but the fact is, it doesn’t always work that way.

I began with researching the focus of the initiative, as well as all of the parts and pieces of the program. Then, I wrote down a few ideas. Next, I consulted some handy publications all about idea generation, such as Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This:. Then, I wrote down a few more ideas. After I hit the books, I sat at home and explained parts of the program to members of my family. They didn’t approach the issue the same way I did, and that was exactly what I was looking for. Speaking with individuals outside of marketing about a marketing problem often brings a fresh perspective to the table, which is often just what is needed. Finally, I attended a brainstorming session where I, along with members of the creative team, generated new ideas together based on our collective insights.

The point is, the creative process, no matter how small the end result, is a journey. Great ideas don’t always set up shop in your office. Sometimes, you have to leave your desk and go find them.

Patrick Bensi
Creative Intern