Tag: "intern"

This Swede is going to bring the concept of branding back home with her

When I began my education in Sweden back in 2011, I was determined that my upcoming Bachelor’s degree in Media and Communication would open the doors for a career within journalism. As a person who loves to tell stories I had decided that I could pursue a career in storytelling, and a journalist would be the perfect occupation.

At least that’s what I thought.

Before I got to the US I hadn’t quite encountered the term “branding.” Compared to the Swedish brand and advertising industry, the term “branding” is more visible here in the U.S. It’s not that Swedes don’t work with branding – in fact, it’s the other way around. A lot of agencies describe branding in their work, but they never use the term. They describe their way of working with strategies, storytelling and relationships, but very few link those processes to branding. That’s a shame in my opinion, since the term includes all those components in one simple, single expression. Swedes are very good at bringing English words into the Swedish vocabulary, yet letting them keep their English spelling and/or pronunciation (possibly due to the fact that many languages descend from Latin, but let’s leave that for now). My point is, Swedish professionals within this industry should become more aware of the fact that they are working with b-r-a-n-d-i-n-g, and include the term in their work.

So what contributes to the fact that branding isn’t as in the spotlight in Sweden as it is in the U.S.?

Well, one thing I’ve noticed – and remember that these are only my own reflections – is that Swedes are still very into PR. Over the last couple of years, plenty of new and hip PR agencies has popped up over our oblong country and a lot of youths in the beginning of their 20’s are aiming for a career within this field and marketing as well.

Fair enough, it makes sense, considering that it’s more crucial than ever to be seen and noticed in the world of brands. It’s understandable that companies need the help from advertising and PR agencies in order to get their message out there. But it’s also extremely crucial that both parties understand the importance in telling the brand’s story and that every campaign and move should be a part of the bigger picture.

Sweden is a small country and is very much influenced by the U.S., especially when it comes to pop culture. We watch the same sitcoms, listen to the same artists and get inspired by various viral phenomenon (like the rest of the world.) And no matter how much I love my home country, there are a few things I’ve learned here that I wish to see more of in a Swedish brand and advertising industry. Like the innovative and provocative way of storytelling, the absence of the Law of Jante* and how distinctiveness plays a huge part in the working process.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I love telling stories.
But as you might understand at this point, I’m no longer aiming to become a journalist. At all.

When I’m going back to Sweden, I’m going to make people within the Swedish industry more aware of the branding concept, and I’m aiming to become a skillful brand strategist and make the term more visible.

Because the story behind branding is a story I believe in.

 

*The Law of Jante is a negative concept within the Swedish society and describes a condescending attitude towards individuality and success. It’s a mentality that de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers. Basically, individuals are not to think they’re special or better than anyone else.

Who are you when no one is watching?

We pass a lot of people everyday: on the bus, in the streets, at work. We are all there and we are all going somewhere. And how we look, how we dress and how we act say so many things about us. Do you sigh when you have to wait in line to get on the bus? Do you run toward the street to catch the green light? Do you smile and thank the person holding the door for you?

Small factors like these can reveal something about us for our beholders and without us even noticing, these people create assumptions about us as they observe us. A person who sighs in line is bored, a person who runs toward the street is stressed and a person who smiles and says thanks is nice.

Our actions, together with our expressions and looks, create who we are.
They create our personal brand.

Many of us aren’t aware of this. We might not think about ourselves in this way, but the truth is, in every minute of the day, we are branding ourselves. From the moment we wake up, until the moment we fall asleep. In all of the things we do, we are communicating something about ourselves and we are creating an image of ourselves for other people to interpret.

This is why I’m interested in branding. Branding isn’t just about getting a message out there. It’s not marketing, it’s not advertising and it’s not public relations. It’s so much more and it’s goes so much deeper. Branding is about finding the core – the soul – of something and be sure every small detail related to that core is coherent with the brand, regardless if it’s your own personal brand or your company’s.

Branding is about creating a long-term relationship, because branding strives after telling the truth and be consistent to the brand. Your friends and beloved ones didn’t choose you because you told them what a great person you are (marketing), because someone else told them what a great person you are (public relations) or because you been shouting out in public what a great person you are (advertising).

They have chosen you because you are that great person in your own special way.

With all the different voices shouting out their messages together with their brands in today’s society, it’s easy to get lost. I mean, think about it, how many of us haven’t been lost teenagers who tried to be “just like everyone else” or felt that something was the right thing do to “because everyone else is doing it?” As we grow up and find ourselves along the way, we realize what’s most important.

It’s not about what everyone else is doing,
It’s about being true to ourselves in everything we do.

I’ve thought about what I wish for my brand to be. Have you thought about yours?

Pantone #411

When I sat down in mid-June and wrote an email to Stokefire, telling them I’d love to be a part of their team as an intern, I have to admit that I was somewhat nervous. Not only because I’m a Swede who sought out for an internship position in a foreign country, but also because Stokefire had awoken something within me: a desire to be a part of a business where I could grow professionally and be challenged daily by tasks I hadn’t previously encountered. With my winning mentality, I was determined to get an internship position where I would gain knowledge about branding and communication strategies and where I would be able to contribute with the skills I already possessed. And something told me Stokefire would be that place for me.

I’ve always valued a positive attitude. In my opinion, you can get so much further and learn so much more if you have an open mind and an optimistic way of approaching the situations or challenges you encounter, regardless of prior knowledge. This philosophy is something I’ve brought with me during my time at Stokefire, considering the fact that I had very little hands-on experience within the branding and advertising industry.

From the first day I stepped into the Stokefire office I’ve felt that the work I do and the ideas I share are valued. Being an intern at Stokefire means you’re a part of a team where equality matters. The crew is very good at letting me take responsibility and address issues on my own, which in return makes me trust my instincts and gain confidence in the work. During these past eight weeks I’ve been scanning the web to find interesting industry related articles to post on Stokefire’s social media platforms. I’ve gotten the chance to participate in client meetings, learning more about the strategies behind branding as well as design work. I’ve been challenged to perform work I’ve never done previously, such as research related to client cases and video editing in advanced programs I never heard of before. I’ve participated in photo shoots with clients where I learned everything from how to set up lights and scenes to how to make clients more relaxed during the shoot (Tip: having someone pretending to be a cat makes any model laugh.) Besides these experiences, I’ve also gotten the job to plan and organize a workshop, and even though I’m not able to put a lot of content into the workshops’ agenda, I make sure everything runs according to the plan (which means assigning my supervisors tasks – dream of an intern!).

I’m not fully trained and I’m not a professional within the branding industry. This is just the beginning and I know I have a long way to go, but these past eight weeks at Stokefire have shown me what this industry is all about and I’m confident that I want to be in a long-term relationship with it. With eights week to go, I will continue to learn, I will continue to ask questions and I will continue to grow professionally. And as if that’s not enough, I know I’m going to have a lot of fun while doing all those things. Tate and Lindsay have a great sense of humor and an awesome attitude and I can’t really tell how many times a day I laugh when I’m in the office.

And you know what?
They didn’t even have to force this intern to write that last part. It’s actually extremely true.

Now will you please excuse me, I need to fetch coffee and match it to Pantone #411 as spec’ed by our art director…

Hej Marie och välkommen till Stokefire!

Hi, I’m Marie and I’m Stokefire’s newest intern!

During the upcoming months the Stokefire crew will have me as a part of their team, an opportunity I’m very excited about. From the very first moment I visited Stokefire’s website I got the sense that this place was something else, and after meeting Chief Creative Tate Linden and Lead Designer Lindsay Benson Garrett in person I can assure you I’m in good hands.

So who’s the person behind this post? Well, I’m born and raised in the homeland of IKEA – Sweden – where I’m currently enrolled at Örebro University (I challenge you to pronounce the first part of that name). I’m about to earn my Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communication, but with one semester left in Sweden I got the opportunity to go abroad and be a student of a one-year long PR & Journalism certificate program at Northern Virginia Community College – something I couldn’t resist. The second semester you’ll do an internship as a part of the program, and I knew pretty early that I wanted to be within the field of marketing and branding.

The reason?

It’s fascinating and interesting how branding and marketing impregnates today’s society in all different kind of ways and how important it is, regardless if it’s about branding and market your business or simply yourself. (And by the way, since English isn’t my first language I’m not flawless when it comes to writing and choosing words in English, but I hope my point will shine through anyway).

Being an Intern at Stokefire means I’m going to get more hands-on experience within the field in which I later on wish to have a career within. But it also means I’m going to be able to work really close with Tate and Lindsay and hopefully earn more knowledge in how to think, how to act and how to approach different types of challenges you might face in the process as a brand strategist.

Also, since I’m a social media freak, I’ve been given permission to contribute to Stokefire’s social media accounts, and I will do my very best to have even more interesting material posted for those who follow us (if you don’t do already, you should!).

Oh, and also, we don’t have ice bears walking our streets in Sweden. Just to point that out. And please, come by the office if you want to hear the real pronunciation of the weird round letter with the two dots above which can be seen above. I’ll be more than happy to talk to you.

/Marie

No.

Dearest potential applicant:

In our eight year history we’ve never brought on a single intern nor employee who started their cover letter with “Dear Sirs” or “To Whom it May Concern,” and then perhaps followed it with body copy that could just as well introduce someone trying to break into the laundromat business, or maybe rocket science.

The unofficial policy doesn’t hit home for you? Consider what it would be like if a purportedly reputable organization was staffed by people so lazy that instead of taking the time to understand and address each applicant individually, they just posted a blanket rejection statement on their blog and left it at that.

Hello Stokefire!

When Tate and Katie came to speak on behalf of Stokefire at Georgetown University’s career center earlier this year, they immediately stood out. Their message was clear from the start: “We are different.” Yes, they were the only ones wearing bright green and orange amongst all the gray suits. Yes, they were the only ones that told us not to send a resume but rather “something interesting.” But most of all, they stood out because they don’t do just any “creative” work—Stokefire does work that actually works. Real impact. Real results. Communicating the true value of something rather than dressing it up with fluff.

So when I heard that they were looking for summer interns, I jumped on it.

According to my roommate, “Milly, this is SO you!” Indeed, well said. For somebody who has only recently become interested in branding and advertising, what better place to learn about the industry than a small and intimate firm like Stokefire where I will be truly involved in the work instead of organizing pens by the amount of ink left (Re: Jimmy’s post)? I felt that at Stokefire, I could be who I am and appreciated for it rather than having to fit the typical “intern” mold.

Today is my first day, and everybody has been so incredibly welcoming and helpful. I have much to learn, but I am so excited to be here and I can’t wait to see what the next ten weeks will bring!

-Milly



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