The recent economic downturn has turned a competitive industry into a recruiting nightmare, leaving students pining after a foot in the door. Work experience is certainly the key, but finding this much needed experience isn’t easy.
B-Hive is a competition where students in the creative sector can showcase their talent to the city’s biggest agencies such as McCann Erickson, Cogent Elliot, and COI along with many others. With a placement at one of these agencies at stake, the part-taker must develop a proposal tackling the objectives of a brief. The strongest proposals then present their ideas and strategies to the agencies and only handful of these are awarded placements.
The objectives of the brief were as follows:
- Increase Birmingham Mercer index rating by 5 places by the end of 2010
- Transport: Increase the usage of public transport, bicycles and car sharing for both commuters and day visitors
- Encourage the local business community to become more proactive with green initiatives and sustainability for example: Recycling, using local suppliers (reducing carbon miles) and instigating Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) schemes, etc
- Introduce and re-inform residents about green initiatives and greener living for example: recycling, energy usage and car emissions etc
- The target audience covers 1 million residents of Birmingham, plus the wider West Midlands area and the city’s business community, which consist of over 42,000 companies – both public and private sectors.
The Task was particularly difficult because of Birmingham’s diverse population. No single strategy could capture the many different interests and so I segmented the strategy into three strategies:
- ‘Scrappage Green’ for businesses and commuters
- ‘The Big Plant’ for schools and families; and
- Student Event. For example, turning broad street road lights green as one of the PR stunts.
I was initially awarded a two-week marketing placement at London Midland, but because I am a Law graduate, I felt that I would need additional experience in order to be a successful marketer. I decided to contact B-Hive judge, Kate Gregson (Head of Marketing at Brindleyplace) who then invited me to cover the role of Communications and Events Executive. While at Brindleyplace I was responsible for a series of important task and events and this equipped me with a wealth of experience that is truly ‘gold-dust’ amongst students within the sector.
The benefits of participating in B-Hive didn’t stop here. Not long after I finished my placements I received an e-mail from Big Cat Group, who were looking to recruit an intern for three months. It turned out that the B-Hive creator, Ollie Purdom, had forwarded my details and because of this I got offered a ‘Marketing Executive’ role at the Big Cat Group.