An Interns Perspective of &Barr
After almost a year of being a part of Elevate Agency, a student-run agency at the University of Florida, I believed I had a solid understanding of what to expect when starting my internship at &Barr. I mean, both are advertising agencies, right? However, my time at &Barr has exceeded all my expectations. It has provided me with invaluable insights and experiences that I am eager to apply within my leadership role in Elevate to enhance our approach in the future.
At Elevate, we collaborate with various clients, mainly local businesses, allowing us to make a meaningful impact on our community. At the same time, our members develop essential advertising skills like account and project management, copywriting, art direction, and strategy.
With my background from Elevate, I felt ready to take on a new challenge by working at a professional agency. So I sought out an internship at &Barr, one of Florida’s top advertising agencies and was fortunate enough to join their Account Services team for a summer internship. Although I’ve noticed Elevate and &Barr have much in common, I want to highlight several important distinctions.
&Barr is the oldest, largest, independent agency in Florida. With this comes an established approach that has been proven and refined over their 65 years in operation. Meanwhile, Elevate began in 2018, and due to students graduating, we are constantly evolving and innovating as an agency. While this approach allows us to constantly bring in fresh perspectives and new approaches to advertising problems, it also presents some challenges.
The ever-changing nature of our Elevate team makes it difficult for the agency to implement common practices across departments. In contrast, &Barr’s well-established approach fosters great consistency and cohesion across teams. This was evident in the Account Service department, where a clearly defined approach governs client interactions, project management, and collaboration with other departments. At &Barr, I have written media briefs, tasked jobs in project management tools, and drafted and sent emails for internal teams and external clients. These practices are all pieces of an advanced system to streamline communication and collaboration.
The company culture at &Barr is another distinction from Elevate. At Elevate, we build strong connections within our specific teams. However, we spend significantly less time with our other co-workers. This limits the fluidity of our workflow and our sense of camaraderie. &Barr provides a glowing example of seamless teamwork as its members are familiar faces who never skip a beat. I hope to take a note from &Barr’s book and focus on curating culture by implementing more social events into Elevate’s calendar from now on.
A highlight from my experience has been the extensive mentorship and professional development opportunities from seasoned advertising experts. As an intern, I have shadowed and received guidance from knowledgeable professionals across several disciplines including New Business, Media, and Creative. This nurturing atmosphere at &Barr, combined with resume workshops and feedback sessions, fostered my growth and provided me with a better grasp on the industry and the disciplines within. At Elevate, mentorship comes from peers and faculty advisors, providing different yet equally valuable guidance that encourages us to take initiative, try new things, and lead with autonomy.
My experience interning at &Barr has been an eye-opening and enriching journey that complements my time at Elevate Agency. Both environments have their advantages and have contributed to my growth as an advertising professional. &Barr’s structured approach, exposure to larger clients, and comprehensive mentorship provided a solid foundation in the industry. Elevate’s dynamic, student-led setting nurtured creativity and allowed me to get my feet wet while making an impact within the community.
With the diverse experiences and valuable skills I’ve acquired at &Barr, I feel prepared to fuel Elevate’s journey to new heights. I am eager to implement some of the key attributes that have made &Barr so successful. Specifically, I aim to enhance internal and external communication channels, foster an environment that connects the entire organization, and provide more opportunities for professional development. My goal is to build on the existing strengths that make Elevate an exceptional organization for UF students while incorporating valuable lessons from my time at &Barr. As I embark on my senior year, I will do my best to make significant improvements to Elevate and continue my personal and professional growth along the way.
Learn more about &Barr’s internship opportunities and apply to one today, HERE.