New school year brings a new slogan, clients, leaders and goals

By Nicole Bersani
CEO, ImPRessions

Posting for the first time as the CEO of ImPRessions, I have a “tall” order to fill. Devin Hughes, Janelle Huelsman and Courtney Cooper — the past three CEOs — must be around 5’7″. I’m 5’4″. However, it’s not as much about the height of course as it is about their accomplishments as CEOs. Looking back at the firm’s successes when they were CEO, I have set new heights.

Last year alone, there were a lot of accomplishments in the 2010-2011 school year: an increase in clients and members, a PRSSA National Affiliation student-run firm recognition and of course all the successful accounts! To check out last year’s portfolio, please click here. Now, ImPRessions is looking to continue the success of last year and move into a new year, bringing with it a new slogan, clients, leaders and goals.

New slogan

First, we are incorporating our new slogan, “Build a brand. Shape your future,” into all our materials, especially our blog. If you have visited our blog before, you might have noticed it has a different style. We wanted our logo and new slogan to stand out, or in other words, make an imPRession. Please read a previous post by Devin Hughes, 2010-2011 CEO, unveiling the new slogan and the significance it holds for our firm.

New clients & leaders

For the 2011-2012 school year, we have five new clients. At the annual banquet, four were revealed: Express, ROTC, GoBus and Bird Ice Arena. Most recently, another one has been included: Student Senate. The accounts continuing from last year are Cardinal Health, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Athens County Humane Society, Backdrop Magazine, College Book Store, AVW Productions, Up ’till Dawn, College Green Magazine, OHIO Performing Arts and ImPRessions internal. Overall, we have 15 clients and are excited for our accounts to hit the ground running for the 2011-2012 school year. Please see our full list of clients here.

There are 33 members on the executive board (some in more than one exec position), with a CEO, two VPs, 10 supervisors and 23 account executives. Please check out all of our leaders here and see which account(s) they are involved with for the upcoming school year.

New goals

One of my main goals before starting this school year was to create a more diverse line of clientele. From retail, public affairs, transportation, sports and governmental as new clients, adding to the already strong list of national, regional and local clients in healthcare, restaurant, business/organization, entertainment and nonprofit, we can mark that goal as accomplished.

Next up on the list:

  • to increase membership by 25%
  • to standardize our social media brand and to increase our outreach and efforts
  • to structure our brand and image with templates, how-to’s and the like (especially with the new slogan)
  • to host quarterly events for all members (e.g. “PR 101, leadership series and creative workshops)
  • to secure a PRSSA award for best campaign, best tactic or a Teahan Chapter Award for Chapter Firm

These goals will only be reached with the combined effort of each of our members working to write press releases, create fliers, connect on social media and plan events for our clients. It is the team work of our members working to successfully reach their client’s audiences. And it is the clients providing real-world and hands-on PR opportunities for our members. The new slogan “Build a brand. Shape your future.” is a motto for not only our firm as a whole, but also every single member and client within our firm.

Cardinal Health finishes up a successful year

By Jenny Chufar
Associate, ImPRessions account

The Cardinal Health account went to visit the client headquarters in Columbus last October to present their public relations plan for the year.










Over the course of this past school year, Grace Naugle and Jackie Bavaro worked hard with their team members promoting their ImPRessions client Cardinal Health.  One big project the team took on was the Generation Rx campaign, which promotes prescription drug abuse prevention.

Bavaro said the biggest challenge the team faced was the time constraints.  During fall quarter the team did a lot of brainstorming while prepping the ground for the basis of their campaign.  The Generation Rx campaign, which they titled, “Dose of Reality”, was then implemented during this past winter quarter.

Throughout spring quarter, the team was busy at work as they took on a new project that was centered on social media for Cardinal Health.  While doing the social media project for Cardinal Health, the team was also analyzing their “Dose of Reality” campaign results and preparing a trip to the Cardinal Health headquarters, in Columbus, to present to the client.

Although it has been a hectic year, Bavaro said that she was really proud of her team for, “Pulling together and tackling ideas.”

Naugle agrees, saying, “I’ve enjoyed the dedication of each team member on the account the most. They are extremely hard workers and smart people.”

Overall, both Bavaro and Naugle enjoyed working for Cardinal Health. Bavaro appreciated the creativity Cardinal Health gave to them. “I really liked how they gave us a lot of freedom,” she said.

Naugle appreciated the experience she gained in working for Cardinal Health. “They are teaching us the reality of working in the fast-paced public relations field and hold us accountable for our deadlines. Overall, it’s been a wonderful learning experience,” Naugle said.

As one year ends another begins, and for that reason, Bavaro and Naugle would like to congratulate the new executive board especially Caroline Allen and Sienna Tomko, who will be taking over the Cardinal Health account next year.

Bavaro said, “Don’t be afraid to have crazy ideas and think outside of the box.  Just go with it.”

Build a brand. Shape your future. Leave an ImPRession.

By R. Devin Hughes, CEO

For the last time, I am writing a blog post with the “CEO” title, as I am soon to graduate and hand the role over to Nicole Bersani. As I do so, ImPRessions is unveiling its new slogan, “Build a brand. Shape your future.” Having spent four years with the firm, four years which I consider the best of my life, I feel qualified to say that this slogan more accurately represents what ImPRessions, at its core, is all about. For my “swan post”as ImPRessions CEO, I would like to walk you through this new slogan, including my insights over the past four years and an overall summation of the value of ImPRessions.

At its core, ImPRessions does two things: we help our clients by giving them quality, free PR efforts, but we also help ourselves, engaging in real-world PR work that will qualify us for internships and jobs. In selecting a new slogan, we wanted something that encompassed both of these elements, doing justice to everything that ImPRessions is.

Build a brand

On the surface, this is what we are doing for our clients. We help shape their brands and engage in PR strategies and tactics designed to improve their standing with their target audiences.

But those aren’t the only brands we build in ImPRessions: we also build personal brands. Using a conservative estimate, if you work on one account all four of your years at OU, you’re going to meet between 30-40 people. And you aren’t just meeting them; you’re spending an entire year working closely with them. These are people that are going to graduate and go into the same field as you, and ImPRessions gives you the opportunity to show them what you’re all about.

I have accepted a post-graduate internship for this summer. The person who encouraged me to apply was my account supervisor during my sophomore year with ImPRessions. She went on to work with a major PR agency, and wrote to me when an internship opened up. If I had been a complete screwup, do you think she would have done that? This is proof of where ImPRessions can take you: she was two years older than me; we didn’t run in the same social circles or have the same classes. We met through ImPRessions, period. This firm was the one chance I had to brand myself in front of someone, and she apparently liked what she saw.

Shape your future

Again, on the surface this can refer to our clients: obviously, if we brand them well it will have a positive impact on their future performances. At the core, though, it comes back to the students, just like “build a brand.” In my example, I effectively shaped my future by coming across a post-graduate internship through someone I worked with in ImPRessions. You can too.

Those hiring for jobs can get hundreds of resumes for one posting. Your best chance is to have an “in,” someone who can advocate for you and get your name to the top of the list. I have met some of the smartest, most hardworking people I know through ImPRessions, and if they told me they were applying for a job where I worked, I would make it a point to badger the hiring manager, advocating for these people. This has actually already happened–despite just being a student, super low on the totem pole, I have had managers ask me who I recommend for positions, and these people have gotten hired.

But not everyone chooses to shape their future positively. When it’s winter quarter, it’s cold, and you’re snuggled under your blanket at home, you might not feel like going to that ImPRessions meeting at the library. I guarantee you, though, that your execs will notice if you do. I was an account executive; I felt immense gratitude to those I could consistently count on showing up to meetings and getting their work done on time. I would do anything I could now to get those people hired.

As a student, you can shape your future by working hard in classes and getting good grades. However, I think people forget about the network they are building around them. In my opinion, the best way to effectively shape you future is by learning from and imPRessing your peers. They’ll remember you, and that could end up going much further than a high GPA. Which brings me to my final point…

Leave an ImPRession

This is not part of the official new slogan, but it goes with the overall theme and you may see it thrown in there from time to time. You’ve got four years to leave a positive ImPRession on as many students as you can. I can candidly say that I know there are students who would recommend me if they got the chance because of my work with ImPRessions. I can candidly say that there are students I would recommend because of their work with ImPRessions.

Setting yourself apart is easy. It doesn’t involve being the smartest or the most creative or having the most Twitter followers. It simply involves showing enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and volunteering for as many things as you can. As CEO, when I was hiring executives, my line was always that I looked for attitude more than brains. You’re a student; nobody is expecting you to be a PR expert. We just want someone who is dependable, and ready to learn.

I’ve been an account associate, an account executive, an account supervisor, an assistant director (that position doesn’t even exist anymore!) and a CEO. I’ve played all the roles, and I’ve heard so many stories. Stories from students who got internships almost solely because of their ImPRessions work. Stories from clients who love our work and want to hire an OU student.

People like to tell stories, and that’s how your network grows. I’ve actually never directly worked with our incoming vice presidents on an ImPRessions account, but I know how qualified they are because other people tell me good things about them. Conversely, I’ve had executive candidates described to me as “hot mess train wrecks.” You hear these things. When you leave ImPRessions, you will have left an ImPRession.

So you can choose to be known as the hardworking, organized associate or you can choose to be known as the hot mess train wreck. Personally, I would try my best to make it a good one.

This is your chance: Build a brand. Shape your future. Leave an ImPRession.