Shannon Tweed: My Experience Getting IPA Certified

Shannon Tweed, PR Account Executive at YOU

Most people who work in Public Relations will tell you that the main reason they love PR is because no two days are alike. Ironically, this can mean that you put expanding your skillset at the bottom of your to-do list. It’s easy to become blinkered in your own discipline, focusing on how you interpret each action by the press it garners.

At YOU Agency, an integrated approach is key to client services. So, I feel quite lucky to be part of a PR team that works in social media, creative, marketing and media. When I was invited to take the IPA Foundation Certificate, I saw it as a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge base and grow my understanding of the advertising industry, too. After all, the future is most definitely integrated.

On a personal level, it had been quite some time since I had been engaged in an academic course. Let’s just say my Memory Palace had become a little dusty. In the end though, I realized how important it is to keep your analytical skills from college alive. It is equally important to continually implement those skills throughout your career, in order to find insightful solutions and question work strategies.

The IPA Foundation Certificate course focused on advertising, branding, behavioral theory and digital marketing, which aren’t always elements that you get the opportunity to generate in PR. The course content was hosted entirely online and allowed participants the freedom to decide when, where and how to prepare for the exam in February. The online structure included several different avenues of learning, including: video, tutorials, white papers and forums.

The YOU Agency students (made up of participants from all departments, including marketing, media and PR) formed a lunchtime study group to test and encourage each other. Which allowed us to interrogate every learning path from a different angle. We also organized a few early-morning study sessions, which were sponsored by Costa Coffee.

The case studies were the most useful of the program, as they gave us the opportunity to put “Behavioral Economics” and other theories into context. The opportunity also encouraged me to draw insightful comparisons across our own current clients, increasing my understanding of other roles within the world of advertising. I am now much more aware of clients’ needs and how to meet their expectations, in terms of briefings and communicating best practices.

My horizons have been broadened, and I now feel more confident in giving very integrated advice encompassing multiple aspects of marketing.

To learn more about the IPA Foundation Certificate (newly adapted for the North American market and available now for enrollment) click here. Note registration ends March 17, 2017.