A ZPR Intern’s Story
Everyone has heard a classic intern horror story, often met with sympathetic nods and inquisitive questions aiming to uncover just how shocking their tasks were. There are countless scenarios of determined students eager to kickstart their career accepting hard work and no pay just to get their foot in the door of their dream industry, clinging to the hope that a few months of hard work will turn their CV into a golden ticket for social mobility. Graduates with impressive degrees end up learning new and important skills such as printing, photocopying, tea-making and how to be ignored by their boss.
However, I can happily report that my intern experience has been more the ‘dream’ internship rather than the work experience from hell. Thanks to Modern Muse, the charity led by girls for girls I was introduced to Zaria, Managing Director at ZPR Ltd. At ZPR, my intern experience has taught me that innovative thinking and creativity can go a long way, and when you surround yourself with driven and hardworking individuals, success isn’t just the result of long term progress, but rather, everyday habits.
I was able take part in so many different things over the course of the three months while I was at ZPR such as attending press events for Lakeland and Hobbycraft, visiting the Superdrug head office, sitting in on potential new client meetings and day-to-day office work showing me the daily running of a leading London-based consumer and retail PR company.
Being able to work as the connecting person between the media and clients has been one of the highlights of the day-to-day intern experience. I’ve always had a fascination with the media, how it influences behaviour, shapes society, and can be used as a tool to revolutionise how people view their lives. This experience has shown me just how rewarding it feels when you secure coverage for your clients and taught me that even my work that I didn’t think was always that important can help the clients see tangible results. I also learnt that there is no such thing as a ‘foolproof method’ and sometimes taking chances can result in rewarding outcomes.
I must admit the idea of hot desking was a totally alien concept to me when I first walked into the Soho-based office in May, where no employee has an assigned desk, meaning one day I was sitting next to a PR assistant, the next an Account Director or even the Managing Director. The benefit of this is the depressing hierarchical seating plan you usually see in offices that reminds you every day of your inferiority is completely banished.
Every morning the team ‘Huddle’ and no, that doesn’t mean they group together like penguins to keep warm, but instead group together to talk about the priorities for the day, interesting news and round-up of things going on within the company, proving the importance of communication in a fast-paced industry.
As a natural researcher after three years at university, the internship has encouraged me to become a pattern-seeker, a theme ambassador and a nerd for all relevant facts that can be useful for clients. I’ve had the opportunity to research topics such as global beauty trends, potential young extreme athlete influencers and conduct SWOT analysis for clientele press coverage.
More importantly, I’ve taken ownership for the clients we represent and have begun to see that ownership is the same thing as accountability. At the end of the day, in the world of PR, there is no time for ‘excuses’, but there will always be time for a good storyteller. The story I will tell doesn’t reside in coffee runs or monotonous trips to the copy machine, but instead, a portfolio full of anecdotes that reflect the spirit of teamwork and creativity.