Reflections on a work placement with Glass Halo

Florence Russell

For the last two months I have had the pleasure of working with English Language student, Florence Russell, on a number of projects. Florence has been a terrifically helpful support, accelerating some projects and adding extra value to others.

Smart, articulate and a good writer, she’s keen to secure a job in marketing when she graduates next year and I can certainly recommend her.

In this guest blog she talks about what she’s been doing for the last few weeks.

Over the summer, I’ve been working with Trevor on various projects to gain some experience in marketing. These include a website redesign for consultancy firm Change Associates, and social media research for Regan and Dean, a recruitment agency, as well as other bits for Glass Halo. My time with Trevor has been extremely beneficial and the experience I have gained is invaluable.

I’ll be embarking on my third and final year at Cardiff University in September, where I am studying English Language, so I knew the race was on to start getting some relevant experience to make my CV more impressive for after I graduate. I started a job in the Students’ Union in Cardiff at the beginning of my second year, working as part of the Marketing and Communications team. It was during this role that I took an interest in marketing and realised I wanted to pursue it as a career.

I know that experience is key to being successful in marketing, so I was keen to learn from Trevor.

Trevor set up a meeting for me with the Managing Director and Marketing Manager of London-based recruitment company, Regan and Dean, for whom I had to prepare a presentation. For the presentation, I had to conduct extensive research into the company’s social media, comparing it against that of their competitors’, to see how the company sat in comparison. This tested my research skills as well as my use of excel – both things that will be important later in my career. Another invaluable opportunity that Trevor gave me was the chance to present my findings to two people high up in the business. Despite my nerves, Trevor was very helpful and supportive in the preparation and actual presentation. Presenting pitches and conducting discussions will become a pivotal part of my job in the future, so getting some experience now, where the audience were a bit more forgiving, was great.

Trevor also asked me to write a blog for Regan and Dean’s website, which I was chuffed about as I love the creative side of marketing. Overall the response I got about the blog was very positive, but unsurprisingly there were, of course, some suggestions for me to add in. Whilst these were very minor suggestions, it did throw me a bit as I had already felt quite vulnerable presenting an entire blog of my own work. The process taught me that not everyone will like your ideas and you have to have some knocks, whether they’re major ones or minor ones, to improve and expand your skillset.

The biggest project I worked on with Trevor during my work experience was composing the brief for the redesign of Change Associates’ website. The website hadn’t been changed much since it was first created in 2013, so there was a lot to be done. The process of writing the brief was long and detailed, but I have taken a lot from it.

In writing the brief, I had to conduct one-on-one interviews with members of the company’s core team to find out what they wanted from the website and what features they wanted to appear. I then had to include results from these interviews in the brief, with the help of Trevor. Along the way there were a lot of abbreviations and terms that I wasn’t familiar with such as KPIs, SEO and so on, but Trevor was on hand to explain these to me… or just tell me to google them! Trevor also taught me some other corporate terminology that I wasn’t familiar with, such as B2B and B2C marketing, but he also told me that the most important relationship to consider is H2H – human to human, and I know that this is something I’ll take with me into my career.

Writing the brief for the redesign wasn’t an easy task. There was a lot of going back and forth between different members of the team, all whilst trying to work out whether these ideas were feasible and appropriate. The process taught me not to get too attached to an idea, because it can quickly evolve and change, or be scrapped altogether. Likewise, it taught me not to be afraid to speak up when I had an idea, regardless of how ‘silly’ I thought it might be.

Whilst writing the brief, I learnt a lot of things that will be important for me later in my career, such as how complex the back end of a website is, and the importance of the wording of a website for SEO purposes.

Before working with Trevor, I was quite naïve in my knowledge of what a role in marketing included. Coming from a social media obsessed generation, I hadn’t thought much outside digital marketing on various social media platforms, but I now know that there is so much more to it. I’ve learnt that the way a business is portrayed to the outside world is critical in its success. Market your business and its products wrongly, and it could be disastrous, but market them right and you’re on to a winner. But not only is it important to keep customers and clients happy, internal relationships are crucial too.

Trevor was great to work with and I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons during my time with him. His encouraging and supportive attitude, as well as being easy to approach, made my work experience enjoyable. It has strengthened my passion for marketing and I am excited to go into a career in the field after graduating.

Florence Russell