This summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime: to work in a brand management role at Unilever. More specifically, I worked on a large personal care brand where I uncovered consumer insights and tied those insights together for product innovation. My past experience in marketing was primarily focused on in-store promotions, packaging design and product management – so this was really a great opportunity to gain new experience.
On the first day of my internship, sitting in a room with over a hundred other interns, I quickly realized that we were all equally nervous and excited. Would we be able to apply all our new-found knowledge in such a short period of time?
During the first few weeks, my time was spent reading research reports, past projects, consumer surveys and meeting co-workers I would come to count on throughout the summer. (Of course, the summer intern class also scheduled after-work happy hours to get to know one another in a more relaxed setting.) The second half of the summer was spent focusing on how to apply my key findings and new learnings towards creating an innovative product that remains true to the brand and its target consumer.
Throughout the course of the ten-week internship, I held a brainstorming session, understood unmet consumer needs, crafted consumer insights, wrote product concept statements, conducted concept validation, analyzed sales potential, developed a trade sell-in story and conducted a brief environmental analysis. Phew! Words cannot express the sense of accomplishment I felt when I walked out of the final presentation where I presented my findings and recommendation to a room of executives from all areas of the company.
And now, just a few weeks later, I’m back in Iowa City ready to take on my second year. I’ve gained both experience and confidence and I’m truly excited to see what the future holds!