One of the great things about interning at a small company is having the ability to gain hands-on experience every day. As an intern at Alita’s Brand Bar, a branding and licensing company that works to extend the reputation and revenue of clients, I have learned many new skills that I feel go beyond what I have been exposed to inside the classroom.
I learned many of these skills quickly at the first large event I worked at, the Blogger Bash and Sweet Suite 2014, which took place over two days in July in New York City. This event was essentially a trade show for mom bloggers, during which they got exclusive access to a wide array of products, in order to review them on their blogs. Alita’s Brand Bar brought ten clients to Blogger Bash, and part of my job was to make sure the clients were prepared and had what they needed in order to showcase their products to the bloggers. Our clients and their products were extremely diverse, ranging from the new line of food products from Chicken Soup for the Soul, to the handbag line MZ Wallace, to baby photographer Anne Geddes, so this was no easy task! However, the event was a major success and was even trending on Twitter with millions of tweets from product promoters, to bloggers alike.
The first very important skill I learned is to always have a pen and a business card on hand. You never know when you’re going to meet someone representing the next big name in a particular industry, and if you have no way of getting in contact with them later, or have no way to give them your information, you’ve just lost out on a major opportunity. Also, not having these items can make you seem unprepared, so simply keeping them on hand is an easy way to make networking that much smoother.
I’ve also been exposed to just how important social media is in today’s world of communications. While I use social media for personal enjoyment, it is also an incredible tool utilized in fields such as sales, public relations, and marketing. During Blogger Bash, when a speaker was addressing a group of bloggers, not a single one of them was looking up. It’s not that they were being rude, they were simply too busy capturing important quotes and information on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops to blog about later! Therefore, when representing a brand, it is important to make sure that the brand is up to date on their social media sites and posting frequently with information such as new products or discount codes. For the days leading up to the event, during the event, and afterwards, we were interacting with users on social media and getting the word out about our products as well!
Finally, I have learned the importance of looking approachable and being knowledgeable about your work. Simply smiling, looking awake, and being ready to engage in an interesting conversation can help encourage someone to walk over to your booth, differentiating your brand from others. If you don’t know the answer to a question, definitely don’t make one up to save yourself. Rather, direct the interested customer to another person who may know the answer, or give them the information they’ll need in order to look up the answer later.
Working with Alita’s Brand Bar this summer has been just as fun as it has been informative, and I look forward to continuing my hands-on learning experience before returning to Michigan this Fall.