May 16, 2016

Charged! A Ventev Mobile intern’s tale

By Team Ventev Topic: Lifestyle

If you truly want to know what it is like to work at a certain company, you should really ask the person at the bottom of the organization.

For Team Ventev, that’s me — the intern.

As the Ventev marketing and sales intern for the last year, I have worked diligently at whatever task was handed to me. Thankfully for me, that did not include getting coffee and bagels.

So, what exactly is it like to work for #TeamVentev?

I think my internship experience can give some insight into the inner-workings of Ventev. And I’m going to do it in the way I was taught best — through C.O.P.E.S., the acronym for the essential five pillars of being a Ventev marketing intern.

Color Coordination

Color coordination is the staple of C.O.P.E.S., the embodiment of the mantra. You simply cannot C.O.P.E.S. unless you properly utilize your colors.

You see, C.O.P.E.S. was spawned by the Ventev marketing team’s habit of using different colored pens to take notes during meetings. The notes from the 9 a.m. meeting may be written in pink, for example, while the 10 a.m. is in green; then the post-meeting annotations written in the opposite colors. It’s a creative way to stay organized, to maximize efficiency while having fun.

The color coordination is not just about pens, however. It could also be, for example, socks. Little known fact: You cannot walk into the Ventev Mobile office suite without having a respectable sock game. Stripes, polka dots, plaid, colors (lots of colors) — the more the better! And yes, there may even be daily sock competitions (check the scoreboard, Brad!).

But not only is color coordination the meat and potatoes of C.O.P.E.S., it is also a symbol of what Ventev is. Yes, we do have a collection of wonderful cable colors so that you can coordinate your charging, but it is a perfect representation of the blend of work and play to which Team Ventev adheres.

You may be taking minutes in a meeting, but you’re taking them in hot pink or school bus yellow. And your socks are tangerine with teal polka dots. Insert fire emoji here.

Organization

We all have our shortcomings with organization. I’m still trying to find where I put my orientation papers from my first day. But organization is a lot more than just that file cabinet where you put your documents, or your three-ring binder.

Organization is a large-scale component that has the power to make things work or make things fail. It is a top to bottom honing of responsibility that, at a simplified level, ensures things are where they are supposed to be.

You may not know this, but Team Ventev is a small group. Give or take, there are only two dozen people at the core of the brand.

Team Ventev

Here’s what I believe: the size of a team does not matter. As long as you have people passionately working toward the ultimate goal, that goal will not only be accomplished, but it will be greatly exceeded.

My first day as an intern at Ventev, I was given a list of people to schedule 30-minute, one-on-one meetings with. The goal was for me to walk away with an understanding of what each person did to make Ventev work.

Two things became very clear to me as I went through these meetings: Every single person on the team cared deeply about the brand and their role in making it successful, and every person cared about each individual on the team.

That is what organization is to me. You could say that I am a fairly big baseball fan, so I like to think of organization as a Major League batting order. Everyone has their role in the lineup — the lead-off hitter is supposed to get on base, the clean-up hitter is supposed to drive the runs in, etc. — however, at the end of the ninth inning, the individual roles and responsibilities are futile if each player didn’t see themselves as part of a team.

You will see blog posts on The Charge by “Team Ventev,” see it on Twitter as #TeamVentev, and see me use it in this post.

Know that it is for a reason.

Planning

I really believe planning is futile. Yes, it’s nice to do, great to be prepared. However, most of the time, no matter how much planning you do, things just do not go your way.

I didn’t plan to intern here at Ventev, and I definitely didn’t plan to work in marketing. I entered college knowing exactly what I wanted to do: sports journalism. I had been writing (albeit poorly) sports stories and posting them online since I was in 7th grade. When I got into college, I started right in on my journalism degree and added an English major for good measure.

And, apparently, if you combine the two, you get marketing.

I once had the opportunity to hear the president and CEO of a retail store chain speak about how his career didn’t go quite as planned: from not going to college to owning a successful retail business. He told a parable that stuck with me, a story that shows it’s all about how you react and adjust to your circumstances, not how you plan for when things all go perfectly.

The story is about a strip mall that consisted of three stores. One morning the owner of the middle store arrived to open up shop, and he saw the store to his left had a new, big banner that read “LOWEST PRICES!” The middle-store owner paid no attention to it. The next day he arrived to again open his store, and the store to his right had a similar banner that read “LARGEST SELECTION!” The middle-store owner knew he had an issue — to his left is “LOWEST PRICES”; to the right, “LARGEST SELECTION.” Customers will skip right over his store to shop the lowest prices and browse through the largest selection.

The next day, the middle-store owner erected a banner of his own: “MAIN ENTRANCE.”

Expectations

What are your expectations of an internship? If you’re like most, it is built on a foundation of what you know about Andy Sachs in “The Devil Wears Prada” and your own personal experience: Starbucks runs, mailroom work, Starbucks again, filing, and then Starbucks one more time.

Make no mistake, the Devil does not charge with Ventev.

Remember, this is #TeamVentev, and since day one of my internship, I have been a part of the team, not the team’s mascoted mule hauling coffee.

I was included in decision-making meetings, given the opportunity to give my thoughts and opinions. I have been involved in naming products, wrote important copy, created emails that were sent to 20,000 powerful people.

And while my Ventev internship surely exceeded my expectations of an internship, I worked hard in hopes that I would exceed expectations of a journalism/English major in a marketing role.

I truly believe there is one surefire way to meet someone’s expectations of you, whether it is at work, in the classroom, or even in a relationship: work hard.

Ventev Marketing Team

Structure

It’s appropriate that C.O.P.E.S. ends with structure, because it is the exact thing I was looking for when I applied for this internship more than a year ago.

I wanted the experience of working in an office environment, something I had not had the opportunity to do previously. I wanted to learn the inner-workings of a brand as it takes a product from idea conception to creation then marketing/selling.

I have learned more than I expected from my year as a member of Team Ventev. I have also created relationships that I will carry throughout my career, and maybe even the rest of my life.

A lot of people say this, but trust me when I say I try to avoid using clichés unless they are undoubtedly true: I could not have asked to work with a better group of people than the two dozen that make up #TeamVentev.

Before I even started my first day at Ventev, I was given a homework assignment. I was to read the story of “A Message to Garcia.” The moral is simple: when given a task, don’t waste time making excuses as to why you can’t do it. Use that time to work hard at getting the job done, delivering that message.

The short read has clear implications in marketing, where getting out the message is the premier goal.

But it also has large-scale application. Everyone has a message to deliver in their life; everyone has to market themselves as if they are a product. What value do you add as a person? A worker? A friend?

I know what message I wanted to deliver during my time at Ventev, and I hope I was successful.

I want you to finish this by asking yourself what message you want to deliver to Garcia, and I sincerely hope you find him and deliver that message.

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