Intern’s Insight

All About Experience – An Intern’s Insight

Joe Sanderson – intern at Acceleris

The age-old problem for recent graduates is lack of experience. We’ve all heard it in countless interviews, or seen it on graduate job advertisements. How can I be expected to have experience when nobody will give me any?! This is what I was asking myself as an email popped up from Acceleris, inviting me to do a two to four-week internship in Harrogate through the Acceleris Academy Programme.

I had heard about Acceleris from the Prolific North website, on which they are listed in the top 50 PR agencies in the North. Great, I thought, this is a really good company and they’ve offered me an internship, starting immediately – what’s the catch? It turns out there wasn’t a catch; Acceleris is just committed to giving graduates and young people a platform to boost their career prospects, and this is something I’m extremely grateful for.

After graduating from Newcastle University in 2015 with a degree in History and Politics, I worked as a recruitment consultant for nine months. It’s safe to say it wasn’t the job for me, so I left and decided to go back to university, Leeds University to be exact, to do a Masters degree in Political Communication. I’ve always had a passion for politics and an interest in communication and, if I’m being honest, I had no idea what profession I’d like to work in, so it seemed like a good option.

I started the course on a part-time basis and would have finished in September 2018. However, as it often does, life got in the way, and my long-term girlfriend and I found out we would be having a little girl. I decided to leave university and pursue full-time work to support my family, and I set my sights on PR. I had learned a great deal about PR theory during my Masters course and thought it would be a great way to combine my passion for writing and communication and my interest in business and the corporate world.

My lack of experience wasn’t a problem for Acceleris; they were happy to give me an opportunity, and I’ve been given a real taste of the world of PR. Acceleris interns don’t just make the teas and coffees (although I made, and drunk, my fair share!), you really are treated like a contributing member of the team. During my time here, I’ve been given real responsibility with client work, from writing press releases, blogs, and working on a large copywriting project, to in depth research tasks and saving client coverage. It’s been a really diverse few weeks.

Acceleris interns are not simply assigned any old task that needs doing; I’ve been given the chance to express what it is I enjoy the most and get involved in that side of the business. For me, that has been Writers Inc, the copywriting division of Acceleris. So much so that I’ve stayed for four weeks rather than two, which I guess means I must have done something right!

Overall, it’s been a great four weeks with great people and interesting work. As I write this, I am half way through my last day and I will definitely miss the place and the people. I’m genuinely grateful to have come across a company that doesn’t focus on the fact that you don’t have enough experience, but on how it can give you experience. I hope to take what I’ve learned and use it to gain my first full-time position in the industry and who knows, I might even come back one day in the future!

The Acceleris Academy provides work experience placements and internships to students and graduates looking to get a head start in the industry. To see how the Academy could help you, drop us a line!

The Power of Social Media

Joe Sanderson – intern at Acceleris

The world we live in is a mediatised one. Don’t know what this means? Don’t worry, it’s basically a posh academic way of saying that media, in all its various forms, affects our lives on a daily basis. In the same way as talk of the Brexit divorce bill or Meghan Markle (both equally important, obviously), we can’t get away from it.

From the moment you wake up in the morning and check what your friends are eating for breakfast on Instagram, to your bleary-eyed scrolling through endless cat memes to cheer yourself up at the end of a long day. From your morning paper to your Radio 2 fix on the way to work. From keeping in touch on your family iMessage group, to keeping abreast of your professional network on LinkedIn. From Twitter to Tumblr. Tinder to Pinterest. There’s no denying, media is everywhere.

This inescapable dominion of media over our society is indicative of the fact that we love to communicate. It’s a natural human instinct. We like company and we like talking to each other, and gone are the days when we had to get out of bed to do so. Media and communication are subtly and inherently intertwined with our lives, probably even in ways we can’t imagine and we’re not aware of.

The key driver of this gargantuan explosion of media in the modern age is a development that, despite seeming to have been around forever, is relatively new in terms of media history – social media. In days gone by, communicating to the masses required a fancy accent and a job with BBC or The Times. Now we can all do it, whenever we want, wherever we are. Everyone has a voice.

How you use that voice is up to you, and everybody is different, as shown by the top retweeted tweets of 2017. It could be to try your luck at getting free chicken nuggets, like Carter Wilkerson, whose tweet tops the list.

Source: @carterjwm

However, where one sees free chicken, another sees a marketing and PR opportunity, and Wendy’s response is a perfect example of making social media work for your business. Companies can now communicate with their customers more easily than ever before and, as in the case of Wendy’s, can even create PR and marketing campaigns for free (below).

Source: @Wendys

Social Media can be a powerful tool for your business. Particular success has been seen in the third sector, with charity initiatives consistently gaining momentum on sites like Facebook and Twitter. For example, Andy Johnson’s, @LucidWhim’s and PC Dave Wise’s tweets raised vital awareness for mental health, breast cancer and police suicides, as well as generous donations for the relevant charities. They sit at number 5, 9 and 7 in the 2017’s top 10.

Source: AndyJohnson08

Source: @LucidWhim

Source: @CopThatCooks

Even humorous messages from celebrities like Jeremy Clarkson or Peter Crouch have the benefit, of boosting their personal brand and popularity. Jeremy’s dab and Peter’s family catch-up tweets placed 6th and 8th respectively.

Source: @JeremyClarkson

Source: @petercrouch

Source: @BarackObama

In the case of politicians, the personal branding opportunities that social media allows are a powerful campaigning tool, as seen in the recent US and UK elections, with all candidates being extremely active on Twitter. Barack Obama is one politician who has expertly used social media to create a positive personal brand and his tweet in August about race equality was 4th in the top 10.

If you’d like to view the full list of 10 top retweeted tweets, please visit http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/revealed-most-retweeted-posts-2017-11640862.

Further, if you would like more information on how to harness the power of social media for you and your business, please contact Acceleris on 0845 4567 251.

An Intern’s Insight: Henry, Research Assistant

Acceleris offers internship through Disability Action Yorkshire

Henry Acceleris Research Assistant Disability Action Yorkshire internships

Henry, Acceleris Research Assistant

“Going to Acceleris has helped me feel more confident in myself and more positive about finding a job…”

Henry recently joined the Acceleris Academy programme as an intern through the agency’s partnership with Disability Action Yorkshire. Henry, 20, is from Ripon and is currently enrolled at York College studying Hospitality, having also done an ICT course last year.

He joins us for a couple of hours each week as Research Assistant, supporting the team on vital tasks such as media coverage books, researching diary dates and events, and creating spreadsheets. He has even helped with magazine content plans for the Writers Inc. department.

We sat down with Henry in between tasks to get to know him a bit better. Continue reading

An Intern’s Insight into Acceleris

Hania Thompson, Intern at Acceleris

From The Pool to the Board Room – an Intern’s Insight

Work two jobs, it will be easy! That is what I told myself as I woke up at 5am to lifeguard for two hours before embarking on a two week internship at Acceleris. As I power walked up the Ripon Road that morning I nervously kept thinking about what I was going to be doing and what will everyone be like? However, as I walked into the foyer, over the quaint wooden bridge and up the winding stairs into the reception area I was quickly put at ease.

After being warmly greeted and given a brief tour I was promptly introduced to my ‘buddy’ Katie who quickly made sure I was put to work right away. There is nothing worse than starting somewhere new and not knowing what you are doing or supposed to be doing; however, I am pleased to say that this was not the case – thanks to my buddy. My first task was to read through the Yorkshire Post and pick out relevant stories and at 10:30 I felt very important as I attended my first meeting in the board room (thankfully I wasn’t fired!).

After graduating from Northumbria University in 2015 with a degree in Sport Management, the one question which many graduates ask is ‘shall I take a gap year?’ My answer to this was yes. After a ski season in the Swiss Alps, working in the USA and travelling around Western Australia I finally decided to ‘settle down’ and think about my future.

I had been interested in the marketing and PR side of my degree, which led me to exploring this area further – although I wasn’t entirely sure what this would involve. I was fortunate enough to be offered an internship after hearing about Acceleris from a friend – and the rest is history!

The last two weeks spent at Acceleris have flown by – the old saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ comes to mind! I was given a variety of tasks which ranged from designing social media graphics for various events and clients, writing press releases, blog writing, researching potential clients and constructing (many) spreadsheets.

My favourite job was designing social media graphics for different clients. I thoroughly enjoyed being creative and imaginative throughout the process. The last two weeks have really given me a flavour of what it is like to work in the world of PR. To make the experience even better I was made to feel welcomed and valued from the moment I stepped through the door and I could tell that the staff at Acceleris are an incredibly hard working and dedicate team.

At the end of my time here I found that PR is not so dissimilar from being a lifeguard after all. You complete all the training needed for your role; however, when you’re thrown in at the deep end on your first day, you never truly know how you’re going to react until the situation presents itself – whether this is trying to save someone’s life or handling a crisis on social media! As I impart my knowledge onto the next intern, the most important thing to say is to fling yourself into it, learn as much as you can whilst you have the chance and say yes to everything!

To see more on the opportunities Acceleris has for students and graduates, read about the Acceleris Academy here.

Heroes and Zeros: managing your brand reputation

Nadia Ahmed who joined Acceleris on work experience

Nadia Ahmed, who joined Acceleris on work experience

Even as someone new to the world of PR, I can recognise the impact PR campaigns can have, whether for better or for worse.

During my two weeks of work experience at Acceleris I have learnt the significance of brands protecting their reputations. There have been lots of examples in the media recently where brands have triumphed in marketing themselves and some at the opposite end of the scale.

Here we take a look at some examples which have sparked criticism from the not-so-adoring public, as well as the championing of some brands for their success.

 

 

Neither hopeful nor glorious festival

Hope and Glory PR Disaster Liverpool

The ironically named ‘Hope and Glory Festival’ in Liverpool was cancelled in early August, just as acts were ready to go on stage. The worst part however, is that it was cancelled with one disastrous tweet simply saying, ‘No festival today’. Overcrowding at the 12,500 capacity St George’s Quarter led to the event being scrapped, with thousands of ticket holders left disappointed. Day-ticket holders lost out on both a highly anticipated festival and £55, while those who had bought a weekend ticket and paid out £89 were left confused and angry.

Although some posts on the Facebook page pointed the blame at the production manager, who was even named and shamed, the PR company behind the event were ultimately responsible for dealing with all the publicity and social media for the event. The agency continued to point the blame at anyone but themselves, and the director added fuel to the fire of public outrage when he bungled his interview on talkRadio and only offered to refund the one ticket to a listener who called in. In such a modern, technology dependent era, PR disasters like this spread like wildfire and can easily destroy a company’s reputation. There is no doubt that this event was a disaster and the PR company have been placed at the centre of it.

 

Social media Mum 1, V&A Museum nil

A breastfeeding mum took to social media after she was asked to ‘cover up’ when she accidentally flashed her nipple whilst breastfeeding at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington. However, the mother did not passively accept this disapproval, and she took to Twitter to express her outrage.

Using her Twitter account the mother tweeted: “Flashed a nanosecond of nipple while #breastfeeding and was asked to cover up in @V_and_A courtyard. Am perplexed…” Then continued with, “On the upside, I had a lovely day at the V&A exploring depictions of breasts through the ages and making lovely mammaries. I mean memories”. Ironically, the incident occurred within World Breastfeeding Week, which works to dispel the sense of disapproval some women feel while breastfeeding in public. Using hashtags such as #normalisebreastfeeding , #empoweredbirthproject and #breastisbest.

The V&A’s director apologised after the tweet went viral, saying “@vaguechera V sorry. Our policy is clear: women may breastfeed wherever they like, wherever they feel comfortable & shld not be disturbed.”

Easy access to social media allows people to share perceived injustices and also allowed the V&A to publicly apologise. Ultimately, it all ended well.

 

Swede dreams

In a glorious attempt to boost tourism, the organisation Visit Sweden has listed the entire country on Airbnb to try and appeal to young travellers. The Swedish tourist board is trying to encourage and educate people in the concept of Allesmansrätten, or ‘the freedom to roam’.

Allesmansrätten refers to the general public’s right to camp, hike, explore and use the country’s natural resources at will. The campaign boasts that, “Sweden has no Eiffel Towers. No Niagara Falls or Big Bens. Not even a little Sphinx. Sweden has something else- the freedom to roam. This is our monument” conveying that Sweden’s natural landscape is the jewel in its crown and a great reason to visit. The weirdly wonderful campaign promotes the country’s own unique offerings and the Airbnb stunt helped them gain publicity and drive traffic to both Visit Sweden’s and Airbnb’s websites.Visit Sweden Listed on Airbnb

Visit Sweden Listed on Airbnb

Heroes and zeros awards

Each of these events gained recognition across various media channels and one in particular reignited the discussion on the issue of breastfeeding in public. It is becoming increasingly clear how crucial the effectiveness and speed of responses from companies is, in order to prevent the destruction of a certain brand.

For a successful PR campaign which is current, unique and exciting, Visit Sweden has to win my hero award.

As the biggest failure, the Hope and Glory Festival PR catastrophe is doubtlessly the winner of my zero award. Hopefully the lesson of ‘not cancelling a huge event with a three word tweet’ has been learnt.

Here at Acceleris we have a vested interest in the reputations of our clients. We believe it’s not what you say that defines you. It’s what you do and how you do it that creates your reputation. What we do is protect and promote the brands of our clients. To find out more about our work for other clients, take a look at: http://www.acceleris-mc.com/pr-portfolio-case-studies.html

Intern’s Insight at Acceleris

Lucy Bune – Acceleris Work Experience Placement

Lucy Bune shares her Acceleris experience

I’ll admit I was nervous on the morning of Monday 3 July, getting ready in new ‘business- casual’ clothes that felt very formal, preparing for five days I was going to spend working at the Harrogate Office of Acceleris. I had been to the office once before to fill in several forms of the health and safety variety, given to me by the careers department of my school, which had organised the work experience programme, and encouraged us to independently seek out placements., which would take place in the 10 week long summer holiday after we finished our GCSE exams. I had contacted Acceleris after I read their information on the North Yorkshire work experience website, and felt it would suit me – I enjoyed media and English lessons and thought that PR or journalism would be a good fit for a future career, although I was not completely sure what ‘PR’ entailed and meant.

As I climbed the (many, many) stairs up to the office, I had absolutely no idea what to expect – I didn’t know the jobs I would be doing, or who (or what!) I would be working with. However my fears were soon put to rest when I met the team who were all extremely welcoming and friendly. I was given my very own desk with a computer and a phone, which I very much hoped I wouldn’t have to use.

Unfortunately, that was my first task – to contact the IT office and sort out my email address. When I got it set up, I was set straight into my second task, one which became a daily occurrence, reading through the newspaper to find any interesting articles.  It allowed me to settle into my new space and get to grips with the computer and email systems which I would have no idea how to use otherwise!

Over my week I have enjoyed a great deal of varied tasks which have been given to me – from creating social media posts, to research, editing photos and, of course, writing this blog, I have done much more than I thought happened in a PR office. My eyes have been opened to how much work goes into marketing, research, communications and the many other things that PR entails. I have found my experience very interesting and think it has given me some skills to boost my CV (the one everybody keeps going on about, that I’ve not actually made), an insight into the world of PR and I have also met some very lovely and hard working people who have made me feel welcome and that the work I was doing was important.

My favourite job has definitely been creating social media posts and graphics, particularly for twitter, and it has made me realise that this could be something to pursue in the future, especially for the growing need for companies to have social media profiles and strong online presences.

I would definitely advise any young person who is interested in PR, social media or any aspect of the media to try out a work experience or an internship at Acceleris as it will really help you understand what goes on in the world of public relations. My experience also helped me improve invaluable skills, not just on the computer, but also face to face communication, confidence, and talking on the phone! My advice to those preparing for an internship would be that you really don’t need to worry – this sound like a cliché, but it’s true – all the staff at Acceleris are extremely kind and warm, and you will soon feel like you fit right in. Keep on task and get your work done in order to maximise the potential of your work experience and give you the full range of the types of tasks that you could deal within a PR office.

And, finally, another cliché – have fun! I certainly did!

 

To read more on Acceleris’ current job vacancies, click here.

Interns Insight: Anna Talks Putting Skills to the Test

Having recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in English, I was keen to gain an insight into the world of PR. Throughout university, working in PR had become increasingly appealing for its creative opportunities and involvement with the media. A two week work experience placement with Acceleris was the perfect opportunity for me…

Intern’s Insight: Harry and Sam talk work experience

As part of our popular Acceleris Academy training and internship programme, we recently welcomed Harry Yates and Sam Walton-Fletcher into the office to experience the world of PR first hand. It was the first time we’d had two students with us at the same time and it was great to see the camaraderie between them,…