A week in the life of a graduate

27th January 2016 by Hannah Thompson

I started life at Clifford French three months ago with a ‘thrown in at the deep end’ first day at the FIFA 16 launch and the whirlwind has continued ever since. With clients as varied as PUMA, Carlsberg and EA SPORTS, a week can differ massively.

The daily admin tasks are the backbone of the office and responsibilities include starting the day with a news review and reading a wide variety of media from digital and traditional channels to monitoring what our competitors are up to. We’re constantly looking for opportunities that are relevant for our clients or that can provide valuable insight that we can translate into a creative delivery.

We recently spotted a story that two pilots had asked for two pints of Carlsberg following a particularly difficult landing and we were able to gift them free beer as a result- If Carlsberg Did Pilots!

A typical week revolves around client responsibilities such as catch up calls, liaising with media, idea generation, sell-ins, monitoring coverage and reporting.

An element of the week that I particularly enjoy is brainstorming creative and engaging campaigns for a variety of clients, which typically results in the office camping out in the boardroom bouncing ideas off each other. Whilst some questionable responses can cause much amusement (male toilet habits were the unfortunate topic during our last gathering!) this has also led to valuable insights, particularly for Carlsberg’s digital activity under the umbrella ‘If Carlsberg Did’.

Maintaining a great relationship with media outlets across sport and entertainment ensures that we can run these ideas by journalists who may potentially cover the stories and therefore gauge whether our insights are credible. Whilst journalists have a responsibility to their readers and PR’s have a responsibility to their clients, balancing the two can be easily achieved in an informal environment over a coffee, lunch, or even a competitive game of 5 a side football, as the boys of the Clifford French office recently found out!

I most enjoy approaching media when we have interview time to offer with a person of interest, be that an athlete or TV personality. It is great working through an article with them, agreeing the messaging, content, branding and imagery, I have recently been involved in activations with Little Mix and Rebecca Adlington both of which required various negotiations before we finalised the partners. For a PR, the biggest sense of satisfaction comes from seeing the end result online or in print and creates a sense of achievement when sharing the coverage with the client.

As well as traditional media it is also essential that, as an agency, we outreach to social influencers that cover the areas in which our clients operate. This broadly covers sport (particularly football), entertainment and fitness across blogs, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Facebook and we are always on the lookout for how we can embed user generated content into client campaigns.

We’ve got a really good work/life balance in the office and allow plenty of time for office fun and games. Our weekly ‘Wetbag of the week’, a term of endearment that has become part of the vocabulary at Clifford French, is a light-hearted competition with the award going to the person who does or says something stupid over the previous week, the forfeit being a Friday afternoon ‘tea round’ for the office.

We also make time in the diary for a monthly social, which is organised by the social secretary of the month. Decided via an interactive spinner, the winner is charged with taking the whole team on an outing, recent highlights have included a wine-tasting and tapas evening and a festive trip to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland- a great way to end the inevitable monthly madness at the office!

Whilst this post is a whistle-stop tour of a typical week at Clifford French, it demonstrates that our communication with clients and media are vital to launching successful campaigns across a variety of platforms. The same can be said of our rapport as a team. The relatively informal environment that we work in means that each member of our staff is supported across their clients, meaning that we can deliver great results with a ‘professionally unprofessional’ approach!