Posts tagged ‘internship’

Signing Off

Working at Zag IMC (and GCG Marketing) for the past two semesters has been an incredible and exciting opportunity. After hopping around from various internships and freelance jobs because of the bad economy, I was more than happy to settle in and call Zag home.

Since we are a smaller agency, I was allowed to take on more tasks and was more than “just another designer”. I think this is the element that helps Zag and GCG be successful in all of their endeavors.

Since day one, everyone at Zag and GCG welcomed me with such sincere warmth and kindness, something that I will forever be grateful for.

Looking back, I loved being held responsible for multiple projects during my time, as well as the opportunity to be included in so many client meetings. My time here has allowed me to work with so many different clients and various projects, allowing me to feel well prepared for my next job.

While I am sad to leave Zag and GCG Marketing, I look forward to the wonderful opportunities ahead of me in Colorado.

07/15/2010 at 12:44 PM Leave a comment

Lessons Learned, Part 5

Rolando

A graphic designer never stops learning because there is always something to improve upon or innovate. Six months have come and gone by so quickly. In that time, I have learned so much from my co-workers, colleagues and clients.

Here are a few things I’ve taken from being a part of the Zag team:

  • Comfort: The best thing a designer can do to stimulate his or her creative ability is to put them in an environment that they are comfortable with. I have played music, taken walks, joked around  — anything I could do to calm my nerves and de-stress myself. The advertising industry can be jarring at times, and I need all the help I can get.
  • Communication: The ability to communicate and stay organized is essential to an agency’s productivity (and sanity). I’ve learned to organize the thousands of files have had to work with into carefully placed folders so that at me and my co-workers can easily find and access them.
  • Criticism: You can’t please everyone, especially when it comes to design — an inherently subjective topic. I’ve learned how to take criticism of my work in a positive and professional manner in order to complete the task at hand. The first thing I realized was it was not criticism, but constructive criticism that I was hearing. Everyone in the agency is working together for the betterment of the company, and that’s something I haven’t forgetten.

And finally, have fun and enjoy the ride. Hopefully that goes without saying.

11/13/2009 at 3:41 PM Leave a comment

Lessons Learned, Part 3

CollinIt’s official! Today marks exactly six months to the day since we opened our doors and went to work – not too bad for a couple of twenty-somethings in the midst of a recession.

During the past six months I have learned quite a bit, here are a couple of highlights:

Check then check again. I cannot emphasize just how important this is in the world of marketing. Credibility is really all you and your agency have. If you make and send out a brochure for a client and there is a mistake on it, not only have you wasted your client’s money, you have also hurt your agency’s credibility. This can be a killer seeing as how a lot of new business can come from referrals.

Always be willing to learn. Marketing is an always-changing entity. I equate marketing with golf – nobody can absolutely master it. However, you can still be great but it takes work. Stay vigilant on blogs and other media to see where trends are heading (what’s considered creative this year will be standard next year). Also, never underestimate the value of a mentor. They have been in the industry longer than you and know the subtle nuances that come with it. A mentor is the best resource you can have when you’re starting out your career.

Get to know your co-workers. Simply put, I love my job. Part of the reason is my passion for marketing (obviously), but another, almost as important factor is because the people I work with are awesome. We have all tried to make it a point to get to know each other outside of work, be it happy hour or lunch. This has created a fun atmosphere for all of us, which has definitely helped our productivity as an agency.

11/11/2009 at 3:36 PM Leave a comment

Lessons Learned, Part 2

AlexYesterday, Kelsey got the ball rolling for X.Y.Zag’s special blog theme this week. To reiterate, every staff member will post a few things they have learned and loved about agency life in honor of Zag’s six-month anniversary.

Over here, everyone has a different hat to wear; I fall on the creative side of things (but that doesn’t mean I have stayed there — more on that later). Because of these differences, we all take something unique from Zag as a whole.

Here are a a couple of things I have learned in lieu of our six month anniversary as a writer:

  • A copywriter’s job isn’t glamourous, but it’s very important. I like to say we are the first line of defense for clarity. We write messages that are clear and concise and edit content for the same criteria. It doesn’t matter what type of job it is, a copywriter/editor will find their way into it.
  • In a small agency like ours, job titles tend to shift around. Though I am formally a copywriter, I have had to do a lot of work related to account service such as research and presenting. Getting out of my comfort zone has been interesting, but ultimately worthwhile.
  • Tag lines are the bane of my existence. Writing short, simple and sweet is nice. But it’s definitely easier said than done. In most cases, I will write 20 or 30 tag ideas in a list, and it will naturally whittle away to the best one, which is really time-consuming.
  • An AP Stylebook is a (media) writer’s best friend. With our wide and diverse client base, I have had to deal with some strange grammar and style issues, and our work would have greatly suffered if it weren’t for this inexpensive paperback.
  • Like Kelsey said yesterday, enjoy the little things. We are service-oriented in this business, so we have to be constantly open and available for clients. The moments we have free time are spread out pretty thin, but it’s more about the quality in the time you spend rather than the quantity.

Get ready to read tomorrow’s post from our butt kickin’ account executive Collin — he’ll definitely have some interesting things to say (in a good way of course).

11/10/2009 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

A different type of creative writing

AlexThree years ago, I came to TCU as a naive advertising student. I was a journalist for nearly three years in high school, so reporting and writing were the only things I could do well. I didn’t want to pursue the newsroom because (a) the money is slim, (b) the hours are strange and (c) the road to recognition is long and rife with ethical dilemmas.

Luckily, my skill-set helped me along a different avenue.

I majored in advertising and public relations with the intent of becoming an account executive. I pictured myself wearing tailored suits to the office, making phone calls to clients while tossing pencils into the ceiling and grabbing three martini lunches (okay, I may watch a little too much Mad Men). Things turned out differently.

Today, I’m a copywriter here at Zag – and I’m completely enamored with my work.

The question I get asked the most about my position is, “what exactly do you do”?

Simply put, chop the “copy” off of my title and think of me as a writer. Yes, I am a writer, but there’s more to it.

Copywriters, a part of the creative realm of marketing, produce copy (words) and help develop concepts for advertising collateral and campaigns. Some jobs require a lot of copy, like annual reports, while others may only need a simple tagline to coincide with a captivating photo. The diversity in my work is what I love – one day in the office is never the same as another.

The toughest part of my job is creating clarity. Our fast-paced world doesn’t have time to decipher a tagline: you have to write as clearly as humanly possible (though a blog might not be a great reflection of said concept).

Making eight words speak a hundred is definitely easier said than done, especially when we’re expected to write at a sixth-grade level.

I’d like to think of myself as the first line of defense for clarity; art directors and designers are the yin to my yang. They make sure the words I write are legible. This is a team business; successful copywriters owe their colleagues countless round of drinks.

My stint as a copywriter has really pulled me into the world of advertising, but now it’s my turn to pull my own rope and find my niche. I’ll admit, thinking about the future is terrifying, probably as much as my trip to Cutting Edge will be next month.

Who knows? I may have found my niche already. The only thing I am sure of right now is that I love what I’m doing, and that’s all that matters.  Life is much more fulfilling when you show up to work aching for something to do. I certainly owe a lot to Zag for helping me.

09/28/2009 at 11:24 AM Leave a comment

The conundrum of school and work

AlexIt’s Monday morning. I drag myself out of bed and go to class for three hours. After that, I find some spare time to scarf down a meal and then I’m suddenly off to work. When five o’clock rolls around, I’m driving back to TCU and sitting in class for another three hours – begging for life to stand still.

Yes, I’m pretty busy, but I’ve learned that life as an employee and student is a delicate balancing act.

And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a freshman in orientation, time management was a concept that the OSAs (orientation student assistants) would drill into our heads. It seemed simple enough. When you’re unemployed, all you have to do is go to class and somehow get your homework done (if you’re good).

Fast-forward three years and enter senior year, where I am a working at Zag and taking 15 hours this semester. This is where the balancing act goes to the circus.

Here are a couple things I’ve learned in the past week about managing valuable time:

Make a schedule and stick to it: It really helps to map out your day ahead of time, but also leave some time for yourself – for sanity’s sake.

Be very self-motivated: It’s tough to get motivated to go to work after hours of class, but I have tell you, a positive attitude works wonders.

Understand that you can’t control everything: I would love to be at work all day (yes, I’m weird), but I also need to make good grades. Some things take precedence over others; just pick your spots carefully

Unless you’re a freshman, never take an 8 a.m. class: I’m learning this lesson the hard way.

Honorable mention: You can never have too many alarm clocks; if you work and go to school, carrying a backpack to the office is not uncool; try to find a normal eating/sleeping schedule – crashing in the afternoon is no bueno.

With plenty of things coming in the next couple months (while hopefully avoiding swine flu), I think if I just stick to these mantras I should be fine.

08/31/2009 at 2:40 PM Leave a comment

Research: What the cool kids are doing

CollinIn my last post, I took great joy in mocking the fact that the line, “knowing is half the battle,” was actually written into script for the G.I. Joe movie. Now I find my foot in my mouth because that line is the perfect platform to launch this post. Irony, you are too cruel.

For the past month, a large part of my job has been devoted towards different types of market research. Why you might ask? Because in marketing, knowing is truly half the battle.

Today’s marketing environment is a constant and fast-paced race to find new and innovative ways to get through to people. With that, it is imperative you know as much as you can about who you are selling to and how to do it.

This is where a good research plan comes into play. If you develop a thorough understanding of factors like what appeals to your audience’s psychology and what others have done in the past, you build a foundation in which truly amazing and effective creative can come from.

Research doesn’t only apply to marketing, but it also can work in everyday life. While I am most certainly a proponent of diving head first into some things, I also know some decisions need to be made with a certain amount of background knowledge.

I’ll have a better opportunity to get that job if I learn about the company prior to an interview. I’ll enjoy that new couch I bought online more after I shopped around and found a better deal. I’ll be so happy I read those reviews before going to buy that Nickleback CD. I could really go all day with these examples.

At the risk of sounding like a parent, I’m going to wrap up this post. Just remember: while it is not the most thrilling thing to do, in marketing or your daily life, research pays off.

08/27/2009 at 11:18 AM Leave a comment

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