My name is Jack Williams and I am currently in my second year at the University of Sunderland studying a Public Relations degree. I managed to get this placement by speaking to Alistair, who is Head of Marketing at Divine, after a talk that he did at the university some months back. He then passed on the Charlotte’s details, who is Head of Communications and I pestered her enough to get this placement. So a big thank you to them both.
Firstly, it has been great to learn from people within the Public Relations industry and I believe I learnt a lot from them.
Divine’s use of Social Media was extremely interesting to look at especially after my module in the subject. It was very useful to see how a company entering the world of web 2.0 approached this and have recently developed in this area. The idea of not just talking to your audiences but actually engaging with your publics in a conversation was good to see after discussing this theoretically in class.
Looking at the actual brand of Divine was the thing that most appealed to me. As the topic of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) becomes ever present in mission statements and companies business objectives, so to does the need for ethical companies to point out that this is not a gimmick or PR stunt. The work at Divine and the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative has altered cocoa farmers lives and the lives of there families for the better. Looking at how a company is founded on the base of trust and ethics was fantastic. It tied in with the CIPR code of conduct, which I should abide by as a student member and also my Media Law and Ethics module.
Some of my favourite bits, in no particular order
1. I went to an Ethical fashion event on Wednesday with Rosanna after my mission into work. Although fashion is not a specific interest of mine, it was really interesting. I met a couple of designers (one of which has a range in Topshop) and enjoyed getting some insight into the ethical fashion industry.
2. I got to experience working for the charity Trading Visions and thought of an idea for a release which is being used. So I was extremely chuffed with that. And Tom was a pleasure to work with as well.
3. Meeting the staff. I did not feel nervous or intimidated at all. They were all great and I really enjoyed working with them.
4. The free chocolate, of course…
I previously carried out some work experience at an agency in the North West called Pelican PR, which I also really enjoyed. Working in-house at Divine has given me a different perspective into the world of Public Relations as you have to work on one brand rather than a handful. This was good because it allowed me to be more focused, especially as I still have fairly limited experience in comparison to someone who has been in the industry for years.
The biggest lesson of all for me was that I can really enjoy a job. Not to say that I haven’t enjoyed my previous jobs. I felt like although Divine is a business and there to make money, it did more than many other companies in the same sector to help improve the quality of peoples lives.