My Leadership Major and NBC Experience: A Mirroring Reflection

In reflecting upon my internship, I can assert that it was educational in a number of ways. Much of what I learned had to do with marketing research and analysis. This means that I have learned largely about NBC products and how well they are perceived. This also means that I have learned far more about customer needs and wants, what constitutes a need or want, and what influences them to change. I have learned how to apply empathy to my work as a Marketer. Much of this is in alignment with my Personal Plan Paper. 

Before my internship I wrote that I wanted to improve my decision-making and analytical thinking skills. Both pertain to what it means to understand a customer, then make marketing decisions according to who the customer is, what they desire, and what they need. At NBC, my supervisor and Marketing team constantly checked that I was practicing empathy. In doing so, I analyzed NBC clients in terms of how they felt and what was problematic about the media in their lives. Then, my Marketing team would meet to decide what we could change about our products to make our clients’ lives better. This is where being empathetic becomes significant. Empathy is all about understanding another’s feelings and making efforts to improve those feelings. I was encouraged to practice this because marketing analysis is so crucial to the entertainment industry, but also because working emphatically for the consumer is a cultural goal at NBC. Next, I was adamant about wanting to improve my communication skills.

Communication is incredibly important in the entertainment and media industry both externally and internally. Externally, the company must be able to communicate effectively with its audiences in marketing their products and in listening to consumer needs. It is up to the company’s discretion to provide a platform by which there is a two-way communication path. In today’s world, this is done through social media platforms where customer feedback is immediate and in plain sight. 

Internally, the entertainment and media industry has layers of departments that all interconnect to produce the social media and television content. Particularly with such a vast company as NBCUniversal, there is a lot of mass content being created. Thus, the production process must be quantitative, but more importantly, qualitative. To reach, engage, and maintain customer relationships, the company must work to create impressive and influential material. The greatest content requires much planning, strategy, and communication. Ultimately, I was able to experience external and internal communication during my internship in the Marketing & Sales department. 

Marketing & Sales is slightly different than typical Marketing, or at least Marketing as I knew it before my internship at NBC. I assumed that I would be working creatively to produce material that would be sent out directly to the consumer. Rather, I worked to market NBC as an influential platform from which we could sell ad space to clients. My job was to prove that NBC could help market our clients well and guarantee them for future profit. Thus, I was working externally with the clients and, then, internally to actual create the effective material. This was largely rewarding as I learned all types of relationships and what types of communication are most appropriate in the particular circumstances. Lastly, as outlined in my Personal Contributions Paper, I learned how to communicate a collective goal.

As a Marketing & Sales Intern, I had to help to cultivate content that marketed our clients, but that were still in fair of NBC’s goals and objectives. This kind of dual message was sometimes challenging to accomplish when the client was vastly different from our own company, or when the audience we were trying to target differed from that of the client. But simultaneously, learning to work through these challenges is one of the most beneficial skill sets that I believe that I have been lucky to learn.

A lot of Marketing has to do with strategy. Marketing means coming up with unique techniques that unite and draw in an audience, then impress them enough to maintain their satisfaction and loyalty. Doing this for a single company is hard enough, but doing this for two is incredibly challenging. I will describe one project that my Marketing team helped to produce to better explain the concept of Marketing with a collective goal in mind. 

One of NBC’s clients is Kalahari Resorts, a newer waterpark resort chain based in the US. Kalahari came to NBC with hopes to market its opening and draw in an initial audience. We successfully communicated with Kalahri to comprise a plan that motivated them to go through with business with NBC. The hard part came next.

At this time, NBC was facing a decline in terms of its young adult audience. So, a client who could be successfully marketed for most any audience except young adults seemed risky. As with any waterpark, Kalahari seemed appealing mostly for children and adults who wanted to find ways to occupy their children. Even for grandparents, the spa and other accommodations were tempting. But for young adults who wanted nothing to do with screaming children or dirty, childish water rides, Kalahari might not have appeared all too welcoming. This is where my Marketing team came into play.

It became our job to comprise a plan that would market Kalahari to yield a success rate in alignment with their goal to reach 10,000 people, for example. However, the success of my Marketing team was also dependent on the success of NBC as an entertainment industry. This is because in media, the content you put out is reflective of your company. The content is played on your platform and is completely associated with you. We confronted the issue by not focusing on the things about Kalahari that wouldn’t appeal to the young adult, but the more subtle, appealing aspects of the resorts. For instance, the affordability is largely applicable to new workers who are still working to pay off debt. Further, Kalahari bars, spas, and restaurants are secluded from any kid areas. Ultimately, we created one campaign with two videos for the young adult and the classic family audiences. Obviously there was much depth to the actual creation and production of our Kalahari content, but this was the general thought process. 

In conclusion, everything that I learned during my internship was in alignment with NBC consumers. My acquired skills all have to do with what it means to be an attractive company to a particular audience and how to adapt to changing environments. Generally speaking, analytical thinking, decision making, communication, and following the guidelines of a collective goal or purpose played large roles in my Marketing & Sales position. Much of this is in accordance with the theories I learned in Leadership courses, prior to my internship.

Firstly, Leader-member Exchange Theory helped to prepare me for what I should look for in any business setting. In accordance with the theory, I was aware that the better the relationship, or the higher the respect, between a leader and a subordinate greatly affects the degree to which the subordinate does their work well. In other words, if the subordinate is respected and praised, they will likely put more effort towards their job. Therefore, I knew to look for well-established relationships between co-workers. I honestly found this immediately at NBC and was not confronted with a situation in which I had to deal with conflictual or threatening relationships. Instead, I was able to observe and evaluate whether or not the theory and its hypothesis proved true at NBC. During my time, I discovered that all workers cared for their individual positions and would stay past hours need be or offer their help even when it was not expected of them. However, I cannot be sure about the degree to which varying relationships affect different qualities of work because relationships were fairly level throughout the office. Next, the Social Identity Theory was one that I could apply to my internship experience.

The Social Identity Theory asserts that when an individual feels a strong sense of belonging to a group, they become more passionate about that group. In terms of NBC, if workers felt as if they were a member of an NBC family, they might put more effort towards their work because NBC’s success is reflective of their own. I recognized that this was always a point made by leaders during group meetings. All managers were constantly checking that the employees felt a sense of belonging. Because of my learning about this theory prior to the internship, I was confident as to knowing why the leaders were doing so. 

I was also able to relate this theory to NBC audiences. My supervisor constantly made it clear of the importance in making each separately grouped audience feel like their own family. That way, they would feel like a unifying force and gain passion for our products and brand as a whole. This was a consistent message throughout my internship. Knowing the theory beforehand helped me to understand the importance in creating such an environment for our audiences, so I knew to focus on this. 

My internship at NBC was incredibly educational. I had the opportunity to learn entirely new skills, to improve previously acquired ones, and to apply theories that I learned in my Leadership courses. The theories that I was able to apply were helpful because I felt prepared for the situations at hand. Further, I could discuss the truths and exceptions to these theories in a real, authentic setting. Leadership was definitely applicable to my internship experience and I was able to take so much more advantage of the opportunities provided to me, because of my Leadership major.