A Day in the Life of a Fishburn Hedges Trainee Consultant
7:00 am: Wake up and turn on BBC Breakfast. One of my career highlights so far has been seeing a client interviewed live in the studio by Declan Curry while eating my cereal, having launched the story to the media the previous day. It’s great to see the fruits of your labour after weeks of planning, drafting media materials and briefing journalists. Get dressed – smart today as I have a client meeting, but the jeans come out on dress-down Fridays. It’s the last week of the month so there’ll be drinks in our local watering hole after our company-wide get together on Friday evening – but there’s plenty to do for the rest of the week before that!
8.00 am: Walk to the station and catch the train to Waterloo, spying a few other FH-ers along the way. Grab a coffee from one of the multitude of cafes on Kingsway before arriving at the office.
8.30 am: After quickly updating my pod-mates (the three other people I sit with) on my weekend, I look through the papers to see if there’s been any further pick-up of a story we put out last week for Digital UK and to see what other news might affect my clients. One of the great things about FH is that we don’t sit in teams, so as well as being a good source of gossip and banter, your pod-mates can offer you a real insight into other accounts and practice areas. There’s also a big desk move every year or so to keep us all on our toes!
9.00 am: I spot a piece in the Guardian on digital switchover, so we scan it in and I email it over to the client with suggestions as to how they might respond. Digital UK is one of five clients for me at the moment. The others are BT, ConstructionSkills, The Conference Board and the EMI Music Sound Foundation. At FH, you don’t have to specialise in any particular sector or practice area unless you really want to, so you can keep on developing a really broad portfolio throughout
your career here.
9.30 am: While rifling through the papers, I notice that The Times is running a special supplement on music education in a few weeks’ time. I make a note to call the Education Editor later to see if they’d like to speak to one of our EMI case studies. Phone a couple of students who’ve received awards from the Music Sound Foundation to see if they’re available for interview before I promise anything to the paper.
10.00 am: Quick BT team catch-up. We’ve just found out that our campaign to launch Tom Baker as BT’s voice of landline texts has been short-listed for a PR Week award. We’re all really excited and run through a few ideas for how we could capitalise on the success of the story over the next few months.
11.00 am: Call the Economics Editor at the Financial Times to brief him on the launch of a Conference Board report later in the week – we’re offering it to the FT as an exclusive as they’re a key target publication for this particular client. We’ll distribute the press release to a wider list of journalists and brief them once the FT has confirmed interest and published the news. Speaking to journalists can be quite daunting at first, but you soon become accustomed to bringing out the best bits of a story and mangaging each journalist on why it is of interest for their particular readers.
12.30 pm: Lunch with my ‘buddy’, Paul, who joined FH last month as part of our latest intake of trainee consultants. As well as buddies, who are there to update you on the gossip and answer the silly questions you can’t bear to ask anyone else, everyone also has a PM (Personal Manager). My PM is Sarah, who was a trainee herself seven years ago. We catch up once a month to talk about how things are going on all my teams and she’s also responsible for carrying out a more formal performance review every year.
2.00 pm: Meet the rest of the Digital UK team downstairs and we hop into a cab to our monthly status meeting. The main focus of the meeting is to discuss ideas to support the launch of Digital UK’s ad campaign in the Granada region. I update everyone on the progress of a series of meetings we’re arranging with women’s consumer magazines to brief them on digital switchover.
3.30 pm: Get back to the office and catch up on emails before heading down to our sister agency, 77PR, for a ConstructionSkills brainstorm. Brainstorms happen regularly when teams are planning new activity and there’s a selection of people there from across the agency, as well as a fair amount of sugary treats to get the creative juices flowing. It seems to work as, by the end of the session, we have a couple of really good ideas which we’re going to work up and present
to the client next week.
4.30 pm: Get a voicemail message from my BT client asking us if we can arrange media training for some senior managers. They’re launching a new product soon and need to be sure that their spokespeople are well prepared to speak to the media about it. The media trainers we use are great, and it’s fascinating to work with them to prepare clients for some potentially gruelling media interviews.
5.00 pm: Start work on a few bits of writing – planning for an article about careers in construction for a student magazine and a press release for BT. I phone a few colleagues to canvass ideas for a catchy headline and eventually decide on a good pun which sums up the story well.
6.00 pm: Finish a first draft of the release and email it around the rest of the team so they can feed in their thoughts. It will go one of two ways – either they’ll love it and I will feel very proud of my creative endeavours, or there will be lots of good suggestions for improving it, which is great for helping me in the learning process.
6.15 pm: Plan to go to the gym but a few people are going for an after-work drink and it doesn’t take much persuading for me to join them! Quickly check tomorrow’s diary before logging off and leaving the office.