To better understand where our industry is headed, one first must understand the people who will one day lead it. So, I've asked Peppercom's crack corps of interns what makes them tick. Here's part one with Esther Cohen:
Cody: What were your views about life in a PR agency before you became an intern, and since? What's the biggest surprise?
Cohen: I had very little idea what life in a PR agency was like before coming to Peppercom. My views were framed by TV's Mad Men. While I didn't think I'd see poor treatment of women or constant alcohol consumption, I did expect a work setting where everyone was doing their own thing. Peppercom completely shattered those views … in a good way. The agency is one big team. The biggest surprise for me is the importance of teamwork. No one has one specific job, or one specific account. That's definitely not how it goes down at Sterling Cooper Draper Price.
Cody: What parts of your job do you like best?
Cohen: PR requires one to think on her feet and be extremely creative. How can you create or promote awareness for your client? How do you distinguish your client from its competitors? We're really forced to think outside the box daily. I'm very involved in doing research and take pride in answering the same question every day: What information can I come up that will add something new to the conversation with our client?
Cody: What parts of the job are a total drag?Cohen: It's somewhat frustrating that, unlike school projects, the job here never ends. Doing your job well means keeping your clients in the public's consciousness. There are no breaks. While it can be exhausting, it's also great. Accounts are more than just projects. Those who work on accounts become invested in them. They care about them. They want to succeed. And as intensive as that can be at times, it's also wonderful. It's a privilege to work in an environment where we genuinely care about our clients.
Steve Cody is cofounder and managing partner at Peppercom.