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What's sociology got to do with it?

Posted by Kelsey Hoyt on Apr 12, 2017 10:04 AM

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I found Brunet-García at a sociology conference in Atlanta. It’s funny to reflect upon this almost a year later since my goals were so different then. I attended the conference because I was interested in applying for PhD programs. I took a professional development class for sociology majors that semester and was feeling the pressure to start planning for post-grad life. Out of all the people I networked with at this conference, the most influential turned out to be Anna Jaffee. I met Anna through my mentor, Dr. David Jaffee—also Anna’s father. We met at a happy hour for graduate and undergraduate students to mingle and network after the conference. Dr. Jaffee introduced us, and I asked her the typical, “what do you do?” Anna then told me about Brunet-García, and I thought it was incredible how often she traveled and was impressed by the clients she worked with. She described my ideal occupation: I would be making a difference while working with an great group of people. After leaving the conference, I was determined to become an intern.

I applied for an internship in the summer of 2016 and started interning at Brunet-García a few months later in September. At first I was nervous. I was a sociology major who knew little about the advertising world. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my sociological background provided me the research methods and writing capabilities necessary for marketing. The Brunet-García team has been very patient and supportive in bringing me from a place of inexperience to being included in client work projects. The staff provided me with the opportunity to apply my research skills in a professional business setting and have taught me how to create communication strategies in both public and private sectors.

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The project that had the biggest impact on me was the 100 Plates campaign that raised money for Feeding Northeast Florida. I conducted research on child hunger in Jacksonville that would later be used in the installation, and got involved in setting up the physical exhibit itself. Food insecurity and food deserts are common topics in sociology; it was cool to see this information utilized to create social change locally. I am proud to intern for a company that passionately gives back to its community.

I was able to put my research skills to use by using quantitative and qualitative research methodologies for our recent client, Native Sun. Native Sun is a local Jacksonville grocery store that specializes in organic products. The company wanted to recruit shoppers who lacked experience with the organic lifestyle. To find its target audience, I ran an econometrics report to gauge market size and demographics. I then further segmented the market based on psychographics to assist Native Sun in reaching its target audience. We’re now in the process of conducting interviews with store employees and shoppers to gather information to implement new marketing strategies.

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I am still unsure of where I am going to end up after graduation, but Brunet-García has provided me with the skill set and experience I need to pursue a career in marketing. This internship has given me a sense of security that I lacked a year ago. Last year, the thought of graduating terrified me. I now look forward to seeing what opportunities await me after I walk across the University of North Florida stage. Swoop!