Having grown up with a strong artistic and design background, I always imagined pursuing a career where I was able to use this creative outlet to my advantage, especially within the marketing field. Over summer, I was a digital marketing and PR intern at a local PR agency back home in Hong Kong, and during my lunch break one day, I came across an internship opportunity for Ajenda PR, a PR company in Orange that specializes in media relations, marketing, and event planning with an emphasis on social media for the food and beverage industries. The job description matched perfectly with what I envisioned my ideal internship to be, especially since many of my responsibilities were identical to what I have already been doing over summer. Naturally, I was thrilled to join the Ajenda PR team as a marketing and PR intern in the fall to continue developing my existing skills.
Throughout the course of the internship, I was assigned to three clients, including Newport Beach’s Fly N Fish, Irvine’s Gulliver’s Restaurant, and Irvine’s Trade Food Hall. While no two days in the office look alike, my main responsibilities were to manage social media accounts for the three clients, create social media content for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, conduct coverage sweeps, and create calendar listings. My favourite project at the internship was advertising for Fly N Fish’s annual ‘Chowder For A Cause’ campaign, where I heavily promoted marketing materials for their signature Clam Chowder for one month.
As a Psychology and Strategic & Corporate Communication double major, I was able to apply class concepts into the corporate world while at my internship, with the main takeaway being to connect and build relationships with the target audience. It initially took me a while to find my groove to manage the accounts for these restaurants. Being an international student from Hong Kong, I wasn’t familiar with the type of voice, brand, vision, and message that catered to the Southern California demographic. With the help of the fact sheet provided by the company and concepts I learned in SCC 305, specifically pertaining to marketing strategies and the components of the marketing mix, I was ultimately able to better connect with the target audience. By first having a strong understanding of the target market, I knew that all the marketing and messaging strategies done had to revolve around and be relatable to this audience. This proved to be successful through the increased engagement rates across various social media platforms as a result of my marketing efforts.
On the flip side, while content creation seemed fun at the moment, I began to notice during the latter half of my internship that it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long term. I always loved the digital and creative aspect of marketing and saw it as my strength, especially when given the creative freedom in creating Instagram stories. However, I wanted to work in a position that was more hands-on and challenging, focusing more on strategy, research, or analytics. In light of this, my biggest takeaway from this internship experience was gaining insight into what I didn’t want to do in the future. It took a while for me to come to terms with this, but I feel like this was an even more valuable lesson. I would have never known what I wanted (and didn’t want) to do if it wasn’t for this internship, and am now one step closer to finding my future career.
While I have yet to find my desired career path, this internship has allowed me to hone into my strengths and grow in the professional marketing world. I feel much more prepared to work in the corporate world and can say with confidence that the skills I learned in both a classroom setting and in the internship can be carried forward into my future endeavours.