Entering my fifth year as the PRSSA Bateman adviser, I can assure you that it never gets old. This past week my students, along with several other teams across the country, sent in their final completed planbook to PRSSA headquarters in New York. As PRSSA’s premier national case study competition, Bateman offers students a hands-on opportunity to apply foundational knowledge and build necessary skills. Additionally this competition instills the importance of teamwork, deadlines, budgeting, how to deal with Plan B, professionalism and working with a variety of clients, all characteristics that are difficult to teach from textbooks alone. Although as faculty we like to think we’ve done our best to equip students with the aforementioned characteristics, but realistically there is only so much I can present from examples that allows for growth in establishing a Plan B.
Bateman, along with other student public relations competitions, offers students more than a dose of healthy competitiveness, a trophy and/or a cash prize. Possibly one of the most valuable pieces each student gains through participating in the competition is a team-completed planbook that can be used to showcase his or her writing, creativity, and ability to plan and implement a public relations campaign from start to finish.
Even though it is evident that students reap fruitful rewards from participating, what’s in it for the client? Beyond cost efficient labor, clients can benefit in a variety of ways. First, clients gain a statewide or nationwide campaign that fits each community’s unique demographics and culture as determined by each competition team. Secondly, because this Millennial generation has naturally immersed themselves in social media, the client benefits from the wide outreach through this expanding medium. Although social media is popular, most students are taught not to forget the traditional roots. In turn clients reap the reward of state or national media exposure over an allotted period of time as determined by the client. Finally, clients score creative and innovative campaigns at a fraction of the costs to hire a professional agency or firm.
Even though student competitions are stressful and exhilarating at the same time, most professionals and students alike will agree the final outcome is a win-win for all. If you are a professional trying to find an out-of-the-box way to bring life to a client’s project, or a student who is desperately looking for an energizing way to improve your skills and your resume, consider participating in student public relations competitions. I promise you’ll walk away with more than you thought possible.