James Barnsley

The b-hive experience, in general, was incredibly valuable. Firstly, you’re working on a real life brief which was something I hadn’t done before. Not only this, but it gives you a platform in which to utilise the knowledge you’ve gained from university so far, as well as showcasing your creative ideas which is essential within marketing. Finally, it gives you a great chance to present to industry experts who can pinpoint strengths & weaknesses in your campaign to help your own future development.

Firstly do it! I think many students are put off entering b-hive because they already have too much work to do. However, for me, I don’t really think B-hive affected this. I still had plenty of time to complete my uni work alongside working on my b-hive project. I personally went into University a few hours before my lectures started to work on it for a few weeks. You’d be surprised how much you can get done by skipping a few lie ins!

I was delighted when I won a placement. I’ve had been applying for placements since the beginning of my second year, and had no success. I found a recurring trend amongst employers that many of them want prior marketing experience for even junior roles which is a difficult criteria to meet, especially for myself, as I’ve never had a job within the industry. To be awarded a placement through work you’ve done too is rewarding as it gave me the confidence that I had what it takes to do well within the industry.


Placement itself

I was awarded a 1-month placement that I started just after I’d finished my second year. This was with an integrated marketing agency called Cogent Elliot. They are one of the most successful integrated marketing agencies within the UK, that consist of different departments which work together across different stages of a wide range of projects depending on their needs. During this month I spent 3 weeks working on the client relationships department which is responsible for managing the day to day communications with clients. Meetings both at work, client offices, and partner agency locations, creating briefs to be worked on by creative, creating concept design work for clients are just some of the day to day tasks I was responsible for. I also spent a week on the social & PR department where I worked closely with clients and the media.

After my month had finished I was awarded a paid job right up until my third year of university commenced, which was fantastic! During my time at Cogent, I’ve worked on a number of clients including Arriva, The Nottingham Building Society, Bensons For Beds, Cycle Republic, Playmobil, Network Q, & more. They are all different clients and have lots of different projects in motion all the time, so no two days are ever the same, and you are always learning!

One project which I was heavily involved in was Arriva buses Student campaign 2017. Being a current student, the agency thought it would be good to for me to try and develop ideas to add to their very successful 2016 campaign. I developed a presentation to present to Arriva in their Derby headquarters, for new ideas for the campaign. One of the ideas I presented was a “student survival guide” which was a guide aimed at helping new students living away from home with tips and tricks to “survive” away from home, and how Arriva can help them in their everyday student life, whether it be getting to & from uni, going to meet friends, going to the laundrettes etc. They really liked the concept and decided to include it within their 2017 student campaign. The experience I’ve gained from managing this project from start to finish has been incredibly insightful, as well as giving me something to include in my portfolio to show future potential employers.

Overall I’ve had a fantastic 4 months at Cogent, & they’ve asked me to stay in touch for potential employment after I’ve graduated from university.