My first day interning with Blenheim I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I’m sure that they didn’t know what to expect of me either. I’m from America, and I knew there were going to be some differences compared to what I am used to. Almost immediately, I begin to notice vast differences. I am being constantly asked if I am “alright,” adapting to proper English instead of “American English,” and there is always someone on holiday along with cake in the kitchen. Despite these cultural differences, I had to concentrate on what I was doing here. I came to London for eight weeks to be a Marketing intern with a charity called Blenheim, and to learn a little more about what I wanted in my career path.
Being in the field of Marketing and Communication, I am sometimes labelled the “bad guy.” I am in this field because I enjoy advertising and social media, but I don’t like that a lot of what this field does is sell people things that they probably don’t need. Why would I want to do that? I would much rather be the good guy! This question is what led me to an internship with Blenheim. Blenheim is a charity that cares about making London a better place and helping people find a new life. Blenheim offers services to people recovering from drugs and alcohol. This charity is so successful in their services that most of the people who have recovered thanks to Blenheim actually become future volunteers and employees. This stood out to me, because everyone with the company actually has a passion for the charity. This is the kind of place I would enjoy promoting.
Mostly every Communication course tells you that when learning how to sell a product, you must consider the clients and the audience you are trying to reach. In my case this summer, I had to learn what Blenheim seeks out, and what they are trying to sell. Once I figured this out, my job became much easier. Blenheim wants to reach as many people that need their services in order to generally help the community. Sounds simple, right? Surprisingly, no. Charity marketing is a little more complicated.
The problem with marketing for a charity is that there is little or no money to put forth. After extensive searching, Helen and I finally found a company willing to help launch our new website. While doing this research I found that even though promoting a charity might be easy on your conscience, it can be hard on your wallet. At one point while interning with Blenheim, I actually managed to go exploring and asking for donations to sponsor the Bexley Recovery Walk. It’s astonishing that asking for something as simple as donating a few water bottles can take a dozen business cards, handshakes and phone calls to get for free. Donations and free help can be hard to find, but it’s well worth the wait once you get there. Plus, of course you feel pretty good about it afterward.
All in all, being an American intern in London definitely had its ups and downs. I earned marketing experience that I wouldn’t have anywhere else. I am so honoured to have had this experience with co-workers who care about their community and where they work. Helping these people promote their company has been an opportunity like no other. It’s nice to know that in the world of marketing, you can sometimes end up being the good guy after all.
Kim Ring, Marketing and Communications Intern