The Kinetic way – a Shorthouse review

Dan Shorthouse joins Kinetic for two weeks worth of experience

Dan Shorthouse joins Kinetic for two weeks experience. 

‘Knowing me, knowing you, there is nothing we can do’ sung four very trim Swedes in 1977.

This was subsequently covered by four, unbelievably happy, beaming women in the Jewellery Quarter on a crisp Monday in June. I’m not quite sure how or why, but this felt like the perfect welcoming to two weeks worth of work experience in an industry, I was completely mystified about.

Having only finished university two weeks prior, PR to me was still suited and booted men drinking whisky in New York City that I’d watched in Mad Men. This broke up three years of Shakespeare, Milton and Blake and sounded like a mystical, if unlikely, prospect.

From the moment the Kinetic door opened to 3 Tenby Street, I was part of the family. Work experience is a concept that many are sceptical about. “Will it give you a true feel for the industry? Won’t you get bored of making cups of tea?” But no. A real warm feel greeted me as I entered the office and continued throughout the two weeks. The first cup of tea I received was wonderful as a point of reference!

PR is all about communication, trust and chemistry. The tight knit team at Kinetic really knows their clients, their aims and their goals inside out and real strive to provide the best possible experience, not only for clients, but for me too – a tall, Black Country Lad from Wolves. Luckily, my accent behaved itself and was kept to a minimum, especially during key sell-ins. Bostin’ wor it!!

Kinetic certainly keep you on your toes. The rigorousness of their procedures ensures a top quality service every single time; it’s almost unbelievable the attention to detail that the team here endure to achieve. Kinetic would endlessly repaint the Sistine Chapel where possible. Bring it on Michaelangelo, where’s your media release? Media list? Project review? Thought not!

Working here is fun. It’s incredibly busy, but brilliantly challenging. It’s almost like a marathon, run very quickly, with analysis of every turn and every street ticking by in your mind. Strategy is vital. Like my heroes Dave Brailsford and Bradley Wiggins at Team Sky, the “belief that if you improved every area by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement”.[1]

The drafting process is much like this. It’s small tweaks that add up to one major improvement and an unbelievably satisfied feeling that rivals completing the Sunday crossword in the allotted time slot.

A company that sticks to its values are vital and wonderful to see, especially following FIFA’s recent incident which has crushed their respectability. Kinetic’s VMV’s are the chocolate that runs through the Madeira cake that is 3 Tenby Street. It runs right through the business and interlocks with everything Kinetic strives towards; rigorousness, challenging, moral, pioneering and most of all, fun!

I was proud to be a part of that and was made part of the family, if only for two weeks.

Diary full of the day’s deeds, I left fully satisfied that I’d seen the true side of the PR industry. A fast-paced, quick-moving workplace which still finds time to conjure creative ways to promote and push client exposure. PR is definitely about communication; internal, external and on the web. Anywhere, everywhere and everything is all about your image, your face to the rest of the world. Every moment is a time to make an impression.

 

[1] http://jamesclear.com/marginal-gains

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The Kinetic Experience

Dom.01

Caption: Dominic Walker joins Kinetic for two weeks work experience

When walking into an interview and the interviewer asks me, “what can you bring to our organisation?” I feel like I could say a lot more than just another typical answer. During my time at Kinetic, I’ve recognised the importance of interaction. PR is all about trying to master the art of communication and direct conversation. Working within an agency like Kinetic has been a great experience, with great people and a great atmosphere – I really felt very welcome.

During my first commute to the office I was constantly thinking about how I should come across to the rest of the Kinetic team. Excited. Happy. Nervous. Shy?  When I eventually arrived at the office, I was surprised at how tightly-knit the Kinetic team are. They instantly made me feel at home offering me tea and coffee – of which I’m still yet to accept- but the bran cake was beautiful.

The Kinetic internship has been a wonderful experience. I’m grateful that I wasn’t just flung into the kitchen having to make tea or coffee, which was the case for so many of my friends during their internships. It wasn’t long after I got comfortable at my desk that I was given a list of tasks to complete during my placement.

One of the most memorable moments during my two weeks was when Angela spoke to me about the importance of Kinetic’s VMV. These sum up the backbone of Kinetic. If the team are at a loss of what to do Angela makes it clear – the VMV is Kinetic’s way forward.

Kinetic has a diverse range of clients and one of the reasons it’s so successful is because of its ethos. I’ve learnt to value the importance of direction in PR, having a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve is no doubt one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken from my two weeks here.

My advice to any graduate/undergraduate starting an internship would be to accept any challenge and be eager. You get what you put in and the good thing about PR is that your results mirror the amount of effort you put in. Kinetic is definitely committed to producing reputations you can trust. The people within the team are genuine – they gave me the opportunity to learn and grow.

Undergraduate takes on PR placement

English Literature and History of Art student Lucy undertakes a two week placement

As a student going into third year, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I never have a solid answer for when somebody asks me what I want to do when I leave University. What I do know though is that I want to pursue a career that lets me engage with all kinds of people, with something new and different to do every day. PR is an industry that certainly allows that.

Having never done anything PR related before, I was unsure as to how I would take to it and walking towards the company on Monday morning, my feelings were mixed. I was excited and nervous all at once. These nerves vanished as soon as I walked through the Kinetic front door. As soon as I arrived, everyone made me feel so welcome –  I remember Angela even offering me a crumpet! With a cup of tea promptly in hand, I very quickly felt right at home in the friendly Kinetic environment.

In only two weeks, I feel as though I have learnt so much about PR. What was so great is that I wasn’t just sent out on errands all the time, I was actually given responsibilities and work to do that they could use. It made me feel fully immersed in the company as well as making me endeavor to do the work well that I was set. I was able to get a feel for many aspects of PR with a wide range of tasks, including writing press releases and case studies, making media lists, media calendars and forward features lists, besides much more. This was all new to me and it was a brilliant experience to see what life in the PR world could be like.

Many people will only do what they are comfortable doing and for me, this placement has forced me to take a leap of faith out of my comfort zone. Some would probably describe me as a creature of habit, but I know that in the real world I’m going to have to learn to cope with new and challenging situations. That’s life.

As a student studying English Literature and History of Art, writing is when I feel most comfortable, but I’ve got a confession to make. When I first arrived at Kinetic I had a major phone phobia! On my second day I was thrown in the deep end and although initially very daunting, by the end of the second week my confidence had grown and I was able to do sell-ins. That’s exactly what a work placement is for and I’ll forever be in Kinetic’s debt for helping me get over that phobia – thanks guys!

My advice to anyone thinking of doing work experience at a PR company is to embrace it and lap up the challenge. You only get a few chances to experience a working environment before being thrown into it and work experience is invaluable in helping you gain the much needed qualities that all employers want to see.

It’s only been a short amount of time, but I already know that I will miss the whole Kinetic team.  After this experience I definitely have a more solid answer for when people ask me what I want to do when I head into the world of ‘jobs’ after I (hopefully!) graduate from the University of Birmingham, next year.  Pursuing a career in PR is definitely for me and this placement was the first step in the right direction to help me reach this goal.

Journalism undergraduate gets first taste of PR

New Picture

As cliché as it may sound – my two week placement at Kinetic genuinely has flown by! It feels like only yesterday I was walking around the Jewellery Quarter with Google Maps out on my phone trying to navigate my way to the office, meanwhile my stomach doing somersaults due to a combination of nerves and excitement.

Firstly – it has been an amazingly brilliant two weeks, and for every reason you can think of. Above everything else, you want to be able to feel comfortable and welcomed, and Kinetic staff made me feel part of the team within the first couple of hours. They also know how to make a good cuppa, so that was an added bonus!

Joking aside, it was a brilliant experience and I learnt much more than I expected to in such a short space of time. I had a taste of all different aspects of PR, from writing press releases and drawing up social media calendars all the way down to ringing up local and national newspapers and posting leaflets! There was always work to be done, and constantly have bits and pieces to be getting on with is exactly what you want when you go on placement.

I learnt a lot not only about PR, but as a writer as well. Constant advice and feedback was given to me during my time at Kinetic – something I definitely couldn’t have expected beforehand. Going into my third and final year of studying Print Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, it was extremely helpful to have the opportunity to sit down one-to-one with a member of the team, in my case Lina, and discuss the work I had been doing. It gave me the chance to see what was good and where I could improve, as well as gain stylistic advice from a fellow journalism graduate.

For me there were two main things that made the placement what it was. First of all was the challenge of the work. “Once the mind has been stretched, it rarely returns to its original state.” I might be paraphrasing a little, but I heard these wise words from Angela on a few occasions during my time spent there.

Kinetic has a diverse range of clients that specialise in everything, from modular buildings to garden and horticulture products. Getting your head around the different businesses at first can be a bit tricky, but I actually found it an enjoyable challenge and a good test for me to be writing about something I previously did not know much about.

The second was the chemistry of the Kinetic team. The office always had a friendly and positive vibe to it, even when deadlines were looming. Everyone was approachable throughout the two weeks and a pleasure to be around.

My advice for undergraduates who are also considering working towards a career in PR is to go into your placement with an enthusiastic attitude and a willingness to do whatever work you are set. Some parts may not be the most exciting thing you’ve ever done, but by persevering you will demonstrate the important qualities that employers are looking for. By embracing your placement and being positive you will get the most out of your experience, wherever you choose to go!

When the teacher learns from the students – by Aimee Postle

Aimee Postle, Kinetic Communications

Aimee Postle

One of the most important things to do as an employer is to support the dreams and aspirations of those looking to break into your career.  That’s why Kinetic Communications offers a number of work experience placements throughout the year (you can read about some of our interns in past blog posts) as well as guest lecturing with universities in the region.

Simon has recently worked with groups at Wolverhampton University on how to get into PR and digital media in the real world.  He’s also been invited to contribute to conferences on Social Media 2.0 at Birmingham City University.  Likewise, Angela has worked with both universities and I’ve spoken with groups at Birmingham City University on a number of occasions.  We’ve also supported the Old Swinford Hospital School Enterprise Day for the last three years and have sponsored a PR prize at Wolverhampton University.  Finally, Simon has just been filmed for Striding Out on getting into a career in PR!

So, where is all this leading…?

It is all very well giving time for free and feeling smug about yourself for ticking the corporate social responsibility box.  But, have you really been listening, engaging and getting the most from the experience?  It is not just the student who is there to learn.

A lot of organisations treat their CSR policy as something to get out of the way, fill the annual report with pretty pictures and make themselves feel good.  But, a policy which has been thought out for the benefit of the team getting involved as well as the recipient is one which will reap greater rewards in the long-term.

That’s what Birmingham Future is trying to achieve in partnership with bvsc and Thrive – ‘become richer work for nothing‘.  The idea behind this campaign is that individuals and organisations can benefit from their CSR activities by developing personal and professional skills as business advisors, mentors, directors or trustees.  Not just about the end recipient but the learning which is done along the journey.

When we work with PR students, universities, work experience candidates – we are not looking for a finished article.  We are not looking for a photo in the local paper.  And, we are not looking for a feeling of smug satisfaction and then moving on.

We want to hear the voices of the people who will be the future generation of PR professionals, we want to listen, engage and learn from them.  And, we want to help their journey into PR become that little bit smoother by providing them with the extent of our experience and knowledge.

Yesterday’s trip to Birmingham City University was a prime example – a two hour session with just under 40 PR, marketing and business students.  I whisked them through a client case study, digital media in the real world and how to get a job in PR.  But, really, it was about listening to their concerns, answering their questions and learning from their approach.  And hopefully I didn’t bore them too much!

Confessions of an Intern by Stefan Colligan

Stefan Colligan, Kinetic Communications intern

Stefan Colligan, Kinetic Communications intern

I am entering into my final week as an intern at Kinetic Communications Ltd and must say it has proven to be the perfect introduction to the world of Public Relations.

The Kinetic team prides itself on a trusted formula:

Energy + Commitment = Guaranteed Results.

The team works tirelessly for itself, each other, and most significantly, its clients.  The commitment to upholding the principled mantra was foudroyant from day one; thrust into the team’s Jewellery Quarter office I was given a sense of direction and immersed into an atmosphere where I felt trusted, valued and acknowledged.

Whether it was business research, writing press releases and business blogs, liaising with clients, phoning the media, meeting journalists or taking part in creative idea sessions, the Kinetic team involved me in every aspect of its work and provided a substantial and much appreciated learning experience about the world of business communications.

At the embryonic stage of a career in PR there are a few caveats and lessons that must be carefully considered to make sure you achieve the most out of your work experience:

Be yourself: you are who you are – false pretences will get found out and you’ll regret acting artificially. Over time, your employer will have to trust and rely on the integrity of your character – so it’s imperative, for the benefit of both you and those you work with, to sustain an honest disposition

Be inquisitive: with a zetetic nature you will find that it’s not just the weighty and important bits of information that you digest, but the subtle, pin drops of knowledge that others may be too afraid to find out.  By asking questions I found that those around me were willing to impart their wisdom which, not only helped suppress those unnerving feelings we all get in unfamiliar surroundings, but increased my understanding of the role I needed to play.

Always be accountable for your actions: being committed to the task in hand and concentrating whole heartedly on the job will reap its rewards. Don’t hide and eschew work opportunities – what’s the point of cowering in the corner and hiding from responsibility when you only have a small amount of time to gain much needed, invaluable experience.

And of course, perhaps most importantly of all, wherever your work experience takes you, make sure you know your Earl Grey from your Nescafe Pure Blend.

“Tea or Coffee?” asks the work experience girl!!! by Maddie Carroll

I left Birmingham University last summer with a 2: 1 Honours Degree in Media, Culture and Society, wide eyed and keen to enter the world of public relations. I soon realised what a competitive industry it was and that I would need to gather more direct experience rather than academic. In this recession, work experience is invaluable. It is imperative if you want your CV to stand out. To do this you have to have a good support network and economic stability, however not everyone has the opportunity.

I have undertaken work experience for the past month at Kinetic and I have really enjoyed working there. This is my fourth work experience placement. The first few days were spent getting to know the staff, their client base and the procedures and policies. The well thought out schedule that Aimee put together for me helped me make the most of my time at the company. I felt part of the Kinetic Team, as I was involved in writing and researching, meeting clients, not just making tea and coffee! (regardless of the title of my blog!). I have enjoyed the communal lunches and light hearted discussions about life. The closeness of the company members was refreshing to me and I felt very welcome there.

This is my last week at Kinetic. My work experience has fulfilled my need to know more about the PR environment. The experience and knowledge I have gained will help me in my search to find a career in PR.