Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Learning Your Agency's Culture
It’s your first day as an intern or new employee at a marketing, public relations or communications agency--what’s priority number one? Learn your agency’s culture! Here are a few tips, in no specific order, to help with a successful submersion.
1. Know thy colleagues
First and foremost, get to know the people you are going to be working with everyday. Observe and ask questions about who their clients are and what they do on a daily basis. See how they go about managing and prioritizing their time. Become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses so you can learn and perhaps share your expertise with them. On a personal level find out what kind of music, sports and hobbies they are into so you can better relate with them. Assuming everyone is on Twitter, follow them and respond to their tweets.
2. Internalize the agency’s vision, mission and values
One of the first things you should do going into a new agency is obtain a copy of their vision and mission statements and their values. If they haven’t captured them in hard copy, ask your manager to express them to you. You may even want to suggest creating a presentation that can be shared as a teambuilding experience. In any case, it’s important to note how the agency views its values to make sure your own values combined make for a good fit.
3. Use wardrobe common sense
You don’t want to show up on casual Friday wearing a suit when everyone else is in jeans. Similarly, you don’t want to show up in jeans on Monday when everyone is wearing a suit. For your first week or so, play it safe and dress to impress. As time goes on, notice what other people are wearing – or not wearing –and make your own fashion decisions accordingly. When it doubt, err on the side of being conservative, especially if you will be meeting with clients. Remember how you carry yourself, attire included, not only speaks about you but about your agency as a whole.
4. Get the 411 on communication
Find out how everyone within the agency communicates with each other. Is the main vehicle of communication through email, face to face or internal social media? It’s important to know when each type of communication is appropriate. Make sure your emails are detailed and well thought out so you don’t confuse your colleagues and most importantly proof read! Get in the habit of proof reading everything you write even if it’s just internal emails because writing WELL is the bread and butter of the communications business. As a side note, become familiar with the way files are named. Many agencies are particular about this and for good reason--it keeps documents organized and easy to find!
5. Know thy clients
When you work for an agency, you also need to respect the culture at each of your clients. Learn about each client’s history as well as their current issues. Get to know the clients you will be working with and seek to build and maintain good relationships with them if possible.
Good luck out there newbies. Stay positive!
Posted by Elyse Charlesworth at 12:45 PM