A Summer of Creativity

If there’s such a thing as right-brain boot camp, mine just spent a week there. Participating in PR brainstorms, cartooning my first-ever legitimate comic strip to convey a corporate business case, reaching out to students all over the globe to join Ketchum’s crowdsourcing site, Mindfire – these tasks demanded a  level of creativity that last summer’s lifeguarding job didn’t require. (I am, however, quite exceptional at coming up with pool games for eight-year-olds on the fly!)

I’m a new intern at Ketchum working with the Innovation Group. As an English major, I come from an academic background that emphasizes analyzing the past work of masters — writers such as Austen, Flaubert and Hemingway. Recently, I was studying purely through rote memorization during a semester abroad in Tokyo (if you need to know all the prefectures of Japan or how to spell “cat” in hiragana [Japanese writing], feel free to drop me a line), so working in an environment that encourages “out of the box” creative thinking is an exciting transition for me.

While there is certainly creative thinking involved in analyzing literature, an academic paper only reaches a niche audience, while ideas in the PR sphere can potentially touch millions and impact people all over the globe. What’s exciting to me about this is that a powerful PR message can inspire others, helping to perpetuate a cycle of unique, groundbreaking thought that can advance our society.

I spent time last week studying some of the most innovative integrated and earned media campaigns of the past year. One of my favorites was “Pay with a Tweet,” which allowed people all over the world to buy items using the value of their social network – essentially, the world’s first social payment system.

It’s incredibly thrilling to be part of an agency that contributes similarly to this cycle in such a big way, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me during my time here at Ketchum.