I’m Walter Brynjolfson. During the summer of 2013, I was the marketing intern at Industrial Brand.
The journey that eventually brought me to this firm is an interesting one. As my fourth year at Trinity Western University came to a close in April, neither of my supposedly ideal summer jobs had panned out. I had grandiose aspirations to work as a border services officer at YVR or an inshore coast-guard patrolman in Halifax, but both fell through at the last minute. Instead I ended up in the recruitment pool at Enterprise rent-a-car. As illustrious as that sounds though, I wasn’t completely sold on working for a behemoth organization renting out cars all summer. Luckily my good friend, Kevin Harwood, tossed me a lifeline and informed me of a possible opening at his mentor’s company, so I sent in my resume.
20 minutes before my first shift at Enterprise I got an email from Mark Busse informing me of my acceptance. After a bit of last-minute hesitation, I traded in my polished Enterprise suit for a much preferred casual west-coast outfit, and bussed straight into Vancouver. I haven’t regretted that decision since.
Now I can fondly look back and see all the valuable things I learned and experiences I gained. Here are a few of them:
Talking to unknown, faceless voices.
As ridiculous as it may sound to older generations, I rarely used phones growing up, so I got nervous whenever the phone rang. Something about that that nearly inaudible, raspy, and electronic voice always threw me off. As time passed and I answered more calls at IB, I noticeably improved. I made several mistakes in the first couple months but I learned from them. Now, thanks to my time here I can say I’m capable of doing one of the most rudimentary business tasks. Something they don’t teach you in school.
Fishing for clients
Mark took me on a highly informative journey through the world of business development, lead generation, and online marketing automation. With his prompting, I administered, dabbled, and experimented with programs like Salesforce, data.com, and Act-On. I also learned all about buzzword concepts like lead generation, lead nurturing, marketing automation, inbound marketing, and much more. At times, it felt like Mark and I were fishing for clients, and it was extremely rewarding whenever we reeled one in. Great fun.
Writing… not academic writing though… but writing stuff that’s useful
I learned TONS while entrenched in my content marketing duties. Because of all the research that was needed I learned all about the latest marketing trends and social media tips, strategies, and tricks. I now know a great deal about the AEC industry, how Marketing is done for them, and much more. I also greatly improved my writing skills. I think I can safely say that my writing style has become less academic, and more fluid.
The brand essence
I worked alongside Ben and Matt as much as I could during the firm’s engagement with an architecture firm going through a renaming and identity design process. In the process I learned more practical information about Marketing than any semester as a business student could have taught me. It was fascinating to be a part of the researching, branding, and naming stages of a marketing firm’s engagement with a client.
I learned all about time management, planning, and dealing with other peoples’ packed schedules while working with them on a large project. I never really had any experience working in a for-profit setting where everyone has limited time, and where there are certain protocol to follow. I think I caused some frustration during the early stages of certain projects, when I dumped my work on people’s desks and expected them to accommodate me. Now I’m much better at working according to other people’s schedules.
The art of being a social media champion
I learned a ridiculous amount of valuable information about social media marketing. Not just from researching it, as I mentioned earlier, but also from hands on experience. I became very familiar with the different tools, and the capabilities they all offer. I feel like I know Hootsuite inside and out now.
Being a self-starter
Working with all these successful personalities, I got the itch to make a name for myself. With all the new knowledge I’d been acquiring, I started working on my own after-hours project. I developed a website, and set up a social media campaign. By dressing as Waldo and going to all the major events in Vancouver, I’ve been able to collect several photos through systematic searches in Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. I then regularly post these photos on on my whereswally.ca website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Industrial Brand has by far been my best summer job yet. It greatly outweighs all the others in terms of knowledge, experience, practical skills, and networks gained. It was fun to work here, and there are countless other benefits directly and indirectly incurred from it.
My thanks to the entire team at Industrial Brand: Mark Busse, Nikole Japuncic, Ben Garfinkel, Matt Samyciawood, Tyler Wilman, Allison Vail, Nicole Bonnie Retief, and Keltie Munro!