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!

 

 

 

Merging

I think working for a plant business has given me a lot more insight into the real world than just expanding my public relations experience.

Maintaining relationships within a business is similar to how NPK maintains their plants – attention, care and a willingness to improve the situation. Although I understand this metaphor is a bit cliche, bear with me.

Small business means there’s no higher-higher up to fix the problems that are created at the “lower” level. There are also fewer opportunities to delegate tasks to employees when you only have 15 on staff. The past week has shown that working for and with a small business can be very exciting and inspiring, but it can also be very hard.

Within my position as PR intern, I have the opportunity to make decisions regarding social media and implement some ideas, but all in all I can not stray from what the owners of the company want – no matter how much I may want to push it. In regard to the analogy, this is where I’ve had to learn basic upkeep for business relationships.

All in all, working for a small business means that you have to be open to different and new ideas. You need to be flexible and understanding, but also know when to go forward with your gut ideas.

This strategy has to be used all throughout the company’s relationships, whether they are within or with clients. This past week especially highlighted the strengths and struggles of having a small business.

I attended a sales call for a new potential client with one of our owners Tuesday, who took the time and care to ensure a great quote was created for the customer just as a member of his team would. We then went to a wholesale flower market so he could personally pick up an orchid arrangement to send to a client for a grand opening they were hosting. From there, we went back to the office for a one on one meeting. There alone exhibits what it takes from a small business to execute care, attention and a willingness to improve.

The next day I assisted with the installation of one of the largest exterior designs that NPK has done to date. Two of the owners, along with two supervisors and three employees, were on site to ensure the day went according to plan. Because the original plan hadn’t been executed to the client’s standards, NPK took special care to ensure that this install would. I would have to think that knowledge would give any client the relief that their investment would be exactly as they envisioned it with the design team.

Each step within a business isn’t easy, especially when ideas or projections do not go to plan. But being able to keep your integrity and respect towards your employees and your clients will also put you at a position that no other company can touch.

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I enjoyed having the opportunity this week to be able to see this side of the company, because I think it’s important to highlight all parts. Along with all of the above, I was also able to get a lot of great pictures and work done for our social media as well as attend the rooftop bar grand opening for our account at the Loews Hotel.

The Loews Hotel had a BEAUTIFUL rooftop grand opening! Every part of it had my coworker Leah and me in awe. Along with the beautiful layout and the classiness of the whole party, there were acrobats and five different bands in different corners of the roof. Because I’m a huge music geek I had to stop and listen to each one and they were all great and from different genres and styles. It was a really exciting and interesting night to be a part of.

It’s so cool how each day leads me to new opportunities to explore all of the company I work for. Small business is the way to go for more hands on experience and I’m feeling lucky that I am having the summer to experience that.