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Erica Getliffe

Want to learn what an internship experience is like at tbk Creative from another intern? Read Intern alumna, Erica Getliffe’s journal where she shares what her 4-month term was like.

My name is Erica Getliffe and this is my journey as an intern with tbk Creative. tbk Creative is a web design & digital marketing agency that gave me the opportunity to fulfill my co-op requirements for my Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Dalhousie University. As someone who is majoring in Marketing Management, you can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to work alongside such a prominent marketing firm.

May

May was a month full of hands-on experience and new knowledge. During my first couple of weeks at tbk Creative, I was welcomed into a dynamic team that saw the value in completing tasks together while holding a strong sense of community. I had become an integral member of the team and saw value in my role. As I look back on my first month, tbk Creative proved to be a good fit for me. Not only was this because of the skills I gained from the accounts team, or the hands on training I received from my senior colleagues but because of the projects I completed with a goal oriented team who was passionate about their work. My first couple weeks with tbk Creative gave me some of the tools needed to succeed in my future business endeavors and motivated me to be accountable for my goals throughout the internship process.

My first week was full of training which gave me a basic understanding of what tbk Creative represented. It was focused on learning new software/programs and determining what areas I saw myself focusing in on during the course of my internship. My start at tbk Creative was memorable as there was a launch of a new marketing campaign for Yogen Fruz. It was interesting watching all the hard work that went into launching a new campaign and the communication internally between the Development Team and the Accounts Team.

During this month, I focused on assembling a creative brief for an email marketing campaign for Beverley Hills Home Improvements, completed background research on a Sundance Balloons social marketing project and was allotted time to update web content for Lerners LLP on their new WordPress website. The programs that I was trained on were Slack, Time Harvest, Google Docs, DropBox, Skype, Basecamp, Wunderlist, Boomerang, WordPress and Google Calendar. This week was full of new processes, interpreting significant information and watching informational videos on such topics as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), web accessibility (WCAG 2.0 / AODA), and the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

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 A section of Beverley Hills Home Improvements’ May email marketing campaign.

For most of May, I focused on projects and played a role in completing them. I was busy but never felt overwhelmed due to a supportive network of coworkers who broke down my tasks and thoroughly explained my projects. To begin, I refined my statistical skills when compiling data into a monthly report that detailed Jiffy Lube Ontario’s twitter performance as well as their Google My Business ranking. I improved upon my HR skills while aiding in the search for an Account Coordinator as I assembled a spreadsheet and assisted in composing applicant emails.

I enhanced my social marketing skills when preparing social media posts for Beverley Hills Home Improvements’ Facebook page as well as researched social content. In addition, I heightened my blogging skills while completing two blogs for our clients’ Jiffy Lube Ontario and Beverley Hills Home Improvements. Having the opportunity to enhance my creative writing skills is something that I value in a work environment as opposed to working in the confines of a classroom setting.

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Another skill that I was able to gain in the month of May was project management. Throughout school we’ve always been given the challenge of completing tasks while working together. Here at tbk Creative, I was not only given the chance of working as a team but I was also given the challenge of organizing the dates of completion for many project. sI received great hands on experience while using Basecamp and better understood the integral role that every team member played in completing a digital marketing project with quality. It demonstrated that in order to complete a task on time, I had to organize team members calendars based on our clients’ expected submission dates.

Throughout this experience, I got to work closely with our ongoing Managed Service clients, which included some great brands like Jiffy Lube Ontario (59 stores), Beverley Hills Home Improvements, Oakwood Resort, Sigma Assessment Systems and Sundance Balloons. This task was challenging as it came with many responsibilities but overall, it enhanced my organization skills.

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A photo of Barry McGonigle, president of Sundance Balloons, explaining the different types of hot air balloons they create.

I advanced my public relations skills while improving client relations with Sundance Balloons. My colleague and I headed out to Sundance Balloons to shoot photos for their social media account. After speaking with them, I learned a valuable lesson – although tbk Creative may not have gained much monetarily because we weren’t providing a service, we instead deepened the relationship with the client and got to know each other better.

Lastly, in the month of May, I was given the opportunity to get involved with a direct mail campaign for our client, Sigma Assessment Systems. This work included helping re-write some of their case studies into the context of a direct mail campaign for their prospective clients to receive.

 “Hard work creates growth.”

 After this first month, I hope to continue to thrive as a result of a supportive team. Although I may have been challenged with new responsibilities in the beginning, this last month has shown me that I have many team members who are willing to support me and want to see me succeed throughout this process. tbk Creative has redefined the meaning of hard work and has empowered me to find my own triumph throughout my internship.

June

 Working at tbk Creative for the last two months has been a great experience. tbk Creative’s supportive team has enabled me to find confidence in the work that I complete and has demonstrated the importance of communication. tbk Creative has improved my teamwork skills and has made me be accountable for my goals. These skills will not only help in my future business endeavours but during my final year at Dalhousie University.

Throughout the month of June, I was able to better understand why we followed the procedures that were in place, why we worked with certain clients and furthermore, the important roles that every team member held (including myself). This opened my eyes to new possibilities and gave me the knowledge to complete tasks with less assistance. Although I still felt fairly new to the tbk Creative team; I was able to learn to not give up when certain problems arose. At times, it became discouraging but with the hands on support I realized, that I too, could succeed in this position.

I worked on many projects during the month of June. I learned reporting skills when I pulled data for Jiffy Lube’s and Beverley Hills monthly reports as well as improved my creative skills when designing monthly briefs. Although most of these tasks had been previously completed in May, it was interesting to watch my understanding of each task evolve. I became more efficient and I was able to use the skills that I had learned earlier on in my training. I was also able to use skills that I had learned from my time as a ski race coach and from group work at school. Working together as a team is a skill that tbk Creative uses in every task or project.

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A section of Sundance Balloons’ June email marketing campaign.

 In the first couple weeks of June, I was given the opportunity to complete a research report for tbk Creative. I researched many different water bottle vendors and improved my networking skills. I also learned that when one option does not work – there is often another solution.

A great example of this is when I helped organize a London Cares Curb Hunger Food Drive. This event brought tbk Creative’s team together but also gave back to the community. While organizing this event, I was frustrated at first but with the help of the incredible event organizers – I was able to find out the answers I was looking for. Overall, I found that this project pushed me to work better under pressure and find alternative solutions.

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Some interesting tasks that I got to work on during the month of June involved creating social media posts for Beverley Hills and designing an email campaign for Sundance Balloons. I was also able to work very closely with WordPress and specifically, completed Beverley Hills product page updates.

These tasks improved my leadership skills and taught me to always look for new ways to learn. I enjoyed getting to work on new projects with different themes throughout the month of June. Many of them involved summer deals and it was interesting designing campaigns towards seasonal promotions.

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During the last couple weeks of June, I continued to write both Beverley Hills and Jiffy Lube’s monthly blog articles. I was given interesting topics that I was able to write freely about. The independence that I have been given at tbk Creative is what has helped me develop as a professional. It has also assisted me to adapt to the business world and allowed me to become more creative with my writing.

The new projects that I got to work on during the month of June involved designing the first round of a public relations letter and a marketing automation for Sundance Balloons. In this automation, I was closely involved with the content writing and the set up on Infusionsoft. From this experience, I learned how to use new technology and most importantly, learned how critical is it to pay attention to detail. I was able to grab hold of this project and lead with my own ideas. Overall, it was an amazing experience that will benefit me in my future business endeavors.

 “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

 After completing two months of work, I can confidently say that I have learned more than I ever anticipated. I am grateful for this opportunity as well as, I am thankful for the responsibilities that I have been given. The most memorable experience thus far has been being attending meetings with potential clients and providing my personal inputs. Overall, I feel more confident in my abilities due to a positive learning environment and a creative atmosphere. I am excited to face new challenges in the coming months and grow as a Marketing Coordinator.

July

July was a month filled of new experiences, opportunities and its fair share of challenges. The month started out pretty fast pace – as part of our accounts management team was on vacation. This left me with new tasks and of course, more responsibility. Well our team was away, I attended a tbk Creative weekly production meeting and coordinated with our designers/clients to ensure that we met our project completion dates. Throughout this experience, I was able to improve my account management skills, which I can use in many different aspects of my life (school, personal business ventures and employee management).

The month of July included a lot of content creating and content uploading. I created Jiffy Lube’s landing page for their Wheels Of Hope campaign, I created content for Sundance’s location pages, and I created content for Sundance’s scheduling pages. From these experiences, I learned how to write content that was interesting and content that would grab a reader’s attention.

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A great learning experience that I was involved in this month was creating an editorial calendar for our client, Renin Corp. This included a spreadsheet filled with content for future social posts for sites like Facebook, Google My Business, Twitter and LinkedIn.

This experience improved my social marketing skills as I saw how to tailor posts directly to fit the client’s needs. It was interesting seeing how Beverley Hills social content (which I also created) focused on a different audience. In the end, the social posts looked both professional and design oriented.

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A social media meme tbk Creative created for Renin Corp.

Throughout the month, I completed sales research for tbk Creative. This task, at times, became frustrating because not all of the information was available online. Although, the completion of this task allowed me to understand the value of hard work and more often than not, I would reach the end result I was looking for.

Some of the new creative briefs I completed in July included a back to school ad for Jiffy Lube, a wedding ad for Oakwood Resort and a Coupon Clipper print ad for Beverley Hills Home Improvements. Designing a creative brief for a project that I had never worked on before was slightly daunting but I enjoyed creating them. The best part about designing a creative brief is getting to see the final product and watch your vision (that you put on paper) be brought to life with colours and fonts.

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A photo of Oakwood Resort’s Google Advertisement.

During July, tbk Creative had to organize and lead Jiffy Lube’s summer contests. This meant that all the twitter posts that were made on @JiffyLubeON had to include promotional tweets. I was lucky enough to be assigned this task and I was thrilled to get started. It was a lot of fun creating Jiffy Lube’s Concert Craze promotional tweets and announce the concert deadlines. I was also very involved with their JiffyLoot contest. This contest involved three posts per week where I would ask trivia, facts or questions and their followers would reply back for a chance to win. The #JiffyLootContest tweets were created and put into our twitter posting spreadsheet for next month. From this experience, I learned how to create a successful online contest.

One of the most interesting projects that I joined was the Partners Promoting the Importance of Early Childhood Education’s rebranding project. tbk Creative is in the process of helping Partners re-brand (logo and brand core messaging) their organization as Licensed Child Care Network. This task involved tbk Creative meeting with board members for a new branding project. It was exciting being a part of these meetings and understanding just how important every line, colour and shape is (in a design). It was also interesting understanding how each design had a different meaning to people. Being involved in this project allowed me to gain sales skills. Listening to Melissa essentially, “pitch” our ideas was a great learning experience.

A photo of Associate Intern Erica Getliffe at the tbk Creative office sitting in a chair working

Although, I still have about a month to work – eventually my time as an intern will come to end. I was given the task to help set up postings online to search for tbk Creative’s newest fall Associate Intern. It was interesting seeing how things come back full circle and that I now know the type of intern tbk Creative is looking for.

This experience helped me improve my human resource skills and gave me insight on how to post a position on websites like Knighthunter and Indeed. It also gave me the ability to better understand how other co-op programs run outside of my own.

 “Nothing can substitute experience.”

Overall, the month of July was filled with many learning experiences. I am thankful that I get to be a part of tbk Creative’s team and enjoy getting to work with such amazing individuals. I hope my last month with tbk Creative will teach me new skills and give me further knowledge in the marketing field.

August

My last month with tbk Creative was bittersweet. I was able to complete tasks without assistance and I was feeling a part of the team. Although I was more conscious with the processes and procedures involved with my role – at the back of my mind, I knew that my time with tbk Creative would be ending soon. Nevertheless, I continued on with my projects and learned from every opportunity I was given.

Some of the projects that I was able to work on during the month of August were digital ads for Jiffy Lube. These digital ads were particularly interesting due to the fact that tbk Creative started them before the new season. I worked on Jiffy Lube’s “commuting” ad as well as their “be wise, winterize” ad. It was a great learning experience for me due to the fact that I was able to understand the importance of seasonal marketing. The fall ad primarily focused on the new fall season where the winter ad focused on winter tires.

During the month of August, I also learned how to properly take meeting notes. I was put to the test when I took notes for County of Lambton’s weekly meeting with tbk Creative (and gained a whole new respect for someone’s ability to type fast)! It was particularly interesting learning about the setup of tbk Creative’s meeting notes which clearly displayed action items. This experience enabled me to better upload their content to WordPress (tbk Creative is building a new website for their long term care home facilities) because I attended the meeting and understood their expectations.

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A photo of Beverley Hills Home Improvements new landing page.

Landing pages were a task that I enjoyed completing this month. I completed many landing page updates, wrote content and chose creative. During this time, I designed and wrote content for Beverley Hills Home Improvements Rebate Program, wrote content for Orlando Balloon Rides / Vegas Balloon Rides 10% Off Summer Special and their 25% Off Travel Advisor Special. I also edited and added more content on Jiffy Lube’s Drive Clean Emissions landing page. These tasks taught me the importance of SEO and the positive difference keywords can make. These tasks also improved my creative writing skills.

Throughout my time with tbk Creative, I have continued to write blog articles for Jiffy Lube and Beverley Hills, but in August, I was also able to write two articles for Renin Corp (an indoor closet and barn door manufacturer). These articles included information on how to pick the right closet door and why soft close barn doors are a great option. While completing these extra tasks, I noticed that my blogging skills had improved. I was able to get my point across in fewer words and was able to complete both articles in the time that it took me to complete one back in May.

One of the most memorable experiences that I am going to take with me from my time at tbk Creative was a Twitter contest that we were running for Jiffy Lube. The online contest was called Jiffy Loot and its success succeeded our expectations. Through Jiffy Loot, Jiffy Lube was able to gain more followers and further promote their brand. Due to this experience, I learned how to better manage a contest (of this size) and learned how to properly interact with consumers online.

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A great way to end my time with tbk Creative was to be a part of a project from start to finish. The Licensed Child Care Network meetings that I had been a part of ended with choosing the core messaging for their brand. I was able to attend my 4th client meeting with this organization and was thrilled when I took their meeting notes. This was an amazing opportunity for me as I learned that everyone wants their opinion heard and it is a marketing agency’s responsibility to incorporate that into their specified brand. In the end, tbk Creative and the LCCN had a mutual respect for each other and agreed on many concepts.  

One of the last projects that I worked on for tbk Creative was creating a Statement of Work (SOW) outlining a project for our client, Burlington Travel Clinic. For those who may not know, a SOW is a document that outlines deliverables, scope, price, delivery date, etc. and was a great experience for me as I was able to see the format that tbk Creative used and learned how to quote out the work that the client needed.

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I feel confident to head back to school and ‘rock’ all my marketing courses this September! My summer was spent well with tbk Creative and it is an experience I will always remember. I am going to miss the office dogs (shout out to Molly & Trevor); Andrew’s and Melissa’s guidance; Kylie’s, Amanda’s and Nick’s knowledge, the development team’s patience, and of course, my mentor and co-op coordinator Joanna. I can’t wait to see where tbk Creative heads in the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the tbk Creative team for giving me the opportunity to work with them. I really appreciate the time that I spent with the team, on both a professional and personal level. I have certainly learned a lot and look forward to utilizing my new skills in the future.

My main advice for future interns is to remain open to new situations, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be prepared to live off of your Google calendar and of course, ask questions.

What I Learned

  • Erica Getliffe, tbk Creative

    My time at tbk Creative as an Intern was an incredible learning opportunity. They redefined the meaning of hard work and empowered me to find my own success throughout the internship process. tbk Creative has given me the tools to succeed in my future business endeavours and has motivated me to be accountable for my goals. This experience has further built my confidence and allowed me to take on new challenges. I continued to grow as a result of a supportive and hands on team. I look forward to seeing the future success of tbk Creative.

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