Student Blog- The last day

The last day in the office was nostalgic for me as I have enjoyed every day I spent at Volpa, with the different projects I was welcomed to take part in, various in-office tasks, and all the meetings and training sessions which have taught me so much. I have had the opportunity to apply the knowledge I have gained during my university course in a practical, real-world situation where my actions mattered and my suggestions were taken into account. It has been an amazing experience and when today came about I did not want it to end.

We had the regular Publicity Department Meeting today to review the progress of ongoing projects and improve on them by taking in suggestions from all team members – even if they are not the ones managing or working on that particular project. The main topics for discussion were product launches for both Aurora Spirit and Inveralmond Brewery as they are due in the next couple of weeks and they also overlap with the Easter holidays. This meant that a well-defined plan for both events (and confirmation from the team members of who can attend which event) was set in place in order to ensure the undoubtful success of the launches.

After lunch we had a Team Meeting as well where Tricia went through the new updates for the business and all the coming changes and important projects with which all of the team must become familiarised. I was fortunate to have my placement at such a time as I was privy to the old systems and organisation of the business and then I had the chance to see the improvements and changes made on them in order to optimise processes, minimise waste, and increase turnover – all the while maintaining the amazing Volpa business culture which makes work an enjoyable part of one’s day where you want to come back time and time again.

I continued working on the list of existing retailers for The Famous Grouse Experience to compile a database of their contact information. This has been a very time-consuming task but it was very rewarding as I felt entrusted with a high level of trust and responsibility which made me feel appreciated by the team. The team were extremely lovely and presented me with a good luck card as it was my last day and with a couple of gift cards to continue growing my book collection and to enjoy a little film treat.

Thank you everyone for the amazing experience which you have offered me and for making me feel welcome and a part of the Volpa family!

Student Blog- Influencers

Today was a really interesting day as I had the chance to take part in a CPD (Continual Personal Development) session organised by Linda and Ellis – as each member of the team is actively involved in the CPD programme by researching and presenting a certain relevant topic to the rest of the team. The topic for this session was online influencers – such as bloggers, vloggers or youtubers – the people who shape the opinions of their followers and the online community. We discussed what makes them influencers to begin with and what they can do for a company, such as creating a new channel which directly reaches the target market segment. Using online influencers is very useful as it online traffic is easy to monitor and receive statistics in regards to it, as well as analysing the reach and effectiveness of an online campaign (especially if said campaign has its own hashtag).

However, as useful as influencers might be one of the most important piece of advice is that before approaching any influencer one should do their research thoroughly and ensure that one deals with the whole process in a professional manner as, after all, they are professionals in what they do and should be treated as such. It is also important to keep in mind that there is a certain degree of risk associated with using influencers as one has no control over the message they deliver since the message they pass on will always be in their words. On the bright side, often an influencer will simply refuse to endorse a product or service if they do not like it rather than giving a negative review. Lastly, the end of the session stressed upon the importance transparency regarding any sponsored campaign and on that of stats when measuring influence (for example, followers can be bought and as such their numbers are not an accurate representation of the influence and popularity of a potential influencer).

Afterwards I had the chance of sitting in on another PR meeting where the focus was the launch of two new beer types and the relaunch of two old ones by the Innes & Gunn Inveralmond Brewery. The schedule for the launch was discussed and perfected while a balance between the actual launch and the fact that the brewery is also celebrating 20 years was discussed to ensure that one does not upstage the other. The event promises to be a spectacular sight and a testament to the proficiency of the Volpa team! And since we were on the topic of influencers earlier in the blog, the launch of Aurora Spirit’s Vodka, Gin, and Akvavit will see many opinion makers there, such as bloggers (connoisseurs in their fields) and acclaimed cocktail makers.

I spent the rest of my working day researching contact details for all Famous Grouse Experience’s wholesalers, four hours later having managed to go through 60 of the over 350 contacts on the list. This task promises to be a time-consuming one but at the same time quite rewarding as it gives this odd sense of accomplishment as one makes one’s way through it slowly but surely filling each row and column, making the spreadsheet look complete and professional. Just roughly 20 more hours of work to go and I should be done, although I am betting on the fact that by the time I get to number 100 I would have gotten the hang of it in such way that optimises the data input – fingers and toes crossed!

Student Blog: Spirits are high

The day started with another PR department meeting and I must say that I found this structure of weekly progress meetings which, although obviously serious and very relevant, have a relaxed and informal air to them (making one feel very comfortable to not only take part in the meeting but also speak their mind or present their project with confidence) to be very efficient. It not only ensures that all projects are on track and are being worked on each week but, also, it creates a sense of community and unity amongst colleagues. Furthermore, it allows for the opportunity of pooling individual resources from each team member for the benefit of each project, which leads to delivering a much more complex and well-rounded end-product than if there would be no interaction between team members.

Our main point of discussion was the launch of Glenturret’s 1987 whisky as the microsite (part of Glenturret’s global website) on which orders can be placed for this limited, vintage malt was going live later today. Susannah spent all day making sure the site was up and running, doing test purchases in order to ensure the site is easy to use by the customers and that the process is straightforward. There were some issues which came up early in the morning but by the time everything was due to go live, her and Tricia had solved them with a series of phone calls and some hands-on work. And while on the topic of alcohol, another project discussed was the upcoming launch of Aurora Spirit’s Vodka, Gin and Akvavit (made by the most northern distillery in the world which is found in Norway) taking place at the Malmaison in Edinburgh.

The second half of the day started with my digital training which I received from Megan, the Digital Marketing Assistant. She showed me all the figures and statistics used to measure online and social media presences, the reach of campaigns or posts, the amount of time people spend looking at a post and other such statistics. The fact that she used examples to explain each particular figure helped me very much to be able to cement the information she was giving me as seeing it displayed in the context of a business showed me their actual purpose. She went over different tools which help you obtain statistics, such as Raven which is a platform that provides social media stats and also supplies a monthly marketing report for each individual business/campaign, or Mail Chimp which allows one to distribute emails or newsletters quickly to a large audience. Two other very useful tools are which shows all mentions across the internet for a particular campaign, page or business, and a tool that enables one to find any relevant shareable content on a given topic. I found the training really interesting and very useful, both in the context of my task to manage the Kingsway Apartments social media accounts, and in the broader context of my future as now I feel much more confident in my ability to use, obtain, and interpret marketing information relating to social media/online stats.

The last part of the working day was dedicated to scheduling more posts for the two social media accounts, finding new relevant stories to share and putting in application my newly acquired knowledge, particularly when it came to finding said relevant stories or interpreting the stats provided by Hootsuite (since you can get stats there and I found it good practice tracking the posts I put up, trying to see what was most popular and then determining how can that be replicated).

Student Blog: The PRfect approach

Today one of my lecturers, Pat Sedakat, came to visit Volpa in order to see if I am doing well on my placement and if there are any issues that either Fraser or myself would like to address. It was a very informative and helpful talk because, after both Fraser and myself answered Pat’s question relating to the placement, she gave me some advice on the poster I must prepare as part of my assessment. She reiterated the programme for the poster presentation day and then stressed upon the importance of certain key points such as making sure there are no spelling mistakes in on the poster (as, apparently, such mistakes where a much more common occurrence than one would expect from university students). Another important piece of advice was making sure I include what I have learned and what new skills I have gained (or what already existing skills I have further developed) because of the placement programme, such as learning how to write a blog or developing my customer relation skills.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit in on another meeting of the PR department to discuss the progress of each individual ongoing project within the department. One of the main topics for discussion was the upcoming LEGOTM Exhibition in Perth, whose launch is on Wednesday (although some of the exhibits won’t be unveiled until Saturday). On this occasion, I have learned that the press will be more willing to cover a story during week days rather than during the weekend, and thus the Wednesday launch allows for a much greater coverage from local and national newspapers.

The last part of my day was spent being introduced to managing social media accounts on behalf of organisations, which is something that the team at Volpa does very well. Fraser showed me how to use a platform called Hootsuite which allows one to simultaneously manage several different social media accounts for various projects. It seems like a very interesting tool and we shall soon see if truly got the hang of it as I was entrusted with the task of managing the Facebook and Twitter accounts for Kingsway Apartments. I must schedule posts which highlight the features of the halls and their unique selling points but also related posts showing an engagement with the local community and an understanding of our target audience – no pressure 🙂 Fraser gave me access to Hootsuite and to the Dropbox files containing the photos and videos taken during the photo shoot from last week and now all that I am left to do is give it my best and hope all goes well.