The Evolution from Student to Specialist

Joining Ketchum as a Summer Fellow was the perfect way to bridge the gap between the PR concepts I learned in the classroom and their real-world application. Particularly, as a fellow on a communication specialty team, I was afforded the opportunity to hone in on a specific area of expertise and learn how to approach communication challenges through that lens.

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I found this specialty method extremely valuable after working as a generalist in past jobs and learning as a generalist in previous classes. Having built my academic foundation on marketing, journalism and public relations, I wanted to dive deeper into entertainment communications and learn specifically how influential figures can be used to tell brand stories that deeply connect to a target audience.

In my role as an Entertainment, Talent, & Influencer fellow, I gained insight into the world of talent and how celebrity endorsement and influencer marketing are used in campaigns. Through this experience, I came away with a new perspective on influencer and celebrity partnerships. Below are a few of the most valuable lessons learned from this unique experience as a Ketchum Summer Fellow.

Moving from Interest to Insight:
Before coming to Ketchum, I had studied influencer relations in college and dutifully followed pop culture in the media. Being immersed full-time on the team transformed how I thought about this space and quickly discovered that I was only scratching the surface when it comes to influencer and entertainment capabilities. This summer, I got to learn from the best in the business and soak up new skills in an area I was passionate about. I witnessed the quick pace of a specialty group and practiced the research and communication that goes into developing authentic brand partnerships. I worked on campaigns in all stages of development and enjoyed taking a behind-the-scenes look at the strategies and tasks that power them.

Exploring Different Industries:
I had a chance to work on various projects for clients in food, retail, wellness, energy, technology, CPG, and health. Working in industries that I’ve never had exposure to helped me grow as a communicator and better understand each industry’s (and client’s) unique communication goals. Viewing different industries through a talent lens challenged me to think differently about how to integrate an entertainment component in the mix. While tricky at times, it forced me to think on my feet and identify people that would align well with a specific brand and message.

Building Integrated Campaigns:
I was introduced to the PESO model in school and really got to see the concept in action during the fellowship. I learned how to customize and tailor the talent component to fit different target audiences and campaign goals. I thought deeply on how entertainment could be used across paid, earned, shared, and owned media capacities to create stronger campaigns. I used my specialty approach as a component for the Fellows group project and my team had the opportunity to present our ideas directly to the client. Our group developed a creative and cohesive campaign with the skills and knowledge we gained during the fellowship at its core.

Seeing the Big Picture:
By working at Ketchum, I learned firsthand how your day-to-day responsibilities as an intern ladder up to something valuable. Agency life is extremely collaborative, and Ketchum team members worked in lockstep with each other. Whether for new business pitches or product rollouts for established clients, my contributions ultimately fit into a larger context and contributed toward the overall decision-making processes.

All in all, my experience as a Summer Fellow helped further connect my interest in the influencer and entertainment sphere and turn it into a deeper passion. Through the fellowship, I discovered new ways to develop powerful campaigns and strengthened the requisite skills needed to thrive as a modern communications professional.