The London-based employer branding agency that is Pink Squid is, in some aspects, worlds apart from my student life in Reading. Yet in others, I feel very at home.
I’ve been dedicating the last two years of my life to my Consumer Behaviour and Marketing degree at the University of Reading (oh, as well as a few nights out – I am a student after all). But, before I knew it, September 2019 came around, and I found myself outside of Pink Squid’s front door – ready to walk in for day 1 of 268.
There are three topics I want to give you an inside scoop on. Firstly, what it’s really like working within the agency – think of me as the ‘spy in the tank’. I’ll also give examples of the work I’ve been doing since venturing into the tank – future interns can thank me later. Then I’ll present what I’ve learnt. Despite employer branding and marketing processes being similar – does that affect their outcomes?
I’ll be honest, looking from the outside-in, the Squid Tank does have a resemblance to the Student Union – beer fridges, table football and bean bags. However, once you find yourself in a meeting, engrossed in the visions of the strategists, the words of the copywriters and the visuals from the art directors and designers – it’s a whole other (table foot) ball game.
Initially, I’d hear terms like ‘employer brand’, ‘EVP’ and ‘people powered brands’, but not really understanding them. And that’s when I realised the real reason I applied to Pink Squid – it’s because they’re different. Nobody on my course has any knowledge or experience in employer branding, because neither did I before this placement. This placement has become my USP (well, compared to my coursemates doing the ‘typical’ marketing placements anyway).
From the outset, I’ve been given real responsibility and autonomy. Don’t get me wrong, being trusted to get stuck in can be daunting, but more than anything, it’s been empowering. Oh, and the saying ‘work hard, play hard’ is no understatement. People come in early and leave late, all because they’re passionate and love what they do. But, at 3:58pm on a Friday, ‘play hard’ comes to life.
One of my first tasks was researching new clients to unveil insight, with the hope of finding that ‘golden nugget’. And it’s this nugget, that ignites a campaign. I’ve also been writing a thought-leadership article for Pink Squid’s website. That’s not me hinting that you should give it a read by the way…
More recently, I’ve been given the Pink Squid social media baton, to have and to hold, from this day forward… until death do us part? Hmm, let’s rephrase – ‘until the 10 months is up, do us part’. Either way, a social media-loving Gen Z running the socials, you’d hope that’s a decent combination, right? Stay tuned here.
So, two months in, with so much more to learn, what have I learnt about Employer Branding so far? To start with, employer branding is not actually that different to consumer marketing. The processes are similar, it still involves understanding your market, doing your research and potentially changing perceptions. However, the outcome is invariably different. It’s not about buying a product, it’s about buying into a brand to the point that you want to work for them and align yourself with their purpose. In some ways, it’s even more powerful. So with eight more months to go, I’m excited to learn more and work with different clients across so many industries. Don’t worry, I’ll catch up with you soon.
(2 Pink Squid points if you get the reference).