Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocking the encore

I've been nervous thinking about how I am going to wrap up this entire experience in my final blog post. The entire summer internship has been amazing, but I didn't know exactly how to put that into words. Luckily, Liggett has taught me to pull inspiration from everyday life. So here it goes...

My experience here at Liggett as an intern has been like a concert, a rock concert. And your favorite band is headlining.

It starts off with the opening. The lights are out and your nerves are fried. You're anticipating the best show ever but want to judge for yourself.
Days before the internship, I'd heard/read rave reviews about what the experience would be like. Expectations were high, but in the back of my mind I knew it was an internship. It could possibly be too good to be true.

The curtain drops and the drums are blasting, electric guitar kicks in and it's pure adrenaline right out of the gate. You sing along to every word, like it's somehow familiar but at an amped up level you've never experienced before.
From day one here, we were handed real assignments, acutal client work and propelled into creative executions. We had learned about this in class, but now it was in our hands. We got to create work that we could show off and be proud of.

After three or four headbanging jams, the band gives you a breather before taking you into the acoustic portion of the set list. You listen to the ballads and the slow jams, hanging on to every lyric and feeling what's behind each word.
We as interns, after a few short weeks, started digging deeper and deeper into the creative process, taking each of our mentor's words to heart and learning everything we could from them.

You've gotten to know your favorite band on a whole new level now. You're ready to rock again, giving it your all. You make sure you get the most out of this experience. No holding back. This is it. The finale. Time to get what you came here for.
These were our fieldtrips and our final executions, getting out and seeing the real world the way Liggett saw it, having professional projects for our portfolios. We couldn't have imagined we would've had so much fun doing what we love, all while calling it 'work.'

The band clears the stage and you are left with a sense of accomplishment. You can't believe what you've just experienced. You get a minor sense of shock with how fast it all passed. Then the band jumps back on stage with a final blast. Rocking the encore.
We had real intern projects and book reports. It wasn't just the projects that gave us a sense of accomplishment; it was the recognition and support from everyone around us that made the experience that much better. We presented our work to the whole agency and to our parents, friends and families, all bursting with pride.

So here I am today, Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow is the last day, and looking back I'm grateful for everything Liggett and the fellow inters have put me through. I couldn't have asked for a better intern experience.

With that, I want to say thanks for sticking with us! We hope you guys enjoyed reading about our experiences half as much as we enjoyed going through them.

Thanks you Liggett Stashower! Goodnight!
Ben L.
Creative Intern

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is it

Today is my last day here. I finished up my projects. I took all the pictures down in my cubicle. I recycled all my papers. Now, all I can do is pout.

Being an intern at Liggett Stashower has been such an incredible experience. When I was applying for the position, I discovered that an old friend from high school had just interned with Liggett over the summer. He filled me in on his own experiences, the outstanding program, and the friendly people. I found it hard to believe one internship could be that great – or live up to those expectations. It did.

I’ve written newsletter articles, press releases, and media pitches. I’ve assembled press kits, attended client meetings, and worked on major projects. I’ve toured media outlets all over this city and visited the offices of other local advertising agencies. How can I begin to express how priceless this has all been?

At lunch today, the interns dined with Liggett’s CEO. For an hour and a half we had him all to ourselves to ask questions and be given advice for the future. We heard his opinions on what to do and what not to do during an interview, how to impress an employer with our portfolios, and to stay positive while we hunt for jobs in this tough economy.

I've learned so much throughout this internship, even up until this last day. I will forever be grateful to Liggett for taking a chance on me and helping our class of interns to grow as young professionals.

Katie F.

Brand Management Intern

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Liggett and Love

Somehow we’ve made it to week number ten. All that is left is to tie up loose ends and wrap up some last bits of projects. Unfortunately, some projects have to be left just in the beginning stages, and others are getting their final touches as we’re stepping out the doors one last time. I can’t believe I won’t be back here next week listening to the hoopla of music blaring from Wes’ computer or wondering if we’ll have Hazelnut coffee that morning. I look at my cubicle and the walls have become a shrine of what I have accomplished. Next to a drawing of a ham sandwich I have information about press kits, then piled on top of that are endless job numbers. I’ve collected about six doodles via Ben and somehow I’ve ended up with multiple stacks of papers and project briefs. My accomplishments this summer seem endless.

I’ve been able to add many pieces to my portfolio that will be extremely beneficial. This opportunity has broadened my view not only on design but the whole idea of being a “creative” in the real world. I now know that I’m not crazy when I can’t stop thinking about projects and now realize that the rest of my life will be this way. It’s really amazing that something that comes so easily (most of the time) will be something I can do and become successful in. It almost feels more like play than work and being in this community is refreshing when I consider what else I could be doing for “work.”

While deadlines and due dates bear down on the creative soul, being able to work in a way that is so freeing is really amazing. This internship has really made me feel like I’m going somewhere. Where I’ll end up, I’m not sure, but with Liggett behind me, I know it will be something worthwhile. I’ll suggest to any readers and students of all sorts to find an internship and if you don’t love it, you’re not in the right place. Find something you love and find somewhere like Liggett and use that as a stepping-stone for your career. While most people consider internships a name on a resume, I consider Liggett part of my career and I can’t thank them enough for teaching and shaping part of my future as a designer.

Sasha Thueringer
Creative Intern

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Ladder or the Tree

As I tie up loose ends on projects and prepare to toss my LS graduation hat up in the air, I realize how quickly my life is moving along. Grade school is still a vivid memory, high school seems like yesterday, and college is now catching my heels. The 10 weeks I've spent at Liggett this summer have passed all too quickly, and I'm starting to think about where this experience will take me.

Flash back two years ago and I'm sitting in philosophy class drawing pictures of ladders and trees. We're talking about Darwin. Did life progress on this planet like a ladder, with each organism's complexity slowly increasing? Or did life evolve like a tree--different branches for different species? Each path moves forward, yet each route takes life in a different direction.

One day an executive in the LS creative department asked me, "How many times do you think you will change your profession in your life time?" Stumped, I answered, "I honestly don't know." But after he left I sat there and pondered over this question. When I describe myself to employers, I make note of my flexible skill set. I can write, analyze and am knowledgeable about PR and marketing tactics. But I think visually. I'm artistic. While graphic design isn't the profession I prefer, my artistic talent will always be a skill that I'll never stop using. It's just a matter of figuring out how my visual communication design minor will fit into my future dream job.

Thankfully, my internship advisers at LS arranged a day for me to experience the creative department. While I'm still unsure of which department I prefer, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to a different work environment. It's opportunities like this that will help me define myself as an employee.

My internship has truly been an invaluable experience that will move my life forward. There is no doubt that the assignments at Liggett have strengthened my portfolio and bettered my writing skills overall. I've learned to readjust my writing styles to walk the talk of different brands. Research tasks have improved my analytical skills, and I now know what strategies to implement when searching for brands' PR and marketing platforms. Add media pitching, event planning, and writing case studies to the mix and I've got myself a whole new bag of tricks!

So the truth is, I don't know where this summer internship will take me. It may take me the route of the ladder, where I stay in brand management and continue to take steps on the same path. Or, I could sample different jobs and move to different branches--like the path of a tree. But no matter which route I choose, I know one thing is for sure--my experience at Liggett has helped me move "up."

Rachelle P.
Brand Management Intern
(Follow me on Twitter @rmpatsey)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The beginning of the end

Every Thursday morning we have our "Intern Meeting," where the interns gather with our advisors and discuss our current projects. This morning instead of being asked what we were working on, we were asked, "How's it going wrapping your projects up?"

I think I'm in denial about this internship ending. How can we only have one week left? It feels like we've only been here a couple weeks and all the interns agree, we wouldn't mind staying.

I'll edit and perfect my newsletter articles for University Settlement before handing them off next Wednesday to the director of development. Then I'll begin a couple of internal case studies I know I can finish in just a few days. It's hard to know anything we start now will have to be passed off for someone else to finish.

While it may feel like I've only been here for a short time, I know Liggett has already had a huge impact on me. I've learned so much about advertising, promotion and about topics I never really knew existed like search engine optimization and marketing.

As a public relations major, I had my fall schedule planned out months ago, but half way through the summer I moved my courses around so I could take J320: Principles of Creative Advertising. I can tell working at Liggett inspires its employees to always keep learning, and I intend to do the same. Us interns have a lot left to discover, but our experiences at Liggett have sure given us a good push in the right direction.

Katie F.
Brand Management Intern

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

With such a short time left here, we’re still going strong towards our final projects. It’s unfortunate that we can’t stick around longer- When it’s time to leave it’s almost like walking away from your summer goal, but then you remember your initial goal was to make it ten weeks without falling in front of the whole agency on the spiral staircase (I’ve avoided this…but I still have a few days left). After a few weeks of practice, I can get up and down the staircase, for the most part, with ease and grace. Although, I still wonder who thought heels were a good idea for business wear.

Once I got the walking part down, I started to think about what my real goals would be. I knew that my initial goal was to learn and create. Though all program clues, keyboard shortcuts and creative briefs can help a lot, it’s what you don’t expect that teaches you the most. I’ve learned the most through observations and interactions with other people in the agency. I watch as Wes chats with Nathaniel about the best way to make a brochure “cool.” I watch Mark and Paul sit around a table, bouncing ideas off one another about some paint product. Ben just popped over to my cubicle with the “What do you think of this?” look on. We collaborate. Then we create.

Currently, Ben and I are working together on a concept for a Case History video for the LS website. It’s an interesting thing to work on a project after it has already concluded- you get to see the work as a whole from initial ideas to final product. Knowing the steps it took to get there is a little insight to how the creative process works. The backbone to any good final piece derives from a lot of thinking, sketching, and meetings. When you get an idea it’s like it was right there all along- then you sketch it out and it becomes a visual communicator. When the whole group gets together, additional insights and ideas create the whole.

School has sort of blinded the truth behind the creative process. These simple observations have opened the door for me. Instead of being afraid of what others might think or what they might try to do to “my” designs, I welcome their input and ideas. Now that I have learned, I shall create.

Summer goal: Complete

Sasha Thueringer
Creative Intern

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Stop this train.

It’s hard to believe I only have eight days left of this internship. Looking at the calendar and realizing this, I went into a bit of a shock. There is so much I’ve done so far but what else do I want to do before I leave?

Today, all of the interns wrapped up their market research for the paper client we have been working on over the last few days. We are all diving deep into new projects that sadly, we know we won’t be here to see through to final production.

Right now, we are taking flight with the case study video for Liggett’s website. I will be developing the script for the 3-5 minute video for the rest of this week. I never thought I would mark up ‘developing a script’ on my resume during any internship.

I am also working on some stuff for Liggett’s POV, which is their internal newsletter that covers everything from what’s going on in the agency, to hot trends that are happening in the world outside of Cleveland.

Definitely keeping busy in my final week and a half. But no worries, I will be sure to savor the time I have left here, scheduling lunches over the last days to really pick the brains of some of the great employees I’ve been working with this summer.

P.S. We have had a few photo shoots trying to get the perfect shot of this year’s intern class. To see the one that’ll be hung on the wall, you’ll have to come into the LS Brand Building yourself. But here’s just a taste of how much fun we are having.

Ben L.
Creative Intern

Monday, August 02, 2010

Check Out Our "Tweet" Shirts!

Every year, Liggett Stashower asks the summer intern class to design a T-shirt that commemorates their time at the agency. While LS lists this fun assignment in the job description, here's what isn't mentioned that every incoming intern should know:

-Make this assignment your own. The concept behind the T-shirt is supposed to represent your class as a whole. What sets your group of interns apart from the rest? What does your group have in common? What differences do you have? You ultimately have to "brand" your group of interns.

-Treat your internship advisors as if they were real clients. This assignment is designed to be like "the real deal." Appropriate paperwork, allocated hours, and professional pitching accompany the excitement of this project every step of the way.

-Put your creativity on full throttle. Be prepared to meet with your group of interns multiple times and come up with at least two to three strong concepts to present to your internship advisors. This is the rule of thumb when pitching ideas to clients.

-Don't be afraid to reach out for help. The T-shirt project gives interns as much independence as possible to create the concept, design and copy. However, it is always beneficial to ask others questions if your group is stuck. There are many past interns that work at LS, and they are always willing to provide guidance to the group.

This year, our group of interns brainstormed one idea in particular that took flight. Today, many professionals think in 140 characters or less because Twitter has heavily impacted the PR and advertising industries. Each intern uses Twitter as a personal and professional networking tool, and our class is also the first LS group to visit the Tribe Social Deck (where we posted tweets about a Cleveland Indians' game). Our goal was to come up with a clever phrase and design that described our appreciation for LS.

I'd like to credit Ben for his creative copy (@buildingbrands is Liggett's Twitter handle) and Sasha for the perfect design. I'd also like to thank Stephanie for giving us the opportunity to silk-screen our very own T-shirts and giving us guidance throughout the process. This assignment has been a lot fun and has taught me so much about creating a project for a client.

Rachelle Patsey
Brand Management Intern

Here's what we came up with!

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's tradition!

Traditions are important. Although, we don't like to fall into the trap of we've-always-done-it-this-way thinking, the LS internship program does have a number of traditions. And this year two of our favorites happened to fall on consecutive days. Last night we hosted our annual Intern Party and today is Ham Day!

The Intern Party celebrates the achievements our interns have made over the course of the summer. We invite their families to the agency so they can tour the space and see some of the fruits of their labor. This is also when the interns unveil their T-shirt design. (I'll let one of them tell you all about it next week.) As always, we had a grand time getting to know our interns' parents and once again want to thank them for lending us their children for the summer.

As for Ham Day, here's the story:

Ham Day was founded at Liggett Stashower in 2002. An organization that I volunteered for would reward its helpers at Christmas and Easter with a ham. My dog and I could not devour an entire ham, so I brought it into the office to share. Co-workers would provide in bread, cheese, condiments, chips and we’d have a noontime feast!

There are typically two Ham Days a year – Summer Ham Day & Winter Ham Day. We use the summer installment as a forum for our interns to present their book reports to the agency – another LS tradition.

So there’s your history lesson for the day. Here’s your homework:
1. Learn about your employer’s (or prospective employer’s) traditions. It’s a great way to figure out what the culture is like – and whether or not you’re a good fit.
2. If your organization doesn’t have any traditions, start one. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. It could be a softball team or a sundae bar. How could they not hire the intern that came up with the idea for the annual one-legged yodel-off? Just be sure it's fun, inclusive and doesn't get in the way of doing what you get paid to do.

If you’re interested in the books our interns read this year, here are the links:

Sasha - The Design of Future Things by Don Norman

Katie - Build a Brand in 30 Days by Simon Middleton

Mark Szczepanik
Director of Brand Voice

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not just managing brands

With just a little more than two weeks left of our internship, it’s crunch time!

Every morning I write a to-do list of the projects I’m working on in the order they need to be completed. That helps to keep me on track, but life at Liggett can be very unpredictable.

All four of us interns have been working on a large research project for a client who is considering creating a new product. We were assigned specific topics to look up and were told to track down numerous encyclopedic articles. The work is very interesting, but can take a while as we need to read, print and highlight all the best facts.

It always seems when I’m in the heat of my research, I’m needed somewhere else! In the midst of all this, I’ve delivered a request for proposal to a prospective client and have helped assemble intricate press kits that will be mailed out later today. I also have finishing my newsletter articles for University Settlement and writing internal case studies on my agenda.

My time management has definitely improved from my experiences at Liggett. Instead of worrying when a new project was assigned to me during the middle of something else, I’ve learned to organize my schedule and kick things into full gear.

The unpredictability of life at Liggett is what makes working here so exciting. You never know what project will be coming your way next!

Katie F.

Brand Management Intern

So, I'm one of those people...

A few weeks ago, Ben, the other creative intern, mentioned the big project him and I had been working on for a few weeks now, a DIY project for a Satellite Media Tour. I remember the day I got the assignment; it sounded exciting and quite in-depth, and I was correct. Not only did I get to create the design for furniture pieces, I also executed the designs and documented every step so people just like you can do it too! It wasn’t until this project did I realize how many actions are required to show how to DIY.

The actual SMT (Satellite Media Tour) is set to be airing during August and then I’ll be able to see my own work on the screen. This is very exciting and I cannot believe I’ve gotten the chance to do things as big as this as an “intern”. This, however, is how Liggett separates itself from other internships; while there will always be the days when you do a coffee run, (like yesterday, my mentor Wes asked very nicely for me to run to Starbucks for him, but he always buys me a drink too- yum frappuccino!) on a daily basis you're handed projects and included in meetings just like any other employee at the agency.

I have acquired many strong pieces for my portfolio this fall, which I cannot wait to show the others in my class. The feeling of seeing my work in public places, online, and in the hands of others really fuels my desire to continue in this field. I’ve never doubted what I’ve wanted to do, once I realized just what that was, and I cannot wait to finish my last two years at school, because it’s places like this and people like this that make it all seem worthwhile. I may never know the science behind how my computer works, and I know that while the necessity is that it works, the execution and idea behind any design always ends up back to the brain of a “creative” thinker. I consider myself lucky to be one of those because when I look back at what I’ve done and look forward to what I will do, the possibilities are endless and forever expanding.

Sasha T.

Creative Intern

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How may I help you?

Monotony is rarely seen here at Liggett. I’ve come to realize ‘copywriting intern’ doesn’t cover the tasks that I’ve accomplished. It’s impossible to become well rounded by doing the same thing everyday. As a helpful intern, I’ve got a wide range of experience under my belt just by always offering to help.
You wouldn’t believe the work that goes into a business proposal here. Last week I was helping with a new packaging proposal within its final hour. Showing a client a nice print out of a design is not going to get you the account. This team created new packaging for an entire line of products. We had to package these ourselves as an agency, each one, individually, by hand, to perfection. This involved searching out and buying every piece of the hardware line in its old packaging, neatly opening it and using the casings for the new line created. Attention to detail was a must.
But packaging wasn’t my only ‘first’ here. Most recently, I had my hand at becoming a director for one of Liggett’s new case study videos. We have to come up with a way to tell the story of one of Liggett’s successful campaigns. The campaign can speak for itself, but we have to make it visually fun to watch and illustrate the success of Liggett’s work. Sasha and I, after much brainstorming, have a few sketched up storyboards to present today. Stay tuned for a new case study video on Liggett’s website.

Ben L.
Creative Intern

Monday, July 26, 2010

Details Matter!

Since I started my internship at Liggett, I've been assisting the brand management team in planning a corporate event that will be held in Cleveland in the fall. Although I've worked UD alumni events in the past, I never experienced the behind-the-scenes workload of planning and organizing event specifics until now.

In September, Liggett Stashower will be hosting Worldcom Public Relations Group's annual conference in the heart of downtown Cleveland. This three-day networking extravaganza will feature discussions of the latest PR trends, social media guest speakers, and a cocktail party at Liggett's chic office space. Worldcom guests will also have the chance to visit Cleveland's most reputable landmarks, including The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and critically acclaimed restaurants, such as Lola, Blue Pointe Grill, and Dante.

I've had the opportunity to participate in meetings with brand management execs and witness the hard work they've put into every detail. From securing hotels to booking musicians, Liggett employees seem to have a 360-degree view for planning a corporate event. After partaking in these meetings and having discussions with co-workers, I've realized how important it is to stay organized and prepare for the "what-ifs."

As a part of the Worldcom planning team, I truly feel that my assistance has been meaningful. For my first task, I wrote a dine-around-guide featuring 14 of Cleveland's best restaurants. This guide has been sent to Worldcom partners to spark excitement about experiencing Cleveland's unique dining attractions. I've also researched transportation services, received quotes, and created a pricing table for my team's review. My newest assignment is to research catering options for the cocktail party Liggett will host the first night of the conference. I've been in communication with various catering companies to ask for sample quotes and price points. To cover my bases, I've taken notes and written memos to make sure that I am doing my job as well as the other members on the planning committee.

What I've learned is that every detail matters, and I'm so glad that I am able to contribute to such an important and exciting event!

Rachelle Patsey
Brand Management Intern

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My time at University Settlement

The last time I checked in with the blog world about University Settlement, I had just spent my first day at the community center to discuss the upcoming project. Now five weeks later, I am deep into the assignment.

The past five Wednesdays I’ve spent part of the day at the Settlement meeting with program managers, board members and volunteers, interviewing seniors in the Adult Wellness Program, and sitting in the Hunger Center talking with clients as they pick up their groceries.

From the interviews so far, I’ve written 18 stories for the Settlement’s newsletter. Since I started my degree in journalism before switching to public relations, I was thrilled to be able to use my newspaper background while interviewing and writing these articles.

I learned quickly, however, that there are small, but important differences between newsletters and newspapers. Since these stories could be used in the Settlement’s newsletter, website, and even letters to donors, I’ve learned to write the facts while centering the stories about the Settlement’s greatest strengths.

It’s also been incredible to work one-on-one with the Settlement’s director of development. Each Wednesday before my interviews we discuss the project’s progress and he gives me constructive criticism about the stories I’ve written.

Working with the Settlement has taught me a lot about how a small organization works to promote their mission and has allowed me to meet with some really wonderful people. Though I'll be leaving the Settlement with the final stories in just three weeks, the lessons I've learned from their organization will help me for a long time to come.

Katie F.

Brand Management Intern

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ham Mania

Among the many exciting days full of field trips and free food this week, me and my fellow LS interns are still working towards deadlines and meetings around the office. Next Friday the agency will be celebrating Ham Day, a Liggett annual event - not only do we get to enjoy ham and the company of the agency, we get to show everyone what we’ve been working on these past seven weeks. Each of us will be presenting our thoughts and ideas in a sort of “book report” style based on a book assigned to us at the beginning of the summer.

The fun part, though, is we get to promote and advertise this event ourselves internally. Ben, another creative intern, and I have been working towards concepting for the poster and there’s way more possibilities than you would think of how to utilize a pig in a poster. From a cartoon, to an outline, to Porky, and just a plain sandwich, we’re trying to find the best way to say “Hey! Come eat and enjoy yourself.” Some of the agency staff will see that visually, others will see it in words. It’s the correlation of both things that will make our poster stand out from the rest and worthy of being posted to the agency walls.

The actual process is something interesting to think about. While something can graphically say a lot, it cannot say it all. The constant back and forth between Ben and I is never-ending- in a good way. We use each other’s brains to pull out things we could not see alone and when we fall short of words, we have two minds searching for them, instead of just one.

Look forward to a future post with the final outcome. And enjoy some ham this week!

Sasha T.
Creative Intern

Behind the scenes

You wouldn’t believe the work that goes into everyday promotion. When you see an advertisement on the side of a bus, or a do-it-yourself infomercial, the stuff you are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.

One of the projects Sasha and I are working on right now is for a Satellite Media Tour (or an SMT). We will be televising a step-by-step instruction video on how to custom decorate furniture and accessories at home, using one of LS’ clients’ products. So, you might be thinking: hire some pretty girl, throw her in front of a camera with some paint, tape, furniture and say action. Well, you probably know it takes more work than that, but it’s a lot more work than I expected.

Not only do we have to have multiple test runs to make the process foolproof for live TV, but we also have to write detailed instructions for every step of the painting process-which is where I come in. I was assigned to write directions on how to turn your measly coffee table into a functional, modern piece of art. Each step requires a picture to make sure even the most artistically challenged can execute this design like Martha Stewart.

It takes a lot to pull off a successful project and we are about halfway through this particular one. When the process is complete and your left with something to be proud of, the feeling is priceless.

Ben L.
Creative Intern

Monday, July 19, 2010

Viewing PR as a Skill

I once had a discussion with a friend who happened to be a marketing major. He playfully commented, "PR is a joke. It's basically just like saying you graduated from college--no specialty in particular." Besides being offended, I couldn't have disagreed with him more!

While communication majors aren't required to take difficult business classes like accounting or economics that is not to say that our education is a waste. To earn an 'A' in a PR class, you must have exceptional writing skills and be able to analyze a situation from all angles and perspectives. While crunching numbers may be missing from my coursework, investigating public opinion and case studies require time-spent reading, writing and evaluating. Factor in social media and new technology and you have a whole new bundle of skills that a future PR professional must master.

My experience at Liggett has reinforced my belief that public relations isn't just "a broad field." Instead, it is a field that is multifaceted and gaining momentum as the Internet continues to spread its wings and infiltrate every industry. A lot of the work I've been doing at Liggett requires me to analyze how our clients present their brands on the Web. After doing a series of competitive analyses, I've learned how to answer questions such as "What is their brand platform?" "How does this influence consumers?" "How are they using social media, and in what ways do they engage their audience?" A company that better communicates with consumers via the Web may have the advantage over lesser-engaging businesses.

After completing analyses, PR professionals at Liggett must strategically design a plan that will help enhance their clients' brand, and hence, consumers'/donors'/investors' perceptions. Last week, I sat in on a meeting with one of LS's clients that needed to reinvent their "brand architecture." Simple details such as naming the master company and its sub-divisions may affect the way others perceive a company's approach. For example: Should your brand use the "P&G model" and label separate brands to adhere to separate segments, or does the master brand need to be reinforced and tie in with sub-divisions, like Marriott Hotels?

After watching LS employees' presentation and participating in the research stages of the PR process, I have a new respect for the field I so passionately pursue. Liggett's PR professionals know their stuff, and the fact that I'm learning something new every day means that PR is definitely a skill to be acquired.

Rachelle Patsey
Brand Management Intern

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting ready to Crawl

This week has been especially busy with so many projects and assignments. That's why we're so excited to go out next Monday on our Intern Crawl.

Every year the interns at Liggett organize a special event with the interns at other Cleveland public relations and advertising agencies. We get together, eat lunch, and then spend the afternoon networking and touring each other's offices.

This Monday we've decided to have lunch at The Greenhouse Tavern on East Fourth Street. Chef Jonathon Sawyer was named one of Food and Wine magazine's Best New Chefs of 2010 and the restaurant itself was recently ranked by Bon Appetit as one of the top ten best new restaurants in the country. Even though we'll be dining on an intern's budget, it will be so exciting to say we've eaten there!

After lunch, we'll spend the afternoon touring Liggett, Dix & Eaton, Landau, Flourish and Glazen. It will be really interesting to see the other offices and to hear about the other interns' summer experiences. We got to know each other a little when we all sat on the Social Deck at a Cleveland Indians game, so it'll be great to see everyone again!

So today, thoughts of the Intern Crawl will keep me going! I can't wait!

Katie F.
Brand Management Intern

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TV Legends

My whole life, I always thought working would consist of handing out Cokes and burgers to the mean and hungry. It wasn’t until college I realized work can be something you enjoy, too. We’ve had a lot going on lately. With the summer in full swing, many fun projects have been popping up. Working all day in the office and about an hour each night at home, this week seems especially busy. Luckily, LS seems to have the ability to read my mind because today I was definitely in need of some fun.

The intern crew, as well as Sean from the LS Project Management group, headed over to WKYC television (the Cleveland NBC affiliate) studios this morning with a fun day ahead of us. When we arrived, we were greeted then immediately taken to the set where “Good Company” (an information and entertainment based “talk show”) is filmed. We arrived about halfway through the show, so we got to watch the final half-hour or so be filmed. After, we toured the studios a bit and met the people that “make the magic happen.” So many parts and pieces go into each production. The amount of multi-tasking is phenomenal.

We got a chance to not only view the sets, but also have a little “playtime” with the special effects. If we weren’t already into our fields, I bet we all could be the next big anchor or weatherman.

Next, we watched the taping of the noon news program. We split and watched half in the studio and half in the control room. I have a new respect for live directors and anchors- anything can happen on live TV and since it can, it probably will. If any of you watched today, you know one can lose sound bytes just for them to re-appear again and a man dunking his head in a kiddy pool of ketchup is sometimes just something that happens.

So, work doesn’t always mean no fun. You just have to find the time to make it fun while learning along the way, and then treat yourself to burgers and Cokes after.

Thank for the great trip WKYC!

Check out our pictures from our trip!

Sasha T.

Creative Intern

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The brand at hand.

Today has been busy, to say the least. It’s hard to believe the projects that were first assigned at the start of this internship are now coming due. Book reports, t-shirts, posters. Sprinkle that on top of the bed of client work already in progress and you’ve got yourself a stressful salad. But it’s the good kind of stress. The stress before a deadline that knocks your behind into gear, producing some of your best work.

My latest challenge has been the intern t-shirt concept. As Rachelle talked about yesterday, we thought we had a t-shirt concept down, ready to print. But that is clearly not the case. We had some time to think on our own, talk with some helpful intern alum, and really dive into what is going to make this t-shirt better than the others.

I’ve been doing some branding research for the upcoming POV. I’m looking into how successful brands got their start. Most of the articles I’ve seen all pointed to the same thing. You must dig deep within your company (or self) to find out what you have to offer that separates you from the rest.

Back to the t-shirts. We have to create a t-shirt design that represents our intern class. Our brand. We need to dig deep within ourselves and figure out what makes us so much cooler (or lamer) than other intern classes. Then mold that into a t-shirt design Liggett employees would want to wear.

This is a pretty daunting task. Imagine, looking at yourself, like REALLY looking at yourself, and figuring out what makes you unique. If you had to get one tattoo, one permanent thing on your forehead, what would it be of? What would your logo be? What would your tagline be? Remember, like these intern t-shirts, your brand will be an impression of who you are, that sticks with someone for the rest of their life.

I’ll be sure to keep your posted on how these t-shirts turn out.

Ben L.

Creative Intern

Monday, July 12, 2010


Group meetings are a common occurence at LS, and with everyone's participation, unique ideas emerge and brand building begins.

Last week, the interns and I had our own "concepting" session for LS's annual intern T-shirt project. Within a matter of 10 minutes, we nailed down a concept, wrote a back-story, and drew up creative graphics. Our idea was strong and we were set--or at least we thought!

When Katie and I completed some paper work associated with the brand message of our T-shirt, we confidently handed it over to someone outside of our intern group circle. It took him less than 10 minutes to say, "Don't put your eggs in one basket."

After hearing this, time turned back two years and I envisioned myself listening in on a lecture at UD. Energetic teaching duo, Teri Thompson and Don Yoder preached to the class about Irving Janis' Groupthink: a theory defined as "a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action."

We, the interns, loved our T-shirt concept. We loved it so much that we didn't cater to other options. Even if we were secretly skeptical, we kept silent because there was so much love around the entire idea. We continued to build upon our T-shirt concept until we finally realized that we were traveling down the hazardous path of groupthink. The intern "outsider" was a flashing yellow light, cautioning us to step outside of our circle and pursue alternative options.

Although communication and business majors are warned in the classroom about work-related hurdles, experiencing them first-hand in a job setting truly drives the message home. This experience has taught our group of interns an invaluable lesson that will prepare us for group projects and client presentations in the future. Now, we know to look at a situation from all angles and to provide several options in a sales pitch.

With some helpful direction from the LS staff, I have faith in our team that we will produce a quality T-shirt that commemorates our time as interns. Make sure you check in after July 23 to see what we come up with!

Rachelle Patsey
Brand Management Intern

Friday, July 09, 2010


It was hard to come in this morning - not wearing all black - as we mourn the loss of LeBron James. Last night I was glued to the television, holding on to some sliver of hope that he might choose to stay in Cleveland.

Despite the heartbreak, the whole ordeal got me thinking about teamwork. As I sit here reminiscing about all the amazing games and the camaraderie of our players, I can't help but think of our group of interns as another great team.

Right now we're working on a pretty big project together. Every year the Liggett interns design a commemorative tee shirt to give to our executives and mentors at the end of the summer. It sounds easy, but it's more complicated than I thought - and we are all relying on each other to get the work done.

While we've been brainstorming ideas together in our intern meetings, we each have our own responsibilities. Rachelle and I are working on the internal paperwork, while Ben and Sasha go over taglines and designs.

Our deadline for production is coming up, so we're diving in headfirst. While things are a little haphazard now, I know our team will come up with a great product in the end.

And I don't think any of us will leave mid-project for Miami.
Katie F.
Brand Management Intern

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The heat’s a-risin’& deadlines are a-flyin’

With the temperatures reaching the 90s here in Cleveland, I have to continually wipe my head from the sweat pouring out of every pore across my brow. It’s Cleveland for gosh sakes; why can’t even a fraction of this warmth stick around for the winter? But, let’s not even mention the winter; it brings back horrible memories (snow up to my knees again?! No thank you!). It seems all this heat is getting to everyone. I look outside of my window at Liggett and there are not quite as many people outside and there’s a race every day around noon for the tables in the shade. However, while most are seeking the air conditioning, I’m seeking more time.

We have now been here at Liggett for five weeks. I sit back and think where has this time gone? It doesn’t feel like I’ve worked for five weeks, mostly just got stuff done and then had fun. Not only did we go to the Indian’s game, but also, we make regular trips to the corner Starbucks and a nice little restaurant call Bricco down the street. Ben even got a complimentary birthday brownie Tuesday! I suppose I’m mirroring my last post in saying, after work, we play. Luckily, all the time we spend working pays off in the smallest ways.

I’ve never been the type of person to do anything short term, and I remember when I found out I had 10 weeks here at Liggett. At that time, I felt it was long (over 2 months). I look now, and it really is too short. I haven’t quite figured out this hate for the cubicle or office work many people speak of. Yes, some days seem to last longer than others, but five o’clock always comes and the sun is still beating around eighty-something for about four more hours.

We are finally making some head-way on our intern t-shirt and soon it will be Ham Day (Liggett’s own annual internal holiday) but only after our intern party, all scheduled for the end of this month. Next week we have a field trip to WKYC studios and the week after that Oliver Printing and The Plain Dealer. There’s still so much to do but with so little time and with all this fun going on, I could do this job for an extra five weeks, no problem. Luckily, deadlines make me work even harder when they come creeping up, so with all the work out of the way, these last few weeks here will fly by (unfortunately). The end of this internship means the end of my cubicle, my new friends, and the end of summer. Let’s delay it, can’t we?

Sasha Thueringer

Creative Intern

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Why didn't I think of that?

In today’s world, it’s all been done before. As time progresses, it becomes harder and harder to come up with an idea that’s completely original, that has never been heard of before. But when an original idea does come along, you kick yourself for not conjuring it up yourself.

Take Silly Bandz, for example. These oddly shaped rubber bands that are worn on your wrist and traded like baseball cards, are all the rage for today’s youth. Who could’ve predicted the success of such a simple idea?

When it comes to writing copy, which lately is what I’ve dedicated most of my time to, I’m trying to come up with a completely authentic, never-before-seen way of saying something. Whether it’s a tagline or how-to directions for a website, I want to say it in a way that is different from the way it’s been said before. But how?

It’s challenging to write something completely original without making up new words. I’ve got the entire English language to use; it’s just a matter of putting words together to get my message across without being repetitive or boring. A puzzle, if you will. Luckily, working close with art directors and graphic designers, I can add more pieces to the puzzle with audio or visuals that’ll enhance the message.

I witness some of my favorite messages every day. I can’t get the AT&T Pure Imagination commercial out of my head: “Remember when you were 5? And anything was possible? Happy 5th birthday again.”

Simple message, in a simple sentence, but still memorable. Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Ben Langdon
Creative Intern

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

We're Halfway There!

With sun-kissed faces, the LS staff is ready to get back to work after the 4th of July holiday weekend. The balmy heat of summer has yet to slow us down, as everyone in the office is busy, busy, busy.

I have stacks of papers, hoards of magazines, and an array of post-its scattered around my desk impatiently waiting for my attention. Assignment deadlines are creeping up on me, and my checklist is getting longer and more detailed. But I honestly don't mind. I'd rather be busy doing something than twiddling my fingers doing nothing. LS never fails to give me an opportunity that will keep me focused for my 8-hour shift.

This week I look forward to the "midterm" of the LS internship. The interns will get the chance to individually meet with the internship coordinators to give and receive feedback. For me, this is an extremely important and wonderful aspect of the LS program.

As a college student, I am still grappling my way through the business world, trying to discover my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. While writing press releases and updating media lists familiarizes me with agency life, I feel that my best work experiences have come from simply talking things over with business professionals. Receiving feedback this week will point me down a better path for whatever career I choose to pursue in the future.

Rachelle P.
Brand Management Intern

Friday, July 02, 2010

No Place for the Timid...

I know it’s difficult coming out of your shell. I’ve been there. And I can remember the moments in college that started the process for me. That’s what I hope this internship is for our interns – the start of the process.

Every summer I see interns come in with wide-eyed expressions that I liken to deer in headlights. They are scared. They don’t want to screw up. They don’t want to be embarrassed. For some, they quickly get over it. Others never seem to embrace the notion that agency life is not for the timid.

While it may not always be super models and photo shoots, agency life is exciting, fast-paced and hectic. Clients look to their agency partners for expertise, advice and direction. Agency folks need to be ready, willing and able to step up, push back and take charge. We have to win and maintain the respect of our clients and we can’t do that being bashful - or dopey for that matter.

So, agency interns everywhere, no need for an alter ego, simply start the process. Talk to the staff at the agency not just your fellow interns. Ask questions. Ask for help. Volunteer for projects. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Admit agency life can be tough and you need us to show you the way.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Take me out to the ball game!

I've been to a few Indians games before, but never like this! Today the Liggett interns will be attending the afternoon game in style - sitting on the Social Deck, the press box for bloggers and social media.

We'll be there with other Cleveland interns from Flourish, Dix & Eaton, and Landau, and as part of the deal will be tweeting all afternoon about the game.

We're also going to get the chance to talk with Rob Campbell, executive development fellow in social media for the tribe. It'll be an amazing opportunity to ask him how he made his way into sports public relations and to learn about his experiences working for the Indians. A very good friend of mine has been trying to break into baseball PR since graduating, so I am ready to go with questions!

It's going to be such a beautiful day, so I have a good feeling about us defeating the Blue Jays. Keep an eye on the game this afternoon by following the updates from @tribetalk, the Indians' Twitter account.
Katie F.
Brand Management Intern

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When all the work is over, we play

We’re now into our fourth week here at Liggett, and I cannot honestly believe it. While the time has flown by, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Amongst the papers cluttering behind me, there’s about two-dozen, or more, sticky notes masking what was once a cubicle wall. My space has turned more into an idea center, with sketches and to-do lists attempting to spill over into surrounding cubicles (sorry Ben!) However, although it seems like the list is never ending, the work comes so easily. With a few hours work, another task is marked off the to-do list and I move on.

As an intern, I worried at first that I wouldn’t be busy enough. Boy, was I wrong. Within the first week I had already finished my first project with about three others on my heels to begin. Each week I look forward to the next assignment and this week, I’ve learned about a few more coming up that are not only going to be fun, but also very rewarding and possible portfolio pieces.

Here at Liggett, I don’t get that intern “vibe” that many interns talk about; I feel like part of the office family. Often my mentor Wes turns to me when he is stuck on a project, and I throw in my twenty-year-old two cents and often, just the collaboration of minds solves the problem. Earlier this week, Nathaniel, a close cubicle-mate handed me a Photoshop file with about thirty or so layers, and I attempted to merge and group until it made sense, and even then, the file was HUGE. Yes, it was challenging and a little frustrating at first, however, it’s this type of work that I love.

Sometimes, the best work derives from the simple task of taking a step back from your computer and handing it over for someone else to look over. A pair of fresh eyes will see what’s been staring you right in the face- for Nathaniel it was a starburst. My addition broke his creative block, and viola, a website is made.

As Ben mentioned, we are going to the Indian’s game tomorrow. For all the work we do, it’s nice to get times like these when ‘play’ is also a factor. Now, tonight I must scramble to find something red or blue to wear. Look for us on the Social Deck tomorrow- Game starts @ 12:05 p.m.

Sasha T.
Creative Intern

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

There's No 'I' in Work

I’ve spent a lot of time the past two days assembling the newest press kit that Liggett is sending out. The press kits that I’ve seen sent out of this place are incredible. Each one is crafted to be above and beyond what any media outlet expects from an agency. As I cut the 105th metallic star out and glue it down, I think about the importance of teamwork. Without it, there is no way Liggett would be producing the great work that they have been.

I see teamwork around me everyday here. Even with the current press kits I’m assembling, I’ve had countless people come by and help me with any spare time they had. But it’s not just the tedious tasks that require teamwork.

In the past week I’ve sat in a few brainstorming meetings where we gather to discuss a client’s situation and come up with a creative solution. These meetings thrive on teamwork. The team contributes their views and ideas that spark new views and ideas in other team members. Team brainstorming is a lot of fun and it produces a lot more creativity than working on a project solo.

When Sasha, the design intern, and I are given a project, we have to work together to get it done. We are given a creative brief with some direction, then we collaborate and execute. Sure, I’m supposed to be the copywriter and she, the graphic designer, but when we get stuck, we rely on the other for help. She helps me when I’ve exhausted every synonym for entertainment and I help her when her layout has been placed every way possible.

I have a feeling without teamwork this place wouldn’t run the way it does now. And I know for sure that some of the best creative work has come from teamwork.

The intern team will be gracing the social deck at the Cleveland Indians game on Thursday. Let’s hope their teamwork will pull out a win!

Ben L.
Creative Intern

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gettin' Technical

It's no secret that the PR industry is changing with the help of the Internet God, Google. After listening in on a conference call today, I was able to learn how search engines dictate the beginning phases of PR and marketing strategies.

In today's world, most consumers don't flip through product pamphlets or speak with company representatives to gather information about a brand. Instead, they go right to the Web, where the amount of information seems infinite.

Today I learned that the key for optimizing SEO (organic search) and SEM (paid search) is to understand consumers' behaviors as they brainstorm their searches. At an "aware" level, searchers may type in general key words. As they become more familiar with products, consumers may begin to search brand names or services at the "preference" and "purchase" levels. With the help of Google Adwords and Google Advanced, companies can monitor the traffic to their sites and the amount of time visitors spend browsing.

This is the future of PR. Not only does GenY have to battle the reputation as "the entitled generation" (as Mark kindly noted), but we also have to learn how to be tech savvy. Just like websites that need to have appropriate content and tags, press releases also need to be weaved with suitable words and phrases.

Working at an agency like Liggett has made me realize that there is so much more to learn outside of the classroom. I know that the remainder of my internship will keep me on my toes when it comes to PR tech trends.

Rachelle Patsey
Brand Management Intern

Friday, June 25, 2010

What's wrong with Millennials?

Our 2010 summer intern class has been here for three weeks and we haven’t lost a single one yet! As Vicki mentioned, we’ll be supplementing the intern posts with some tips and advice. So I thought I should let you know that we’re on to you.

Older generations have been thoroughly warned about Millennials. You’ve been referred to as the “entitlement generation.” We’ve heard that you don’t like hard work, you’re easily distracted and you’re responsible for the popularity of all these vampire shows. You’ve got the “60 minutes” crowd pretty freaked out.

I recognize that every generation wonders, “What’s wrong with kids these days?” Unfortunately, I’ve found some of these criticisms ring true in some of your peers. It only takes one bad apple to saddle you with a stereotype that will ride you into your entry into the workplace. So let’s not worry about if it was MTV or your hovering “helicopter” parents that “spoiled” your generation. Let’s work on shaking the stigma.

The first thing you’ve got to do is get your work done – on time. Set an alarm on your cellular telephone. Tweet a reminder. Do whatever you need to do to adhere to the schedule you’ve been given. That’s super important to old folks.

Secondly, multitask them to bits. There are concerns that Millennials have short attention spans. I’d argue that you just consume information differently from previous generations. Walking and chewing gum is the least of your worries. You’ve got email, your cell phone, Twitter and Facebook all getting snippets of attention. When an employer sees how much more productive a multi-channel mind can be, they might ask you for tips.

Third, if you feel that someone is lumping you in with the cast of the Jersey Shore, let your actions do the talking. Complaining will be dismissed as whining and will have an adverse effect because of that whole “entitlement” thing. Go above and beyond to prove them wrong. Rely on your fresh thinking and the quality of your work to win the day. If that doesn’t work, ask them for advice. That’s an easy way to turn a critic into an ally.

Hopefully, this helps. Feel free to leave comments below.

Mark Szczepanik
Director of Brand Voice