#MyCarletonSummer: Phoebe Smith

19 July 2017

How are Carls spending their summer? We chat with Phoebe Smith ’19, a Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS) major from Dallas, Texas to find out.

What are you doing this summer?

I’m interning at an architecture firm called Clayton & Little in Austin, Texas. However, I’m not actually doing architecture, but brand strategy. Many of the commercial projects that the firm works on need help with their branding before anything actually gets built, and Clayton & Little is also undergoing a rebrand, so my internship is all about branding!

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Why did you decide to do this? How did this opportunity present itself? 

My aunt owned a brand design firm, and she reached out to me in March because her client base was growing a lot and she needed help. She knew I worked for Media Relations at Carleton and eventually wanted to go into marketing. Clayton & Little was one of her firm’s clients. They hired her to their team as a brand strategist in April so that she could help with their rebrand and work with clients on branding before anything gets built. Since she had already hired me before she started working for them, they were nice enough to also let me intern for them.

Tell me about the position

It involves a lot of research and analysis—you have to know every single detail about a firm and its target audience as well as its competitors before any decisions can be made about logos, color palettes, typography, website, social media, or any other expressions of a brand. So far, I’ve spent most of my time working on Clayton & Little’s rebrand, and the work differs from day to day. For example, the firm doesn’t have a solid social media strategy in place right now, so last week I spent several days analyzing social media strategies of about 20 competitive architecture firms, and then helped brainstorm what would be a good strategy for Clayton & Little. I eventually had to put together a presentation of my research, recommendations for our strategy, and present it to the head of the company.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

The fact that I actually get to do meaningful work that will help a company move forward, and I’m learning so much! Also I love my coworkers—even though they’re mostly architects and at least 10 years older than me, they’re so nice and treat me like I’m their age.

How did Carleton make your summer possible? 

I didn’t get this internship through Carleton, but the past two years here have helped me realize that I definitely want to go into marketing/advertising in the future. I’ve met with a career advisor and I did one of those 30 minute career advice sessions with an alum who works in advertising, so that was helpful, as well.