The first time I came to Europe was in August of 2019. This visit was not for a holiday, but for an internship at the Avantgarde Group in Germany.
I was almost as scared as I was excited because it was a new place with new people speaking a language that I had only heard in the movies. However, the fear was quickly replaced with enthusiasm as work began to pile up. As the days passed, I learned a lot about project management, creative thinking, and teamwork. In addition, I learned about how cold a German winter can really get (and I hoped those rumors weren’t true!).
Experiencing the culture and a work ethic that dictates efficiency was something fresh for me. During the seven months at the internship, I spent my time at Avantgarde Cologne, Avantgarde Digital Munich and mostly at the subsidiary 361/DRX.
As a marketing enthusiast, I strongly believe that value is created through brand experiences. That’s why the motto “turning technology into experience” sparked my curiosity.
Working at a start-up provides exposure to various sides of the business all at once. These can include sales, concept creation, structures, and processes. I worked in a team of eight hard-working individuals that worked cleverly and efficiently in managing ongoing projects, attaining new clients and developing new ideas that can bring the digital world into reality – seamlessly!
These four months opened my eyes to a whole new set of digital reality experiences that generated extremely high engagement rates. Some of them being Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality, Social Media AR (SparkAR), and Digital Marketing tools. I also learned how to use the latest gadgets and wearables such as the HoloLens and the Oculus headsets.
Moreover, I was granted the opportunity to travel around and discover “never seen before” experiential technologies. On a short trip to Paris, I met with several SparkAR developers (Social Media AR). On a not so short trip to Amsterdam, I went to a VR conference and exhibition. These two trips allowed me to gain various perspectives on how brands communicate using AR and VR. They made me feel as though I was “a part of the trend”.
Firstly, the Viessmann Climate Experience AR application. It uses portal AR technology to increase awareness about climate change. I was very excited as the storytelling aspect of it was unique and focused on solving a real-world problem. Second, the sales approach allowed me to find creative solutions to perfectly catering to the client’s interests. As a team, we developed new ideas using AR in collaboration with digital tools that create seamless user journeys for a broad variety of experiences. Last but not least, I represented the company at the Euroshop Trade Fair 2020. I was astonished by the number of creative businesses involved with retail sectors from all over the world. The future of retail was clearly defined as a mix of technology and design. Moreover, I was granted the privilege to interact with several individuals who belonged to the tech industry and shared my interest in the brand experience.
In the midst of all the chaos in the marketplace, I strongly believe technology plays a huge role in building consumer relations and attracting new target groups. Brands and agencies should embrace technology as it comes and stay ahead of the trend. Starting digital, experiencing digital and ending digital is what makes brand experiences efficient and engaging. In my opinion, the most important factor in going digital is implementing a journey that surrounds the customer from start to end. This journey can be a collaboration of different digital tools with a primary focus on “customer first”.
All in all, in the past seven months, I have visited 7 countries in Europe, made over 100 new friends, drove across 4 countries, celebrated the exciting Cologne Carnival and the legendary Avantgarde Christmas Party, supported at least 7 projects and finally, lost count of the number of new things learned. This was an experience of a lifetime and I thank the Avantgarde Group for giving me this wonderful opportunity.