My week at Browndog is coming to an end and it is safe to say that it has the potential to be one of the most informative and educational weeks I have experienced. The knowledge, advice and overall maturity I have gained from this past week will stick with me and provide that vital motivation for when I sit my A-levels and move onto my degree.
Coming into Browndog, just a short 5 days ago, I was advised by my parents and college tutors to enter with both an open mindset and open ears, to allow myself to be fully immersed in the marketing world and absorb as much guidance and knowledge from the Browndog team as possible. This simple tip is one I could not stress enough to both myself and any future students entering a work experience week (or year), as the opportunity being open-minded presents are vast and can not only aid your acceptance into university but prepare you for what your future can involve.
This week has confirmed that marketing is the degree and career I want to pursue, as the enjoyment and comfort I felt in not only the marketing world but Browndog, confirmed my aspiration to one day make this passion a career. Before I discuss more of my experience, I wanted to thank the Browndog team for being so welcoming and informative.
What did you expect coming into Browndog and how much did your experience match up to prior expectations?
As mentioned above, I came into Browndog with a very open mind with the desire to learn. Therefore one of my only expectations coming in was to simply observe the workplace and listen to as many team members as possible. Oh, and make the occasional tea and coffees. I allowed myself to have no pressure to achieve certain goals from this week and left my progression in the capable hands of Alexis and the team.
Right from the start on day one, I was immersed in the world of marketing by being invited to sit in on a Zoom meeting with an automotive client. This rebranding meeting gave me the opportunity to observe a real-life client briefing and ‘dip my toes’ into how ideas created by an agency are put forward to clients. Despite having absolutely no knowledge of the automotive industry, I was asked to produce notes from the meeting about the likes, dislikes and suggestions of the clients to aid the production of more rebranding ideas and designs.
This task allowed me to begin to develop an understanding of how client meetings work and how a brand is built from the ground up. Once I completed the notes, I began to develop potential brand identities for the client, which would be presented to them on their next ‘catch-up’. Throughout my week, I observed two more client briefings with Gather Technology and Pink Link about content writing and website design.
Alongside observing real-life client meetings, I worked on projects from varied industries, ranging from designing and writing potential LinkedIn posts for BlueSky (a packaging business) to completing Google Sheets for client landing pages, to researching the creative industry for Browndog’s blog. Basically, any task I was given the opportunity to work on, I did. So I feel like it is a pretty fair judgement to make that this week has exceeded all expectations, even the ones about making teas and coffees.
What type of projects did I work on?
The projects all varied in industry and skills. Some projects, like creating social media posts, required research into BlueSky and Browndog’s social media tone of voice and required overall good writing capabilities. Whereas other projects required more creativity and technological skills, like designing brand names and straplines and creating an online sitemap for an eCommerce website.
The interesting aspect of all of these products is the fact that no two industries were the same. It is a real sign of Browndog’s diverse clientele and creative abilities as they are able to satisfy each client. This diversity has benefited me greatly, as it allowed me to see how marketing and design can be adapted to each business to meet the needs of clients.
What did you learn during your week at Browndog?
I think the more appropriate question is what didn’t I learn? The team at Browndog were so willing to answer any questions I had on either their roles or the overall industry, that I feel prepared to one day establish myself in the industry. Working on the different client briefs allowed me to learn and tune my customer service skills, that can be transferred throughout all aspects of my life. But I think the main lesson I learnt was to always ask questions. This is such a key lesson as there will always be someone who knows more about an area than you do.
At the end of my week, I thought I would carry out a Q&A with a couple of the team members, to learn a little more about their role in the agency, any tips they have for me and the type of projects they have worked on.
My first Q&A was with Sam Childerson, one of the Web Designers & Developers at Browndog. Sam has worked at Browndog for 5 years now, originally beginning his career as an apprentice at a small web design agency. Sam shared that while on that apprenticeship he learnt the fundamentals of basic code.
Sam’s tips for succeeding in the industry were “ask questions and don’t let mistakes define you”. These are beneficial tips for anyone starting out in the industry as everyone started in the same position and grew their knowledge. I asked Sam about some of his favourite projects, and below is a link to a couple, with a small explanation as to why he enjoyed them:
- Sutcliffe Play – Sam enjoyed the playfulness of this project.
- Calderdale College – Sam liked the idea of working on a project that had both a young audience and a high volume of website traffic.
- Lancastria – Sam’s redesign of the logo and build of the website made Lancastria one of his favourite designs and website builds. He enjoyed being able to manage the whole project from start to finish.
My second Q&A was with Alexis Bradbury, one of the directors at Browndog, who’s main areas of responsibility is managing the general administration, managing and supporting the digital and eCommerce teams, along with clients.
Alexis has worked at Browndog full time since 2010, after becoming an agency partner in 2003. His journey with Browndog began after moving back up to Yorkshire, having previously worked in sales and marketing for a sportswear company. He wanted to build his own agency in 2002 and since then has built it up for the past 21 years. I wanted to know Alexis’ tips for the industry, especially considering his experience and vast knowledge.
His key tip was to focus on customer service. Alexis explained that in a competitive industry, customer service sets you apart. This involves knowing your customers’ needs. Due to this industry being fast moving, Alexis would recommend staying on top of the changing trends and technology. His key to having a successful business is to support his team and ensure they enjoy their jobs, so they can produce the best possible work.
I was curious to see the type of projects Alexis has worked on throughout his established career, so I questioned him on some of his favourites. He shared that he has worked with major brands, all over Europe, yet some of his most satisfying work has come from building long term relationships with his clients, often bringing some weird and wonderful products and services with them. He shared that in this industry, no two days are ever the same, and this can be both challenging and immensely rewarding.
So overall my experience at Browndog has been hugely beneficial in developing and learning the key skills I need for my career. But also in discovering that I did in fact pick right with my industry, because I have really enjoyed my past week here and cannot wait to begin my own career.