Brand Central LLC Licensing/marketing intern—Santa Monica, CA
Ever wondered where ingenious cross-branded products like Krispy Kreme-flavored lip gloss and Disney Band Aids (by Johnson & Johnson) come from? They are the brainchildren of the licensing industry professionals at Brand Central. Known as a premier global brand consulting agency, Brand Central (BC) covers the entire chain of licensing—brand extension, manufacturer representation, brand consulting and retail management. The agency represents all-time fav brands such as Angry Birds, Kettle Brand and Tapatio.
What it’s actually like
Standing outside BC’s office on Santa Monica Boulevard, you might mistake the building for a chic one-story house that a 30-something, world-traveling, green smoothie-sipping LA couple may live in. The vibe here is casual, but everyone, including interns, actively contributes to the company’s work. This marketing internship teaches about market research and creative brainstorming for BC’s clients. You also help develop pitch presentations, write PR pieces and work on trend reports for Target Corporation (yes you read that right). While the bright and minimalist Santa Monica office gives off a relaxing vibe, marketing interns are expected to crank up their creativity. “We’re looking for interns with a sharp eye for finding out what’s good and bad in a brand, what kinds of products will be popular and what trends they’ve seen,” Coco Van Iwaarden, licensing coordinator, said. “We want observant interns with an eye on what’s happening out there.” Interns even assist and shadow BC executives and licensing directors individually to learn the different specialties within the licensing industry.
Cool stuff you get to do
Now you can justify scrolling through entertainment, marketing, fashion or beauty articles on your phone all day because that plays a significant part of creating trend reports. Interns also love getting an insider’s peek on phone meetings. “I was able to sit in on a few strategy calls and really hear the things we were researching about being discussed between the licensing directors and the clients,” Sienna Tsan, former intern and UCLA junior, said. Yep, you can hear your ideas passed around among execs, and if you’re lucky they might snag one for the next product.
What you’ll learn
In this marketing internship you learn to come up with possible licensing ideas and how they might end up as superstars on the shelf. “The internship is for anyone wants to really understand the consumer product industry,” Iwaarden said. “They will also learn a lot about the food industry and even the fashion industry.” Though the execs are often super busy, they love giving interns (if they ask) the scoop on what they do and why they’re good at it. “I was able to interview both Ross (Ross Misher, the CEO) and the VP. They were super helpful in explaining the industry and what they do,” Tsan said. For aspiring writers out there, you can hone your skills by writing press releases for clients.
How to prepare for your application
For the interview, demonstrate experiences that prove how creative you are. “Our expectations are students who are interested to do creative brainstorming for us, interns who like to think out of the box,” Iwaarden said. But more importantly, explain why you’ll be a great fit for this marketing internship. “Come in as yourself and bring in questions with you to show that you really understand what we do before you sign on,” Iwaarden said. Since BC is all about brands, don’t be afraid to go crazy on branding yourself.
Skills that impress them
HR values marketing skills (gained through previous internships or classes) and writing skills. Having graphic design skills (especially with Photoshop) will further increase your chances of landing an internship though it’s not required.
Some very lucky marketing interns get to go to Las Vegas with the office for the annual Licensing Expo. The Expo lasts three days and all expenses are paid. To be one of the chosen few, all you have to do is intern for BC during spring or early summer and be over 21 years old (hint: booze). Unfortunately, you won’t be allowed in the convention if you’re underage.
- Summer internships are unpaid but are available for course credit
- Summer schedule is generally flexible, but interns need to commit to at least 2-3 days a week
- Free parking
- BC office is located within walking distance to the Westfield Century City shopping center
- The dates of Licensing Expo 2017 are May 23-25, so hurry up if you’re interested
- There are deadlines for applying posted on various job websites; however, BC hires frequently throughout the year so don’t let one deadline discourage you