The Life & Times of a DIFY Intern
By Nigel Eng
At the start of each summer break, it’s common for most students to begin their internship journey with the hopes of picking up critical real-life skills to further their career growth. Just like them, I decided to take on the role of a PR intern at DIFY with the intention to expand my knowledge of the industry beyond the lectures and seminars that I was attending as a second-year Marketing undergraduate at SUSS.
With no background in PR, this internship experience was eye-opening as I felt as if I was thrown into the deep end of the industry. As DIFY handles a variety of clients across the esports, Fintech, and tech landscape, the work that I was tasked to do piqued my interest, as I got to try my hand at different tasks within the three service pillars that the company is based on: Public Relations, Activations, and Digital Marketing.
As an avid gamer, I was most excited to work on the esports related accounts, which at that time, consisted of Our Tampines Hub and EMERGE Esports. These campaigns enable me to tap on my past experiences to contribute to my team’s efforts as they kickstarted community gaming tournaments and talent profiling efforts to amplify the nation’s esports industry.
Phase 2(HA) Strikes at the Intern
Just as I was about to begin my internship, announcements of a mini lockdown started streaming in. As much as I was excited to take a short break from academia to learn more about the workings of an integrated agency, it dawned upon me that most of their experience would be a virtual one and that I will not be interacting with my colleagues physically to acquire nuanced skills from them.
As someone who had no Public Relations background, and with some understanding of marketing, tasks assigned to me were given to match my vague understanding of PR. This is when I knew that my 2-month internship may be a steep uphill climb but a great opportunity for me to master the art of being an effective multi-tasking communicator.
The Art of Media (Google) Monitoring
Each morning, I started my day as an intern by conducting media monitoring searches on industry trends and our clients’ coverage. There were times when I would miss out on being able to correctly identify these articles but with clear guidance from my team, I was eventually able to pick up on crucial updates that provided our roster of clients with the right opportunities to profile them.
Despite this being considered a rite of passage by many PR veterans, I realised that this task widened my understanding of several industries I wasn’t necessarily familiar with, and gave me updated insights on how the teams would use this information to craft their campaigns.
As I weaved between various tasks, I eventually started joining in on client calls that gave me insights into how my colleagues interacted with each client, across different industries, with new strategies to strengthen campaigns. With each minutes that I took down to recap the discussions we had, I was able to pick up several skills during these meetings such as: the importance of professionalism when communicating with a client, how strategies can be tweaked to match a client’s needs and the current trends, and ways in which a client’s product or solutions can be appealed to appeal to their target audience.
Through these calls, I feel that such skills cannot be taught directly and can only be learnt through observation and action.
The Intern or the Saboteur
A task that can be daunting to interns would be liaising and pitching Press Releases to media titles. As I had no prior experience with pitching to media, I feared disseminating the wrong information and getting the company and the client in trouble. At the end of the 2-months, each email reply and media pitch that I drafted allowed me to gain more confidence in dealing with clients and journalists, which eased some pressure whenever I had to hit the send button of an email.
By the end of my internship, I realised that working alongside my colleagues and clients gave me the opportunity to expand my skill set that complements my current degree program in Marketing. Not only did working with DIFY broaden my horizons in the world of communications, but I also got to experience first-hand how the different pillars (PR, Digital Marketing & Activations) work well together to create holistic campaigns that aim to amplify the voice of brands.
So, would I consider taking up a role within the industry when I graduate? For now, I am open to the idea of this opportunity and hope that when the time comes I am no longer the young, bright-eyed intern I once was.
To future interns looking to join, do keep an open mind and look forward to experiencing many new things at DIFY!
(P.S. I heard that their upcoming new office space is gonna be great and you should look forward to that too!)