Category: Engaged Learning

Taking a Knee

By Emily Thole

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Image credit: Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

 

In the restless and brutal sea of social media, taking a risk could leave a company struggling for air. You may have noticed from recent events, Nike decided to jump into the water head first by tackling a highly controversial topic in the U.S. With immediate response, the internet both attacked and commended Nike for taking a knee on a political subject that many brands and  organizations avoid.

Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback who inspired player protest throughout the NFL, tweeted a photo marking him as the newest face of Nike.

The photo shared stated, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Since Kaepernick’s first protest in 2016, where he kneeled during the national anthem against police brutality, he has received backlash from the NFL and people around the country. His actions ultimately left him without a spot on any team, but Nike decided to endorse him anyway. In the early stages of the “Just Do It” campaign’s 30th anniversary, they made a statement.

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Image credit: Twitter.com

 

As a result of the partnership, Nike made headlines. Celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis, Serena Williams, Russell Crowe and COMMON were praising the brand on Twitter alongside Americans throughout the nation.

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Image credit: Twitter.com

 

But with the good also comes the bad, and even ugly. Multiple individuals took to social media posting images and videos of themselves burning their Nike products, and cutting the swoosh logo from their socks and apparel, voicing that they will never shop with the brand again.

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Image credit: Twitter.com

 

Nike isn’t the first brand to tackle a controversial issue. Many other companies have taken a stance on social issues as well. Dick’s Sporting Goods protested gun violence after the Parkland, Fla. massacre by saying they would no longer sell assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and also prohibit the sale of guns to customers under the age of 21. Airbnb shot back at President Trump when he closed the borders to refugees in a campaign called, “We Accept,” by voicing their company’s acceptance of other races and nationalities in a time when the biggest figurehead of the nation was saying the opposite. When the U.S. pulled out the Paris Agreement, Ben and Jerry’s started a campaign called, “Save Our Swirled,” focusing on the topic of climate change. Each of these brands were criticized for becoming politically involved, just like Nike.

For a brand with popularity around the world, what form of success can come from this controversial partnership? Through all the back and forth of praise and hate, will either party prosper?

It depends on how you measure success, and from my research, numbers don’t lie. According to the Washington Post, after an initial drop when Kaepernick shared the photo, Nike online sales went up 31 percent. The incident got people to talk about the organization, and, whether positive or negative, the Nike brand was pushed to the forefront of their minds. According to Bloomberg, the company received over $43million in media exposure in the first 24 hours, and that continues to grow.

Risking your brand’s reputation is scary, but if it is something you believe in, take a knee and show the world what you stand for.

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Integrity in the Game and the Workplace

By Kylee Julian

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I have been a club volleyball coach for five years, and I have had the privilege to coach the same girls since they were in eighth grade. My players are from all over, but the club is based out of the Lee’s Summit/Independence area.

I decided to become a coach because I love the game. I have played volleyball my whole life and dreamt of the day when I would become a coach. Being a coach has allowed me to see life through a different parallel. I am constantly connecting volleyball to life, work and school.

In this blog post, I will discuss some of the important lessons that the game and coaching taught me, as well as how those lessons carry over into my life and my future career.

 

|| Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all. ||

 

This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, not only as an athlete, but as a public relations professional as well. My players had this experience during our past season. In the game of volleyball, the referee holds the majority of the power. What they say goes, and you have to learn at an early age to respect that.

It is the same in a place of work. Your boss holds the power, what they say goes even if you don’t like it or agree.

 

|| “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” -Mia Hamm ||

 

In the game of volleyball, you have to find something to play for. I often tell my players that if they can’t succeed in playing for themselves, then to play for their teammates.

Regularly, I think people get lost in doing something with passion because there isn’t that underlying drive. However, when you do something for someone else, give it everything you’ve got because you’re playing for them and you find that you will push yourself to new limits.

You have to find a drive, a purpose, and someone for whom you wish to work. Look at the client and their end goals, and think about why they hired you. When you have success they have success, and the organization has success– everyone wins.

 

|| We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other. ||

 

I am always one to have a respectful team with good sportsmanship. We like to tell our girls to think about how they would want to be treated if they were the officiating team. I tell my players that the time-honored saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated” will always stand true.

This is the same for any public relations professional, or really any professional. If you treat your co-workers, fellow students, boss and anyone with whom you interact with kindness and respect, often you will receive the same. In the UCM PR department here at UCM we often work in a team dynamic, whether it is group work, editing each other’s work, or just sitting and brainstorming in class. As a class, we have to respect others views, perspectives and ideas in order to receive the same.

 

|| “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you will be successful.” -Eric Thomas ||

 

Sometimes you just lose. It happens. What my players learned throughout the season is to never lose their pride, self-respect, and integrity. My team members didn’t complain when things weren’t going their way. They acted like respectful young women and just played their game.

Sometimes you will fail in public relations, it’s inevitable. As one of our professors said, “Public Relations is a pass or fail kind of business.” However, the way that you fail in this business isn’t true failure. It has been said that you only fail when you don’t try and that failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it. You have to take your failures and learn from them, and take your successes and use them.

 

|| “If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.” -Henry Kravis ||

 

Whether it is winning a volleyball tournament or accomplishing a business goal, if you do it with integrity you can’t lose.

Innovative PR wins professional awards for #teamUCM Social Media Night

By Blake Hedberg

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. (Aug. 27, 2018) — The University of Central Missouri’s student-led public relations firm, Innovative PR, received two professional awards this summer for its 2017 event #teamUCM Social Media Night. The agency competed against many for-profit businesses in the Greater Kansas City Area.

The Kansas City chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) awarded #teamUCM Social Media Night a KC Quill award, the second time in the firm’s history to receive this honor. However, the winning wasn’t over for Innovative PR for the summer. In July, the firm received a Silver AMPS award from the Social Media Club of Kansas City at the organization’s annual banquet.

“We are incredibly honored to be distinguished for our work. Many hours went into making this event a reality and it is a great feeling to see the work of our students pay off,” said Agency Manager Blake Hedberg. “The 2017 event pushed our agency to new heights and created many opportunities, while providing visibility to our firm. I had a great team behind me.”

For six consecutive years, Innovative PR has been the driving force behind UCM’s popular #teamUCM Social Media Night event. Launched in 2013, the event takes place during a UCM Mules and Jennies basketball game and has engaged, entertained, and rewarded participants with a night of prizes, trivia, and contests.

The spring 2017 Innovative PR team raised more than $2,000 in donations and their comprehensive social media plan ushered in more than 1.2 million media impressions. IPR and UCM Athletics social media impressions more than tripled, while mentions increased more than 40 percent and profile visits nearly tripled over 2016 event numbers.

“Innovative PR’s work on behalf of its many clients is excellent. Winning the 2018 awards is an illustration of that excellence,” said program supervisor Dr. Tricia Hansen Horn. “We are proud to have the agency’s work represented and recognized by the Kansas City IABC and the Social Media Club of Kansas City.”

For more than nine years, students in the UCM Public Relations Program that are accepted into the UCM Innovative PR agency have the opportunity to gain real-life experience, while working with several client projects. In its time, more than 100 students have dedicated more than 22,000 hours of service to the greater UCM community.

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Innovative Public Relations (Innovative PR) is University of Central Missouri’s student public relations firm, managed and operated by UCM public relations students. Under the direction of UCM’s Integrated Marketing and Communications office and the academic public relations program, the firm was founded in January 2010. It is comprised of several public relations students who are dedicated to professional development and public relations initiatives. Innovative PR is committed to serving the UCM community by executing timely, accurate and ethical strategies and tactics, with a goal of serving clients outside of the UCM community in the future. For more information, visit ucminnovativepr.com or contact Innovative PR at ipr@ucmo.edu or 660-543-8557.

College Loyalty

By: Ashley Perry

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, Oh the Place You Will Go.

 

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College is a four year experience you can never get back. One value I have always tried to live my college years by was college loyalty. The word loyal is defined as “faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.” So, in my opinion, being faithful to college means committing toward collegiate goals. Graduating is the ultimate goal of college, however, there is so much more that goes into college loyalty.

You get what you put in to college. Campus involvement, connections, and opportunities are some of the few ways to make your college experience worthwhile. You have to find something to allow yourself to stand out from the other colleagues who will graduate with you. Focusing on yourself and what you enjoy professionally will help you to advance once you graduate. Try to think of these three words when completing your collegiate years:

 

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Be involved within your major. Don’t just take a class and turn in your homework. Go out of your way to join a club geared toward your major. Go to your professors office hours and ask them ways you can get involved. I guarantee they would love to see a student in their office for once, and that will allow you to stand out. Even if you do not join a club geared for your major, find one that can benefit you as a leader. Find an organization that you can hold a position within and expand your knowledge of team building. Here is a link for the student organizations on campus at the University of Central Missouri. Check it out and find what club would suit you.

 

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I am sure you have heard the saying, “don’t burn any bridges” because you never know when you might need to take that bridge. Unfortunately, that is true. It starts in the classroom. You never know who in your class could potentially be in a position to hire you one day, or who could think of you 10 years after graduation and tell their boss you might be a good fit. Get out of your comfort zone and make connections with your classmates. It does not stop with classmates, it applies to professors and fellow employees. Be friendly and always offer a helping hand. You can never get enough endorsements on LinkedIn. Basically, do not burn bridges with people, keep them as acquaintances. If you do not believe me on the importance of connections, check out this article.

 

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Do not let an opportunity slip away from you. If you hear about a chance to network or get together with some classmates, take it. You do not know where it will lead. Do not tell yourself you will do it next time, do it now. Take that hard class that will benefit you, take that internship or job that scares you. It is okay to fail at something, but it is not okay to fail at never taking an opportunity.

What I have received from college on a professional level, took me four years to figure out. I have passed up many opportunities and connections. Fortunately, I finally found the true meaning to college loyalty before my time was complete. I hope this blog will help you do some soul searching to find what college loyalty means to you.

 

Do you have any comments or thoughts on College Loyalty? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Newsjacking: Three Tips to Avoid A Crisis

By Morgan Anderson

Newsjacking is one of the best ways to keep your company current and popular. Used in traditional forms of advertising and social media, newsjacking is taking advantage of current events in such a way to advertise your brand.

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Image credit: www.davidmeermanscott.com

Created by David Meerman Scott (his website and book can be found here) and popularized on social media, this type of advertising is a great way to gain followers and knowledge of your brand. Newsjacking can double organic news searches for your brand. It also allows you to have an immediate impact on your followers.  Here are three general rules about newsjacking that everyone should follow.

 

 

 

  1. Make it current

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    Image credit: Twitter

Newsjacking only works if the event is current. Anything past a week could possibly be out of date, depending on the event. You want the posts to be immediate if it is a fun event or possibly something that is considered rare. Oreo was one of the first to hop on the newjacking trend when it started in 2013 when a blackout happened during the Superbowl. This tweet went out minutes after the blackout occurred, and the marketing team was on top of it. It gained almost 15,000 retweets and over 6,000 likes.

 

 

 

 

    2. Make it tasteful

In wakes of crisis, it is important to make social media content tasteful. Trying to newsjack after a crisis can  harm your brand if you are not careful. After Hurricane Sandy, Gap tweeted “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of Gap.com shopping today. How about you?” with a link to gap.com. After millions of people lost their home, this probably was not the best item to tweet about.

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Image credit: Twitter

 

   3. Make it relevant to your company

Making  content relevant to your company is very important. The point of newsjacking is to create a link between the current event that is happening and your brand. Muncie Animal Shelter did a great job with this during the Pokemon Go! craze  in 2016. They placed an ad on social media to have people hunt Pokemon while helping walk their dogs. They gained more than  10,000 interactions on Facebook alone with this simple post.

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Image credit: Facebook

 

Do you have thoughts or comments on newsjacking?  Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Build your brand: Your key to success

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By Sydnie Kerr

College is the place where students gain experiences, discover their passions and more importantly, start building their careers. In a business like public relations, employers want an employee who stands out from the crowd and your personal brand can be your ticket to your next job. If the right personal branding is implemented a world of opportunities and connections may become available.

We often think of branding as something only companies build, but in our age of social media branding efforts extend to personal use. You may not know it yet, but you already have a brand. Now, it is up to you to take these steps and create the brand you want it to be.

 

  1. Be Yourself.

Now, this may sound a little cliché, but it’s important advice I’ve received. Find out what makes you different, show off the things you love, and do what makes you happy. Employers and your network will notice if you are trying to be someone you’re not and you’ll shine if you are genuine and sincere about who you are.

 

  1. Utilize social media.

Social media for networking can be one of your biggest assets. LinkedIn is especially important for networking with colleagues and future employers. Build your brand on LinkedIn. You also need to be mindful about what you post on each platform. Each platform is used in different ways so consider the content you are creating for each.

 

  1. Be careful about WHAT you post

College is fun, but, your employers are going to look at your social media when considering you for a job. If you are constantly posting with alcohol or drugs that can destroy your chance of being hired. Be mindful, and think “Would I want my grandma to see this?”

 

  1. Create a logo and branding guide for yourself

It’s very impressive when people have personal logos and keep a consistent look across all their platforms. Consider creating something that distinguishes you from the next individual. This can carry through all your social media platforms and on your resume and cover letters. Make them look the same in terms of your brand, that way you are easily identifiable and remembered.

 

  1. Create a voice

Across all social platforms, you’ll want to create your voice and persona. Are you funny? Sarcastic? Easy-going? Consider how you want to portray yourself and create your content based on that.

 

  1. Create an impactful bio

This goes along with establishing your voice. A bio will tell everyone who you are, what you do and the kind of person you are. Write your bio based on who you are. Don’t just tell people what you do, show them and go deeper.

To learn more about creating a professional bio, take a look at these; https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/professional-bio-examples

 

  1. Post regularly

It’s important to keep up with your brand. Don’t neglect it for months. Employers are looking for active users who are consistent and not outdated.

 

  1. Get connected

It’ll look great if you have a lot of relevant connections on LinkedIn or on Twitter. This means that you know your people and have connections that can always help future employers. You network of people is so important in the PR world because those connections will help you grow and can potentially land you your future job. The more you know people, the better.

 

Public Relations and its Role in the Super Bowl

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Image credit: gossipcop.com

By Sydney Skaggs

The Super Bowl is one of the most highly anticipated annual events in popular culture. Before, during and after the Super Bowl there is significant hype about the commercials, and for many television viewers the ads are a highlight of the game.

The Super Bowl is huge for the public relations industry. The big game is not just a platform for companies to show their creative advertisements, but for all of the PR and marketing that surround the broadcast at the game.

The Super Bowl gives PR pros a chance to come up with a strategy and analyze the Super Bowl from every angle, finding ways to reach their target audiences. Research has demonstrated over and over again that advertising may guarantee viewers see your message in the form you wish to present it, but it doesn’t guarantee retention, comprehension or persuasion. This proves that public relations can have an impact beyond media relations and simple ads.

One of the most talked about commercials from Super Bowl LII was for Tide laundry detergent. The manufacturer has been working through a crisis recently that was mentioned by Procter & Gamble’s CFO in its latest earnings call. The crisis derives from the emergence of the Tide Pod Challenge, where teens eat (or joke about eating) the small detergent packages. But the three Tide ads shown during the Super Bowl created a buzz that has people talking about the brand for all the right reasons.

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Image credit: http://www.nj.com

 

According to Samantha Wood from PR News, “Tide turned conventional advertising on its ear by inserting itself into the classic styles of familiar ad genres, such as those for cars, beer or medicine. The parodies were so successful that many viewers were left guessing which ads would end up being Tide ads after all (Wood).”

Another ad that demonstrated great PR was Amazon’s “Alexa Loses Her Voice.” Previous Alexa ads emphasized the convenience and utility of the Echo product, but the Super Bowl ads used celebrities and comedians as “stand-ins” for the voice of Alexa. The commercials focused on humor and, in the process, humanized the product and the brand as a whole (Wood).

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Image credit: http://www.nj.com

 

Paid advertising is used to generate word-of-mouth and third-party credibility and that’s where PR steps in. Both of these ads conveyed a message in a light-hearted way that didn’t directly try and sell you the product but focused more on generating a buzz that would stick around long after the Super Bowl.

If there’s one thing we learn about advertising during the Super Bowl, it’s the perfect place to introduce audiences to products through advertising. Public relations will keep people talking about the ad and hopefully create something that will make them remember the product, long after the game is over.

 

What was your favorite commercial during Super Bowl LII? Comment below and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Citations: Wood, S. (2018, February 05). 3 Super Bowl Ads That Gave Their Brands a PR Boost. Retrieved February 06, 2018, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/super-bowl-2018-ads

The Influence of P.T. Barnum

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Image credit: washingtonpost.com

By Morgan Berk

The surprising success of Hugh Jackman’s performance in “The Greatest Showman” has brought the name Phineas Taylor Barnum back into the forefront of people’s minds. This seems like the perfect time to reflect on Barnum’s unique publicity methods and how they paved the way for some of the public relations methods we still use today.

America’s Greatest Showman was not a perfect man by any means, but his impact on the age of publicity and press agentry has left a lasting mark on public relations and advertising. A lot can be learned from Barnum and his illustrious career.

Today we know that many of the advertising and publicity tactics used by the self-proclaimed “Prince of Humbugs” were unethical at best. However, while still acknowledging Barnum’s role in the exploitation of marginalized people, it is also important to remember the good and useful things that are part of his legacy.

Advertising existed long before Barnum’s time, but he managed to usher in an era of publicity that took advertising to a whole new level. The following are four advertising or promotion methods we still see today that were brought into the spotlight by P.T. Barnum more than a century ago:

 

  1. The Pseudo-Event
    Pseudo-events, also known as media events, are well planned events orchestrated for the purpose of generating publicity and media attention. These events didn’t earn their name until the term was coined by Daniel Boorstin in 1961. They existed long before P.T. Barnum, but he brought them into prominence with his loud and unapologetic brand of publicity. The “freak shows” that Barnum was most known for are a prime example of pseudo-events, as they existed for no other purpose than to draw in a crowd and stir controversy on the streets and in the newspapers.Today we see a variety of pseudo-events, ranging from press conferences, to award shows and reality TV, all events that exist purely to create news.
  2. Museum Advertising
    To promote his American Museum, Barnum displayed oversized banners on the side of the building to announce new attractions in the museum. This is a tactic that we still see today at major museums such as the Smithsonian.

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    Image source: dailymotion.com

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    Image source: americaninno.com

  3. Concert Promotion
    Lesser known than his circus expertise is Barnum’s foray into the arts. In August 1850, he brought the “Swedish Nightingale” to the United States. The opera singer Jenny Lind was wildly successful in Europe, but virtually unknown in America at that time. Without even hearing her sing, Barnum invited Lind to perform on a tour across America and proceeded to generate incredible amounts of hype surrounding her arrival. Thirty thousand people were there to greet her as she arrived in New York Harbor and her tour went on to net more than a half-million dollars, impressive numbers for 1850. Much of Lind’s success should be attributed to her talent and personality, but credit for the excitement generated before her arrival can be given to Barnum, who began publicizing the tour more than six months in advance.

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    Image source: smithsonianmag.com

    Live music continues to thrive in today’s society, with fans flocking to their favorite musicians’ tours in the thousands. Tickets to see major artists, including Adele, Elton John, Beyonce and Taylor Swift, sell out in mere seconds thanks to the skill of those who promote the tours, many of whom use some of the same tactics that Barnum used to make Jenny Lind a global sensation.

  4. Vehicle Advertising
    The first actual vehicle wrap advertisement was most likely created for Pepsi Co. in 1993 to promote its Crystal Pepsi product. However, advertising on the sides of vehicles is an idea that originated in the age of P.T. Barnum. Barnum would send horse-drawn wagons through New York City that were plastered with posters and signs advertising his American Museum. Walk or drive around today, and you’re likely going to see countless buses, 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles plastered with various advertisements.

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    Image source: flickr.com

 

When looking back at and discussing historical figures, it is important to remember that people are neither entirely good or bad, or entirely ethical or unethical. Both may exist in the same individual, and neither should be erased. So when the topic of P.T. Barnum next comes up, his shortcomings should indeed be addressed in full measure, but his many contributions to public relations and advertising should be remembered as well. Barnum’s life has left a lasting mark on public relations and advertising, one that is certain to endure much further into the future.

 

Do you have any thoughts on P.T. Barnum, “The Greatest Showman,” or his influence? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

A Collective ‘Thank You’ from the Innovative PR team

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By Blake Hedberg

Thanks for your continued support! Here is the link to give back to our program: https://ucmfoundation.org/Give/PR

At the conclusion of another successful semester for UCM’s Innovative PR agency, it’s paramount to reflect on our journey, the professional experiences we’ve undertaken, and the skills we’ve acquired from our client projects. Also, while the student specialists spent countless hours working on client projects, several individuals coordinated efforts behind-the-scenes to keep IPR functioning, and those individuals each deserve a big thanks.

Each semester is a unique journey. In the beginning, a variety of students whom possess varying skill sets, join together and take on multiple client projects while working in a simulated agency. The Fall 2017 Innovative PR team consisted of six undergraduate students, all interested in gaining real-world experience while still in school and wanting to challenge themselves professionally. In August, I challenged this team to take our agency to greatness. Fast-forward to December…as IPR the manager I can firmly assert they accomplished greatness.

In less than 12 months, the agency transformed in an almost night-and-day sweeping motion. Through leadership transition and financial crisis, Innovative PR delivered exceptional and timely work to clients. Our student specialists immersed themselves in media relations, logo-redesign, feature story writing, interviewing, story pitching, and brand management. IPR Account Specialist Adriana Vivas even won a professional award for her design work! And, highlighting this semester was the four day trip three of our students sponsored themselves and took to visit our Los Angeles based client. Read the full story here: https://ucminnovativepr.com/2017/12/01/help-get-team-amn-to-la-a-look-into-the-social-media-campaign/

As the Innovative PR manager, words cannot do justice to the sentiment I have toward the firm. The manager position has been transformative in my professional growth and opened more doors for me than I ever thought possible. I found that I am passionate about managing and interacting with students, forming bonds along the way while motivating individuals to reach their academic potential. To see them flourish, to see them succeed and deliver excellence to clients is one of the best feelings I’ve been fortunate enough to experience.

I owe a tremendous amount of our success to Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn. Serving as the firm’s advisor, Dr. Hansen-Horn has been my saving grace through the first year and provides excellent assistance, as well as confidence support, to my endeavors in the office. I can always count on her to be there for guidance, and her work coordinating client projects keeps our agency alive. We would not operate without her long hours of hard work.

Also deserving thanks are our professional mentors in the University Relations office. Jeff Murphy and Mike Griefe have been instrumental in pushing the firm in the right direction. They have advised students and the previous managers since the firm’s 2010 inception. Both have positively impacted my experience as manager and always make time for me when I need help. The three individuals’ work often goes unnoticed, but today I would like to give them each a huge “thank you” from the entire Innovative PR team.

And, of course, I want to personally thank the individuals serving as our clients the past two semesters, while supporting our ongoing efforts. Your commitment to our agency has a profound impact on our students’ abilities to grow professionally. You’ve inspired them and opened plenty of doors for each of them. Without your assistance, we could not do what we do. And for that, we owe a big “thank you!”

Much of what Innovative PR is able to do is supported through the UCM Public Relations Foundation Fund. In the spirit of holiday giving, I want to thank every individual who has contributed to it. Your contributions have a significant impact on keeping Innovative PR going and giving future PR pros the chance to experience this excellence found in this firm. We are making great progress toward next year’s funding goal, but we’re still several thousands of dollars away from the benchmark necessary to keep IPR going as a wholly student-led PR firm.

The UCM PR Program Foundation account link is https://ucmfoundation.org/Give/PR. If you can give yet this year, or again this year, please do. Your contributions make continued student excellence possible and Innovative PR growth possible. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Please share this blog and opportunity to support Innovative with your friends and colleagues.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Innovative PR!

Help Get Team AMN to LA! – A Look into the Social Media Campaign

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By Andrea “Nickey” Buzek

“Guys, I’ve never been on an airplane before,” I said to Adriana and Mark, the “A” and “M” to Team AMN.

Their eyebrows raised and I got the usual: “What?” “Really?” and “That’s crazy,” although, I don’t think they understood what I meant. Finally, I stopped the conversation and grabbed both of their arms. “GUYS! I’ve never been on a plane. Our client is in LA. What if we fly to him to give our final evaluation?” I said. Much like everyone else, they were interested, but doubtful that it was attainable.

I was fully aware that a trip like this would take hundreds of dollars. I also knew that Innovative PR didn’t have the funds to send three students on a trip to Los Angeles. I am a first-generation college student, working my way through college, so I really knew that I couldn’t pay for it. It was time to take my education from the classroom to the real world.

On Oct. 17, the social media campaign “Help Get Team AMN to LA!” was created with the objective of raising $800 through donations only by Nov. 9 to fund my portion of the trip. The $800 included travel expenses, food, lodging and emergency funds, with any funding beyond trip expenses to be used to help Innovative Public Relations fund its graduate position.

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Image credit: ucminnovativepr.com

GoFundMe, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress were the outlets used to start crowdsourcing. Over a four week period, I posted updates about how Team AMN was preparing for our trip. It included summaries of our workweek, pictures of projects and spotlights of the team members. Facebook posts received the most attention, naturally.
Grandmothers love sharing their babies, but grandma wasn’t the only one to share the updates. Family, friends, colleagues, UCM faculty members and random people I had never met before would actually share my posts. Instagram was the second most successful outlet with a record of 77 likes for one image. Twitter and WordPress were used periodically, but there was a lack of engagement on those platforms.

 

The first donation came on Oct. 17, and other donations flooded in soon after. Word-of-mouth started to take over. I had people coming up to me on campus asking how the fundraising was going, asking how they could help and even handing me money from their own pocket. The amount of support the campaign received was incredible, but what would public relations work be without a crisis.

On Oct. 25, Team AMN was notified that no university-related coursework for credit was allowed to be presented on this trip due to liability issues. This was a major problem considering Help Get Team AMN to LA! was built around us doing our evaluation in LA. I channeled my inner crisis communication training and decided to notify every person, who had donated, of the change. I also made updates detailing the shift in plans to get the word out to those who hadn’t donated. The campaign was repositioned to an educational trip rather than a business one. I communicated that Team AMN would still be touring all public relations agencies mentioned and that we still needed help funding. Honesty, as usual, was the best policy. Though, I gave donors an opportunity to be refunded, every one of them told me to keep the money and to make the most of the trip.

 

 

 

 

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Image credit: ucminnovativepr.com

Looking back over this campaign, it was a huge success. My goal was to raise $800 by Nov. 9, but I walked onto the plane that day with $996.99. Not only did my community help me to achieve what I set out to accomplish, but they continued to give after the goal was met. Help Get Team AMN to LA! was able to donate $434.49 back into IPR, making a difference for the graduate position. The campaign caught the attention of alumni, faculty members and colleagues. It also helped me to understand what it really takes to implement a social media campaign, as well the benefits a PR practitioner could receive from one. The lessons I learned on Team AMN’s business trip will never be forgotten, but this pre-trip lesson was definitely one for the books.

If you would like to take a look into the tactics used for Help Get Team AMN to LA!, check out www.gofundme.com/our-first-la-business-trip. Improvement is the key to success, so if you would like to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this campaign, please leave a comment or direct message us via our social media outlets.

 

The Los Angeles trip opened many doors for our agency members. Stay tuned for the other perspectives in upcoming blogs! You can check us out on Facebook and Twitter here.