Photo by: Nick Army ’07, Hart
Summer Experience: Parker Kern gets taste of agency life at Hart
BGSU senior gets real-world experience during internship at Toledo public relations and marketing agency
Photo by: Nick Army ’07, Hart
By Parker Kern
This past summer, I was very fortunate to intern at Hart Associates in downtown Toledo. Hart is a full-service public relations and marketing agency. The company is owned and operated by CEO Mike Hart ’83. Hart, which employs about 80 people who range from creative graphic designers to account executives, works with high-profile local and national clients such as ProMedica, Ohio Lottery and BGSU Athletics.
My day-to-day duties at Hart were widespread and numerous. I reported to Senior Account Executive Esther Fabian ’93, but also worked closely with the social media/marketing team, the video team and even received several individual assignments from the CEO. It’s safe to say that I was never idle at my desk.
I am a senior at Bowling Green State University, majoring in the multiplatform journalism program with an entrepreneurship minor. My duties for the account services team included a great deal of competitive research for clients. The primary job of account executives in an agency is to work in tandem with clients and the creative (video, graphics) teams, ensuring that the product is high quality and, ultimately, what the client desires. During my research, I learned that their clients’ competitors have various ways of marketing themselves to prospective customers. My task was to highlight these methods to be presented to our clients to show them how their competitors are marketing themselves.
My work with the social media/marketing team included managing and planning the company’s social media pages. I managed four major social platforms — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter — during my tenure. Writing for diverse audiences on the different platforms enhanced my writing skills overall and encouraged me to think outside the box when crafting social media posts. Social media is a major part of news consumption, and this trend will only increase as time goes on. As a result of this, I needed to learn how to get information to various audiences in an efficient and sound manner. This portion of my internship definitely strengthened my online writing abilities immensely.
Above: Parker Kern, a multiplatform journalsim major and entrepreneurship minor, interned this past summer at Hart Associates in Toledo. Top: Kern works with Matt Rubin, an assistant account executive at the public relations/marketing agency.
My individual assignments from Mr. Hart were to craft marketing plans for two of his personal acquaintances who have growing businesses — a restaurateur who wants his business to grow and a medical doctor whose goal was to make house call appointments with patients. As an entrepreneurship minor, these marketing plans tapped into my entrepreneurial skills, as I had to brainstorm ways to promote these two very different products to very different consumers. Mr. Hart had enough trust in me to assign these marketing plans to me, and I appreciated the challenge. After presenting the ideas to Mr. Hart and the entrepreneurs, I was very relieved that my ideas were well received. In fact, one of the companies hired me to manage their social media pages during this school year. I did not personally ask for this, but the owner of the business thought enough of my ideas and the work I did to hire me to work for him beyond my internship. The work I did was beneficial, but the connections I made were just as important.
I also went on multiple commercial video shoots with the video team, which allowed me to be very hands-on with the equipment and taught me the process of shooting a commercial as well as what equipment to use during the shoot. This helped me obtain a better understanding of shooting video, which is also extremely important as a multiplatform journalist. It was amazing to me — sometimes a five-second clip would take an hour to shoot. This proves every little detail matters.
My internship at Hart was a superior experience. I learned so much in what seemed like such a short time. Everyone I worked with was friendly, valued my opinion and taught me about the many aspects of agency life. I also learned a great deal about myself and my capabilities in a professional setting. I learned that being adaptable is important in this ever-evolving world of media.
This internship increased my skill sets as both a journalist and an entrepreneur. Also, the connections I made with Hart employees, their clients and others were vitally important. Showing what you know is important, but I learned who you know can also benefit you, both personally and professionally. I look forward to taking the things I learned at Hart with me and applying them in my senior year at BGSU and beyond as a professional.