Co-Op: Media Architect + Advertising

Feb 18, 2014

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by Gabrielle Barandiaran

This summer I had the privilege of working for Partners + Napier— a creative ideas agency here in Rochester, New York. P+N is an “agency that specializes in crafting engagement-based solutions to big business and brand challenges.” – P+N 

I was hired as the Account Executive Intern and worked directly with an Account Executive on his accounts. I was actively involved with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Delta Private Jets, Capital One, Lactalis (Président Gourmet Cheese), Hotel California Tequila and Gannett Publishing.

As a Media Arts & Technology major with a minor in Business and experience in sales, I fit the job like a glove. My first job was to get “grounded” in any account I touched. I needed to know my client’s business as well as the client. My boss always stressed that as an Account Executive you need to be the second smartest person in the room, it’s key to maintaining the relationship with the client and growing the account. Getting grounded meant a lot of research. I know research isn’t always a word we like to hear, but when it comes to agency life it’s a fun one! Every account has their own story and it is fun getting to know what makes them unique and eventually what will be leveraged in any project or campaign that will be developed for them.

Once I knew what was going on, I was allowed to get my hands dirty. I sat in on countless meetings both internally and externally to discuss ongoing or future projects that the agency would take on. Partners always stressed how imperative it was to work as a team for each client. Weekly meetings were held with the account team, production, project management and creative to touch base on the status of projects for each account. This is where my knowledge as a Media Arts & Technology major kicked in— to sit in a room full of left and right brained professionals and understand the lingo each was speaking was priceless. As a student it can be difficult to understand why it is necessary to learn about “kerning” in Professor Riordan’s Digital Foundations class; or “metadata” with Professor Anthony in Information Architecture; and even the finance and accounting basics from Professor Birkett in Media Business Basics—but here it was all rolled into one weekly meeting.

In addition to working on P+N’s active accounts, the interns were assigned a client of our own: Fina’s Café & Catering. Our intern group was compiled of 3 designers, 1 project manager and 2 account executives. The challenge was to extend Fina’s successful cafe business and drive attention to their catering services. During this process, we re-branded the café— giving it a new look & feel, logo included. At the end, the final deliverable was a “Marketing Guide” book. This book introduced the new brand, a style guide on how to use it, a premium collateral piece to drive awareness of catering, packaging options and production estimate costs. This experience made the internship unique in that we operated as our own agency and were responsible for our own timeline and bringing the project to completion.

My time at P+N opened my eyes to a whole new environment. Before working for them, I was not versed in the world of advertising and I was unaware of how a Media Arts & Technology major could fit into that world. If I could offer anyone seeking a co-op a piece of advice, it would be to keep an open mind and be willing to take on a position where you get to not only apply what you already know but get to learn new things as well.