Wow. Well. What can I say? It’s been quite the week and there are 7 more still to go. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind, and I’m not even being clichéd when I say my feet have barely touched the ground. (Well, maybe a bit) I’m incredibly lucky to have been chosen as part of the final 15 for Livity Advantage who now make up our very own agency that will be dealing with real-life briefs and clients over the 8-week period, all the while learning the hows, whats, whens, wheres and whys of Digital Media from some of the best in the industry based around a series of Google-pioneered toolkits. Got that? Good. Bear with.
Day 1 we hit the ground running with ice-breaking induction exercises and an office treasure hunt all via a group Skype call to the office in Cape Town (well jel) but Chairman Sam Conniff found the time to come and congratulate us and give us his A-Z of making the most of our 8 weeks, which I've found to be a running theme within Livity; finding, or making time. Everyone in the office has been incredibly welcoming since the first interview all those days ago (about 10) and it honestly feels like we’re already part of the family, even down to the simple eating of lunch with everyone else at the table in the office, although Tom and I really need to work on our timing so we're not simply sat eating in front of a happily working office. #fail
Day 2 was our first visit to Google. Wow. Again. We’d all heard incredible things about Google’s St. Giles headquarters, (especially the food) but nothing could quite have prepared us as we were ushered in to the ‘canteen’ on the 9th floor surrounded by the wonderful roof terrace and essentially told to make ourselves at home. We were joined by UK Marketing Director James Elias who then very kindly gave us a tour of the offices (and graciously took the oohs, aahs and photo-taking in his stride) before talking to us about his 8 key things to remember in digital media and marketing. I realise I’ve managed to portray a somewhat casual attitude to the magnitude of that meeting, but that’s only because it’s quickly become apparent that I need to try and rationalise the fact that such incredible, knowledgeable people are willingly giving up their time to talk to us and help us and just focus on getting as much out of that time as possible; I’m getting there! From there it was back to the office in Brixton to meet Talia and Matt from Best of British Unsigned who gave us our first brief, listened to us ‘mind-map’ out loud and were generally just lovely, and open, and willing to share ideas.
Day 3 got off to a chilly start with the whole office temporarily locked out of the building, but then we were off to Engine to meet Global Client Managing Director and all-round infectiously enthusiastic and inspirational person Jonathan Akwue. I’ve already blogged about our time with him here but safe to say we all left with passion ignited ready to find the beauty in the remix.
Day 4 brought another visit to Google, but this time to the offices in Victoria to meet Anton Damianos for the first of our Google toolkits: social. The theme of the day was questioning our own definition of social and how we relate to social media while beginning to build the resources to harness its incredible power. We sat on giant beanbags, stuck post-it notes on the windows, and had pancakes from the canteen, but even more importantly than that (hard to believe; I know) we all started to look at social in a different light and thanks to Anton and the toolkit are well on the way to being able to fully yield the power of digital.
Day 5 we were back in the office and after a breathless handshake and introduction on my part (not sure I’ll ever get used to the 3 flights of stairs) we focussed on branded content, the importance of embracing and harnessing the power of social media, and a few examples of precisely what not to do, all under the skilful guidance of preditor Steve Lennon. (Not as ominous as it first sounds) Tasked with finding 50 imaginings for a humble chair, watching old men play basketball for Pepsi and pitching our own ideas for branded content (OXO cube in a ball pit anyone?) I think you can understand why I’ve been falling asleep circa 20:30 every night this week; not that I’m complaining! The final order of the day was to meet our mentors who we’ll be in contact with over the course of the 8 weeks, who have all been through a similar process aimed at graduates, called Google Squared, and are now real-life industry people with pearls of wisdom to impart. My mentor Louise, kindly and expertly matched by Emily from Livity, is lovely, and despite the situation feeling slightly like that of a refugee child being assigned a new home, we sat, drank tea and chatted, and I look forward to being able to go to her with questions over the coming weeks.
So, in a somewhat wordy nutshell, that was my first week.
I wanted to start writing things down, because as you can hopefully already gather, this is such an incredible thing to be a part of, and I feel like if I don’t write it down I may not be able to convey how ridiculously lucky I am to have been chosen, and hopefully it might give my own Mother a bit of an insight as to what I’ve left home to do, as by the time she asks me how my day’s been I’m all sorts of exhausted, overwhelmed and elated and thus so borderline incomprehensible, that I fear she thinks I might be making it all up. I’m not sure how well the ‘paragraph-a-day’ set-up works (feedback appreciated!) but hopefully it works for now and will develop as the weeks continue, much like me. (cheese)
So that’s about it for now. This is my life for the next 8 weeks and hopefully beyond, so please, sit down, strap in and join me. But most importantly, as I most certainly will: enjoy the ride.