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!