Turning Points

Although a lot has been accomplished during my internship with NPK,  I’m very excited to announce that the big project that I’ve been working towards is finally ready to be seen by the public!

Meet our NPK team here: meet the team blog

 

After gathering all 14 interviews, writing their biographies, taking their picture and trying to figure out WordPress web design, they are finally done! I’m most excited about this project because not only are we now implementing it into other future projects but that I was able to really take the time to learn about this business and those that work here. It’s nice to take my journalism background and be able to apply it within this internship.

Next, like I mentioned last week, comes the editing of the blog video on pruning and pinching. I’ve done lots of video edits over the years but I am definitely learning that trying to create a video that successfully exhibits a “how to” is a lot more difficult than I had originally thought! Every frame should exhibit a step in the process and, seeing as how we were in the middle of Chicago filming, it can be difficult to be sure you have each step down.

But – not to worry, because trial and error will end up making this video the tool that it should be! The content for the video is written and ready to roll out when the edits are finally completed and that will be very exciting.

I also learned how to create a successful job flyer this past week. We are hiring for two different positions here at NPK – one in sales and one as a service supervisor. I wanted to create two flyers that could be sent to various schools that were easy enough to read but could also capture students’ attention. Using InDesign, I created two flyers that exhibited pictures of NPK designs and gave a brief rundown of what the positions entailed.

flyer

 

Only a few more weeks left to go and we still have more projects to accomplish! But as excited as I am for those, I’m very happy with what has been achieved so far.

Height of Summer

Height of Summer = I AM BUSY.

I’m not one to complain about being busy, though, because that means progress is happening and big presentations are right around the corner.

This week was a wild goose chase of me finding out where every single employee was going to be. I became the most hated person at NPK – I wanted to take their picture and put it where everyone could see it. But, I am resilient, and I tracked every person down and got them to allow me at least a few shots of them while they posed during their work day.

What’s funny is that although a lot of employees put up a hard fight to get their picture taken by me, they seemed to enjoy it at the end. Probably just laughing at me trying to take decent looking headshots using my Galaxy. Which leads me to something I learned this week – you need to learn to work with what you have.

I obviously don’t have a great camera, top of the line photo editing software, etc because I’m a college student. I use my phone and pray for the best, I leech off of other people who did actually break down and buy Photoshop, and I just work with what’s in front of me. But when I was taking staff pictures, I wanted to be sure that they were great quality and reflected each individual. So, I worked with what I had – I played around with where we took the pictures in terms of lighting and backgrounds, different poses, and anything else I could think of.

The pictures turned out really nice! Now all that’s left to accomplish for my Meet the Team project is actually posting the biographies and pictures to our website. It’s amazing how easy you think a project will be and then realize you have a lot of little ideas to put into them along the way. The whole page will be done by the end of this week, which is a deadline stretch that had to happen. Thanks to Ryan, email marketing strategist and helper of all things WordPress, we decided that this is a project that I needed to be creative about and really like. After exploring the world of WordPress plug ins, I think I’ve finally found the one that’ll work best for NPK right now!

Now that the bio posts are wrapping up I’ve begun the NPK blog that I talked about in last week’s intern blog. Focusing on how to prune and pinch in your garden to create happy plants, Leah and I spent a day at a location in downtown Chicago shooting some footage and Broll for the upcoming blog post. Here’s a little tiny preview:

After a lot of networking this week to try and promote the NPK blog, I’m ready to take this on as the next big project with my internship. I’ve even networking with contacts that I have not personally met which is a brand new thing for me!

I’m so excited to show new things for next week – thank you for following along with me here at NPK!

Zen // Beale

This week has been crazy. Crazy crazy crazy crazy. So I’ve been going in between two different playlists to keep up. One is called Zen (I need it, ok) and the other is Beale (always vacay dreaming).

Zen has some really relaxed tracks on it, which is the whole point. I even have some Sigur Ros on there so you KNOW it’s a Zen playlist – they go between Icelandic to a language they made up. It’s intense.

Beale is a bluesy-southern rock feel. If you asked me my favorite genre, this would be it. I think part of the reason I love it so much is that it feels like home. I have tracks on here by bands from Mississippi and a singer out of Baton Rouge/New Orleans. Hearing some of these songs reminds me of walking around the French Quarter.

Here are my top five tracks from each playlist:

ZEN

1. Julep – Punch Brothers

2. Arsonist’s Lullaby – Hozier

3. Lead Me Home – Jamie N Commons

4. Smother – Daughter

5. Wild Ones – Bahari

spotify:user:1274600319:playlist:6n8Fyy5t0s0S5EoxQ8J2GF

 

BEALE

1. Honey, Leave the Light On – Kristin Diable

2. Violent Shiver – Benjamin Booker

3. Crazy Woman – Joseph LeMay

4. For the Man I’ve Known – JP Cooper

5. Like Rock & Roll and the Radio – Ray LaMontagne

spotify:user:1274600319:playlist:6LawdCbczeA6RqC3wzRunJ

In Motion

Today marks the halfway point of my internship – where did the time go?!

Projects and campaigns are in full swing now and moving fast!

The mini-bios for each employee at NPK will be posted by the end of this week along with their “headshot”. It’s exciting to see a project coming to a conclusion while multiple others are beginning. Coming up we will have newsletters and surveys for our clients, NPK related blog posts, more effective social media campaigns, potential NPK events, and more. There’s a lot to be done but seeing these campaigns come to fruition is giving them all new life.

I was able to network with different sides of the company this past week, which was really exciting and rewarding. I met with the marketing director at Rose Pest Solutions who is excited about NPK’s involvement in a showcase at her workplace to highlight Pollinator Awareness. The display sketches already look incredible and highly creative. The marketing director and I were able to discuss possibly linking our two companies and we decided on a collaborative blog post. We come from two different worlds, work wise, and it’ll be great to show a post on how potential clients can incorporate our two companies and have a great experience.

While I met with the Rose marketing director to discuss furthering each of our companies, I was also able to highlight a new client and her company. A new restaurant in Chicago had our sales and design representative, Leah, create a great botanical display for their space. Leah and I went by the restaurant last week for lunch and to see for ourselves how everything turned out. It looked gorgeous and the place was packed. I took the opportunity to live tweet our experience, using the trend #mybeleaf. Great plant design, wall art, and a line out the door led to a successful social media promotion. The owner was even up front to make our salads! You can see the live tweet here:

The networking not only left me with connections but also great tools and advice to use going forward. While we’re trying to find the right services for various projects at NPK, companies like Rose have been using them for years. Being able to hear an opinion on services I hadn’t heard of yet helped an incredible amount.

Last week I asked readers to vote for an NPK blog idea that they’d be interested in reading. I’ll be writing the winner the beginning of next week! If you haven’t had a chance to vote, you can do so below. Exciting things are coming for NPK in the upcoming weeks!

Lost and Found

I have progressed from the intern who knew nothing to the intern who now knows a little bit.

Well, that is to say that I went from the intern who knew nothing about Chicago to the one who now knows a little bit more about how to get around when out and about for the company.

I got lost. Like, pretty super lost. On foot. With a dead phone. And a handwritten map. In an area of the city where English is so obviously not the first language. That’s how lost I was.

What’s interesting though is that when you’re at a creative standstill, getting lost is sometimes the exact thing that you need to happen. I had been slightly creatively stunted in expanding ideas for NPK. It’s the worst when you have so many good ones that you think could yield phenomenal results, but then feel like they’re going nowhere. I needed to clear my head – what better way to do so than to get lost? I needed a change in my mindset – a clearing of the cloudiness that was inhibiting me.

After spending the day with Eric, one of NPK’s service technicians, I headed back to the office with a dead phone and the handwritten map Eric, luckily, was able to draw me so I could find my way via the train and short walk.

I was feeling stressed thinking of all the things I needed to figure out on my to do list. I was feeling very uncreative. I had finished all of the bios, I had begun to research surveys, I had blog ideas all over the place… but I didn’t feel any progress. And for all of my new campaign ideas, I felt like I didn’t even know where to start.

Then..

I got lost. Even with Eric’s map, I still managed to get confused and took the wrong path. I walked under the entrance for Chinatown, sure that I was near the office. Miles walked later and at the end of the Chinatown well… town –  I knew I had gone the wrong way. After some assistance from a helpful couple, I turned around and finally found the right path.

As I walked… and I walked… I noticed a lot around me. I started to clear my head about feeling in a rut about where my projects were going. I had to see that even when my projects aren’t fully formed, when I’m a little lost on where to take them, I need to recall what I’ve accomplished and be proud, then apply that to my current mindset. I needed to get outside and see that I have 20 blog ideas, immense potential for connections with a new marketing idea, and that the only way to get the projects off and running was to do just that – do them.

I’m pretty fortunate that I work in a small business where I’m able to hear feedback from just about everyone who is employed with the company. The ability to easily communicate ideas and have others tell you what they like/don’t like gives you such an advantage on what project to do next. I like that I know at any given time how my ideas are being received.

I have a whole new list of tasks to accomplish and current projects to keep up with, but after my time away I feel like I have found the way I want to progress. I got lost, yes, but if I stay on the direction I started with, I’ll get to where I want to go.

And you can help me, too! Take the poll below to help me on my new project: writing for the NPK website’s blog!