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Brandon Lin (Music18, IMC20)

Account Coordinator at The Hoffman Agency

After graduating from Northwestern Bienen School of Music, Brandon Lin (Music18, IMC20) moved back to Hong Kong where he was born and raised. There he began working in the music industry. It had been his lifelong passion, but after a few years in the industry it turned out to not be as fulfilling as he had imagined. He turned to marketing, a skill he had developed an interest in during his undergraduate years at Northwestern. 

Graduating from the Integrated Marketing Communications master's program during a global pandemic, Lin has been able to persevere through tough moments and land a job he is grateful for. He joined The Hoffman Agency at a time when they were looking for someone to help them in their transition from a traditional PR company to an IMC firm--something Lin was especially qualified to do thanks to the knowledge he gained in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications master's program.

Tell us about your career path.

I took a couple detours before getting to where I am today. I decided to apply to the IMC program to elevate my knowledge in IMC and hopefully land a job in the industry after graduation. After COVID hit in early 2020, I decided to move back home again and finish off my degree remotely. Soon after graduation, I began looking for jobs. I'm grateful that The Hoffman Agency decided to take a chance on me in these unprecedented times. In October 2020, I began working as an intern and ultimately got promoted to a full-time account coordinator after three months. 

What are your main responsibilities at The Hoffman Agency?

I joined The Hoffman Agency at an interesting time. It was in the process of transforming from a traditional PR company into an IMC firm. Given my unique background in IMC and language abilities, I was a perfect match to help drive the transformation. As a result, I was assigned to work on several multi-market projects. My main projects now are focused on content marketing in addition to PR services, such as media monitoring and drafting press releases, for multinational companies such as Airbnb. 

How did the Medill IMC program prepare you for your job?

The IMC program provided me with the strategic mindset to tackle our clients' business problems and the ability to brainstorm solutions with a creative angle. During my first week of interning at Hoffman, I was the one that came up with the campaign idea that ultimately helped the team win the pitch. Ultimately, IMC equipped me with a holistic perspective to problem solve. 

How do you apply the IMC way of thinking that uses both art and science in your job?

Both art and science are paramount to be successful working in an agency. I most recently worked on a report that included survey results the client required us to include. I am so grateful that I had learned the ins and outs of Excel during the IMC program. I took on the lead to analyze the data from the pivot tables, and subsequently was able to draw insights from the data to weave together a narrative. Using numbers to tell a story is crucial, especially at an agency that prides itself on its edge in storytelling. 

What did you do during your Immersion Quarter?

During my Immersion Quarter, I was given the opportunity to work for Anheuser-Busch InBev. Our team was tasked with developing a customer relationship management (CRM) program and a longterm email strategy for its six priority brands. I'd never had experience building a CRM program from the ground up, so it was definitely a valuable learning opportunity for me. The insights I gained during Immersion Quarter also made for useful anecdotes during my job interviews.  

How has the Northwestern Medill IMC network and Medill Career Services helped you?

Medill Career Services provided invaluable insights, especially with regards to shaping my resumes and revamping my LinkedIn profile. The Medill IMC network was no doubt the most influential factor for landing my job at The Hoffman Agency. In fact, I was able to get in touch with an IMC alum in Hong Kong who helped me navigate the job market during the pandemic. I could not be more grateful for the Medill alumni community. 

What advice would you give to someone considering Medill IMC?

If you have an interest in marketing or public relations, I would highly recommend you pursue the IMC program. The future of the industry will revolve around IMC. Even in my industry, traditional PR agencies are going extinct and clients are looking for agencies that are able to provide the 360 degree service from digital to content to public relations. The accelerated digital transformation due to the pandemic also necessitates companies implement an IMC approach as customers are seeking personalized services more than ever. 

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