Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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ImPRessions seeks associates for Bob Evans account

August 30, 2010 1 Comment

With only a week left before classes start, we are preparing to hit the ground running with ImPRessions. After meeting with our Bob Evans contacts, it has become clear that the account needs to get started as soon as possible. That being said, we would like to find two or three associates to start work on the account ASAP and will be accepting applications immediately. Anyone is welcome to apply, though previous experience in ImPRessions or PR is preferred.

Those who apply should be prepared to meet the first week of classes and ready to work hard. The Bob Evans account has big things planned for this year and will be an amazing learning experience for everyone involved.

If you are interested, please fill out this form:

Bob Evans account associate sign-up form

and send it to ouimpressions@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is Sunday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Top reasons to join ImPRessions

August 24, 2010

By Ashley Showen
VP, Operations

As the school year quickly approaches, we are preparing for a great year with ImPRessions. With 13 clients, seven of which are brand new, there is no doubt that this year will be a successful one.

There is plenty of room for students to get involved with the addition of four more clients than last year. We would love to have more members and encourage anyone interested to join.

Here are the top reasons why you need to be a part of ImPRessions:

  1. Real world experience from day one. Whether you’re a freshman who barely knows what PR is or a senior looking to get an extra boost before graduating, joining ImPRessions will allow you to get hands-on experience that cannot be simulated in class.
  2. Great way to meet fellow students. Once you are assigned to an account, you will be working closely with a group of five to 10 other members. You will get to know each other well and learn a lot from each other. Members are not required to be PR majors, so you will get the chance to meet students outside of your major as well.
  3. Prepare you for internships. You will get the opportunity to write press releases and PR plans, create promotional materials, plan events, pitch stories to the media, and much more. Learning the basics of so many different things will give you the experience you need to be a superstar at your first internship.
  4. Get experience in a field you’re interested in. ImPRessions serves clients in entertainment, health care, non-profit, consumer services, public service campaigns, small businesses and more.

We can’t wait to get started and hope you will join us as we work hard to get results for our clients.

Account executives and supervisors for the upcoming year: Encourage everyone you know who may be interested in ImPRessions to contact us or come to an informational meeting.

If you are looking to join as an associate, either as a rookie or veteran, we invite you to attend one of two informational meetings in the beginning of the quarter to learn about each client in detail, meet the account executives and supervisors and sign up for an account!

Tuesday, Sept. 14, Scripps 111, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 15, Scripps 111, 7 p.m.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us at ouimpressions@gmail.com.

Building an empire

August 19, 2010

By R. Devin Hughes
CEO

Recently, the SVP of professional and government relations at Cardinal Health spoke to the intern class, giving background about her job and providing helpful advice. One thing she said that really stuck out to me was, “you have a responsibility to help the people below you get promoted.” Looking at how ImPRessions has developed in my time with the firm, I couldn’t agree more.

As an account executive or supervisor, you might be tempted to think “success” means that your account produced strong results for your client this year. While that is great, I think you are missing the higher-level goal: contribute to the long-term growth and stellar reputation of the firm. ImPRessions might be on your résumé for a long time, and therefore, you will always want the firm to be in high regard with those who are familiar with its activities.

Of course, at that point, you are no longer with the firm, meaning you can’t directly impact the quality of its work. The only way you are able to play a part in ImPRessions’ future is by fostering leadership in its present. As an account executive or PRSSA mentor, I went to great lengths to help develop the raw talent I saw. Today, many of my former associates/mentees make up the ImPRessions or PRSSA executive boards, and I know that they will do a good job because I’ve had the privilege of watching them develop into PR superstars (to borrow a phrase from former OU professor and always leader-developer Michelle Honald).

So how do I recommend you do this? Everyone has their own styles, but I’ve compiled a list of tips that I’ve found to be helpful over the years:

Identify passion, not pedigree

Seriously. The freshman who knows nothing about PR but wants to be involved with ImPRessions is much more valuable than the junior with three internships who just devotes what little spare time he/she has to your account. The junior may be tactically stronger, but the freshman is the one who will want to make the firm better, especially if you are there to help him/her stay enthused and develop. You can teach PR; you can’t teach passion.

Get them involved

Once you’ve identified that hunger, you need to feed it. Give them more responsibilities. Ask them what they want to learn or if they have ideas for the account, then let them run with it. Most of our clients are open to new ideas if we’re able to execute them, so take advantage of that and go nuts. These people want to be involved, and if you’re able to get them excited about what they’re doing and feeling as if they’re getting a lot done, you’ve basically reeled them in. Look for the forward leaning in meetings, the fire in their eyes or the more subtle “ImPRessions 4 Life” tattooed on their arms.

Be available and approachable

Seems like a no-brainer, but I really mean go out of your way to be there. Would my ideal midnights involve phone calls from hysterical associates who are giving up on PR, the world and men? Probably not, but I take them anyway because I feel a responsibility to do so. You aren’t just their boss, you’re their mentor. Embrace it. I humorously added the “men” part, but it does touch on the fact that I think you should be there for them for any life-related ordeal, not just PR-related. Happy associates are helpful associates.

Praise

I admit I have to make a concerted effort on this one, as I am notoriously demanding and have high expectations, so sometimes I take it for granted when those expectations are met because I feel they should have been met. But you need them to feel like their great work has been noticed, and more importantly, you need to instill confidence. If Nick thinks he sucks at PR, I really doubt he’ll apply for a leadership position with the firm. To apply, he needs to believe he can do it, and to believe, he needs you to tell him he can do it. Often, I’ll straight up ask the person, “Are you thinking of applying for account executive? I think you should.” It meant a lot to me when I heard it, and I bet it will mean a lot to anyone else.

Tell the world

Involved as I’d like to think I am, I have to admit I probably won’t personally get to know every member of the firm, so how am I supposed to know where the top talent is? You have to tell me. You have to tell everyone. That person will have a harder time getting promoted if nobody has heard of him/her. If you aren’t making sure the right people know how great a person’s work/enthusiasm is, you are really doing that person a disservice.

That’s how I do it. If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Any way you do it, the goal is universal: build an empire. The firm needs to be outstanding this year, five years from now and even fifteen years from now when I’m in my thirties and probably dead. ImPRessions 4 Life.

2010 PRSSA National Conference in D.C.

August 13, 2010

By Nicole Bersani
VP, Administration

You’ve probably been to a PRSSA chapter meeting, maybe even a Central Ohio PaRtners Conference, but have you been to a PRSSA National Conference? If so, you know the feeling – writing ideas/advice frantically in your notebook, getting inspired by successful PR pros and peers, forming friendships with fellow students in your chapter and chapters across the nation – it’s a feeling bigger than you, than the Hugh M. Culbertson chapter of PRSSA, than ImPRessions, than all journalism students in Scripps. I guess you have to go to a national conference to know the feeling. I went last year and it was one of the most inspirational experiences of my life, to say the least. To know more about last year’s conference, read my article in Ohio University’s chapter of PRSSA’s Winter 2010 PR Success issue titled “Members stay classy in San Diego” (page 3).

This year’s conference, “The Capital Connection: People, Press and Politics,” will be held October 15-19 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C. I’m going to give it to you straight: rooms are $259 per night for four people and the conference registration is $295 per member. Then, you have to add the cost of food, transportation and any site seeing you might do. (Look below for approximate costs.) To be honest, the cost is rough – it’s in D.C. after all – but the experience you have, the people you meet and the amount you learn are priceless. However, good news to PRSSA members that are interested in health care or travel, tourism or hospitality public relations! If that’s you, you can apply for a grant to recieve a free conference registration – see below for more information or click here

Between professional development and networking sessions, expert and compelling speakers, and casual to fancy socials, you will not be wasting your money. The keynote speaker this year is Jim Margolis, a senior partner at a political consulting and advocacy advertising firm called Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns (GMMB). According to the PRSSA national conference committee, he was the senior advisor to Barack Obama’s campaign. Other exciting events are a speed networking session, a student-run firm workshop, PRSA speakers, and sessions about every PR topic imaginable from international to agency, heath care to entertainment, and sports to environment. (To look at other speakers and events, scroll down to link to the program calendar of events or click here.)

There is one catch though – the deadline to register is fast approaching. The day of our first PRSSA chapter meeting of the year and only one week after we start school is the same day as the national conference deadline on September 13. Slightly better news is that you can register now and if you decide not to go, you can get a full refund back – but you have until September 20 to make that decision.

According to the PRSSA national conference committee, “The Conference is the biggest annual meeting of public relations students in the United States, gathering more than 1,000 students for a weekend of networking, professional development, career preparation and leadership training” (http://www.prssa.org/conference/about.aspx).

It’s kind of a big deal. You might think that our chapter or firm of 100 or so members is competitive, but wait until you go to a national conference. You are not the only enthusiastic, smart, hard-working PR student, which may sound discouraging but I mean it as the opposite – take it as an opportunity to learn and network beyond Ohio University.

FYI: I am planning on car pooling and then splitting the cost of gas and parking. It’s around a six-hour drive from Athens to D.C. – e-mail me at nicolebersani@gmail.com if you want to talk more about transportation, this and/or last year’s conference or anything in between.

Estimated cost:

  • HOTEL ROOM (four nights split by four people): $259
  • TRANSPORTATION (car, bus, train, plane): $40-$300 **if car, add parking
  • FOOD/MISC ($15-25 per day, five days): $75-125
  • REGISTRATION (dues paying member): $295
  • APPROX: $669-$979

Hotel information:

Washington Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 328-2000  

PRSSA Room Rate:

  • $239 single/double
  • $249 triple
  • $259 quad
  • Group Code: PRSPRSA

For more information:

Attractions in D.C.

  • National Zoo
  • Smithsonian
  • Georgetown

Get involved

August 11, 2010

By Hollie Amato
Account executive, Backdrop Magazine

There is nothing more intimidating than freshman year of college—thousands of new people, new classes and, most importantly, new opportunities. If you thought that high school offered a lot of chances to get involved, college will surely blow your mind. These options change from “extracurricular activities” to “organizations” and their variety ranges from Greek Life to Frisbee disc golf teams.

I am going to begin by saying something that everyone has heard a million times but cannot be stressed enough,—GET INVOLVED! In high school, I was the type of person who had a million different things going at once. I constantly found myself doing things that I felt that I had to do, instead of ones I actually enjoyed doing. That is one of the first differences I realized about organizations in college, particularly in the Scripps school. In college you actually get to pick what you want to do, rather then feeling obligated to participate in certain activities.

In my Journalism 101 class fall quarter of my freshman year, Dr. Stewart made sure that all Scripps kids were fully aware of the opportunities that were available to us. That was when I first learned about ImPRessions. I was slightly apprehensive at the time because it was the beginning of the year so I hadn’t met my current group of friends yet, and of the few friends I had, none of them were PR majors like me. So this meant I would be going to the first meeting alone, which to me was terrifying.

After the first couple weeks as a member of ImPRessions on the College Book Store account, I immediately felt comfortable. Because it is a student-run PR firm, everything is handled by other PR students. This makes it easy to bounce ideas off one another and to feel comfortable giving suggestions and speaking your mind. In my freshman, year we handled everything from press releases to personally handing out flyers to other students around campus. I even helped to design one of the posters that hung at College Gate promoting one of our big weekend events!

Words cannot even describe the amazing experience I got as a member of this account.  After just one year, I already feel as if I have more hands-on experience that I wouldn’t be able to get in a classroom.

Starting in the fall, I will be one of the account executives for the Backdrop Magazine account. I had not even planned on applying for an account executive position, but a fellow team member encouraged me to do so. I would have never been able to take advantage of this opportunity if I had not gotten involved fall quarter of my freshman year. If there is one piece of advice I could give after year one as a member of ImPRessions, it would be get involved and do not be scared. You never know what could happen if you try!

Embracing the red pen

August 4, 2010 3 Comments

Rachel Csaszar
Account executive, Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

We all know that moment when it seems like your life is over, everything you thought you knew is worthless, and the thought of “Who am I fooling?” crosses your mind as you get your printed work returned with a little more than it left with.

The page covered with your beautiful words has been splattered with red, like a fur advocate after a run-in with PETA.

You’ve been edited.

It’s hard to accept defeat, especially on your first day at a new internship and, for some, your first day in the real world. We all think we’re professionals on some level, even though we haven’t graduated college yet. Sure, we would never say we’re perfect writers, but let’s be honest…we’ve convinced ourselves we’re on our way to reaching that level of perfection that we strive for every day. Your first day on the job, you may encounter a friendly tour, a million handshakes, and if you’re lucky, an office with a desk piled high with media clippings. “I’m no longer a student,” you might think to yourself, “Now, I’m the intern.”

Well, that’s your first mistake.

We’re always going to be students. Even after we graduate, the minute we lose our student status, we no longer have the ability to keep up with the industry in which we work. Being a student for life allows us to grow and develop as writers and public relations practitioners. It’s essential to our survival in the industry, and we should always be ready for the next day’s lesson.

That includes taking constructive criticism. As an intern, you may interpret that sea of red on your work as criticism, lacking the whole constructive part you always hear, and you immediately think you’re the world’s worst writer.

Here’s your second mistake.

You are a better writer than many people, and you wouldn’t be the intern if you couldn’t form a coherent sentence. You were hired for a reason, and it’s important to remember that you are there to show your strengths and hone in on your weaknesses. This is your time to learn, and in order to do this, the first step is to embrace the red pen.

Your superior is not trying to make you feel inadequate or like a failure in the PR world. They are genuinely trying to make you better, and the red pen is just one tool used in their arsenal of many. There will be discussions, meetings, tutorials and finally, the inevitable edit.

In my own internship, I’ve realized very quickly, after the initial fear of failure, that I am simply becoming a better writer. The amount of red words gracing my work is slowly diminishing, and I don’t have to think so hard about style or sentence structure. Some of the corrections make me slap my forehead in disbelief that I missed them, but that is only making me a better editor. Some of the edits are things I truly did not know, so at the end of the day, I leave the office with at least one or two new pieces of information I didn’t have that morning when I walked through the door.

Embracing the red pen may be one of the hardest things for a student to do, but it’s essential to our success in the future. The next time the world slows down as your boss walks forward with your work dripping in red, take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and open your mind. You never know what you may learn in that five-minute conversation that will help you for the rest of your career.

Finding your own path and (being okay with) not taking advice

August 2, 2010

By Heather Farr
Account supervisor

“They’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones who do what they do.” -quote about The Grateful Dead

No band in the history of rock music can touch the Grateful Dead. The individuals referred to as “Deadheads” were not just fans, they were a community; the performances were not just concerts, they were happenings and a way of life for millions of people; and the band was not just a young bunch of 1960s-era musicians, they were public relations and marketing pioneers.

The San Francisco jamband broke all of the music industry rules by encouraging their live shows to be taped and traded, dictating a personal, active two-way community that spread the word without dropping a dime on advertising and essentially utilized “social” media, inbound marketing and PR years before their time. The key to their success? They weren’t afraid to do things that no one else had yet dared to do.

Let’s bring this down to scale and flashback to my freshman year, shall we? It was fall of 2008, and as a scared, information-hungry young soul, I looked to my older peers for answers and clung to them like they were my mom on the first day of kindergarten. They were untouchable, shining PR superheroes in my eyes and no less impressive than any celebrity one might pine over. I used every opportunity I could to ask them questions, grab coffee with them, breathe the same air as them, etc. They gave me some of the best advice and, although I was able to utilize the majority of it appropriately, I took it entirely the wrong way. I thought that in order to be as great as these seemingly immortal PR gods, I had to model my entire plan to look exactly like theirs.

No one, not even us PR majors who seem to have identical plates full of jobs, activities, classes and impressive internships, has the exact same interests, aspirations, personality traits or qualities to offer a company. What’s right for one person could possibly be the outline of what’s right for another person, but definitely not the blueprint. Additionally, when you do draw up your plan, make sure to do it with a pencil and eraser. Planning is great, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to be flexible. Unexpected opportunities are going to come your way, knock you on your butt and send all of your plans flying out of the window…and it is going to be fabulous!

Take those opportunities, even if they complicate things a little. Heck, make your own opportunities: join a club no one’s in, take a job or internship that no one before you has held, move somewhere where no one you know is living (I realize I’m being biased at this point, but just trust me on this). Ask tons and tons of questions—but don’t be afraid not to take someone’s advice. You know yourself, you know what you enjoy and only you can feel that in your gut.

Why follow in someone’s footsteps if you can make you own? I don’t want to be the “next” anyone, I want to be the first and only me. The road less traveled might seem scary, but in my opinion, that makes it seem a lot more intriguing—and getting to the other side will seem a lot more rewarding if you found the way yourself.

“Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right” -“Scarlet Begonias,” The Grateful Dead

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