The Student-Run Agency: Transitioning from Student to Professional

Author(s): Lee Bush, Jeffrey Ranta, Harold Vincent

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 448


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Student-run advertising, public relations and integrated communications agencies mimic the structure of professional agencies, and provide students with real-world experience working for real clients. Student agency members are unique in that they are still learning basic communications principles, but are interacting with clients who expect them to conduct themselves professionally and understand how the business world operates.

The Student-Run Agency: Transitioning from Student to Professional is the first textbook written specifically for students to help them navigate their student agency tenure. It serves as both a comprehensive resource for a complete student agency experience, and as a reference guide as specific client situations arise.

The authors have founded and managed student-run agencies, worked for years in professional agencies, and conducted extensive research on the structure and learning benefits of student agencies.

The Student-Run Agency: Transitioning from Student to Professional:

  • Gives students a full understanding of the agency business, how agencies operate, and agency processes and protocols.
  • Helps students develop effective client programming, manage client relationships, develop professional identities, and promote their work.
  • Includes 10 articles written by agency professionals on best practices.
  • Is a valuable resource for Campaigns courses and for students embarking on agency internships.


Part I: Shaping the Student Agency

Chapter 1: Overview of the Agency Industry

History of advertising and PR agencies; agency ownership and holding companies; types of agencies; agency structures; the agency of the future; industry trade associations, media, and awards.

Chapter 2: Organizing the Student Agency

Agency needs, resources, and mission; agency structures, titles/ roles, organizational charts, and funding sources; office space and equipment; agency branding and culture; mining, prospecting, and cultivating student staff.

Chapter 3: Building Your Agency’s Business

Categories of client organizations; types of client/agency relationships; developing a new business plan including prospecting, preparing materials, and conducting outreach; the agency search process (RFIs and RFPs); making a new business pitch.

Chapter 4: Agency Processes

Recruiting and hiring processes; developing client contracts, staffing the account and holding your first meeting; moving work through the agency using workflow processes, briefs, status reports, and shared agency drives; internal agency communications; measuring agency success.

Chapter 5: The Business Side of Communications

Agency money management, financial terminology, balancing revenues and expenses; creating student agency budgets; program estimating and budgeting; client invoicing; agency revenue models.

Chapter 6: Diversity and Inclusion

Unpacking the industry’s “diversity problem”; creating an inclusive workplace by recognizing unconscious bias, understanding intersectionality, and using inclusive language; communicating with multicultural audiences by avoiding stereotypes and cultural appropriation, testing content, and using the total market approach.

Part II: Program Planning and Management

Chapter 7: Client Relationship Management

Making a good first impression; being a counselor versus order taker; managing client relationships, communications, and expectations; making mistakes and addressing them; dealing with difficult clients.

Chapter 8: Writing a Strategic/Semester Plan

The nature and importance of plans/planning; characteristics and elements of a good plan; types of plans; strategic communications planning process; developing a strategic communications plan; creating a semester plan.

Chapter 9: Project Management

The origins of project management and the traffic department; defining project management; strategic communications project management; developing a project management process and utilizing technology systems; agency project management from beginning to end.

Chapter 10: Developing a Professional Identity

Understanding the agency working environment; developing communications competency; problem solving, resourcefulness and resilience; working successfully in a team; getting and giving feedback; creative thinking and problem solving; managing stress.

Chapter 11: Selling Your Ideas

Selling your ideas to the client through persuasive appeals and storytelling; creating presentation content and bringing ideas to life; using successful techniques to deliver your presentation to the client; holding effective client meetings.

Chapter 12: Legal Ease and Ethics Considerations

Legal considerations in student agencies related to content creation and use, photographing and filming, and client programming; keeping legal files and utilizing legal counsel; ethics considerations in the agency business.

Chapter 13: Wrapping Up the Semester

Leaving your client account in good shape for the following semester including deliverables completion and transfer, writing end-of-semester reports, presenting final reports to the client, and conducting client evaluations; wrapping up with your agency including archiving materials, presenting work to agency staff, and transferring knowledge to the next account team; ways to measure agency success and student learning.

Part III: Professional Practices

Articles written by agency professionals on programming and best practices:

Research Real Talk: Revelations, Realizations, and Radical Simplicity
Adrian Fogel, Senior Vice President, Strategy Director, Y&R

Unleashing Your Creativity: A Primer on How to Push Past the  Obvious and Create More Engaging Work
Shamika Brown, Barbosa Writer/Entrepreneur

Media Relations: Best Practices for Working With Journalists
Mary-Elisabeth Grigg, Senior Vice President, DiGennaro Communications

Social Media Marketing: Content Development Planning, Creating  and Curating Content, Building a Fan Base, Social Media Analytics
Michael Stern, Senior Vice President, Global Account Director, Leo Burnett

Spending Other People’s Money: Media Planning and Placement
Theresa Chang, Senior Partner, Group Director, Mediacom

A Comprehensive Introduction to Experiential Marketing
Shelby Roehre, Industry Consultant and Production Manager

Video Production: Telling Your Story With Motivation and Passion
Bill Grant, Owner, Cinema Couture

A Crash Course in Copywriting
Michele Lashley President, Karacom Creative Owner, The Smarter Writing Lab

Creating the Essence of a Brand Through Design
Jay Picard, Founder, Think Say Feel

Designing a Solid Website
Blake DuBose, President, DuBose Web Group

Part IV: Leaving a Legacy

Chapter 14: Promoting Your Student-Run Agency

Reasons to promote your agency; ways to engage in agency promotion including doing a brand audit, documenting case studies, establishing and communicating thought leadership, and displaying your professionalism and culture; planning and executing agency promotion through content marketing, media, and messaging.

Chapter 15: Advancing Your Work

Using your student agency experience to get in front of employers and land your perfect job; building your personal brand, developing materials and an online portfolio; gathering intelligence and prospect targeting; techniques to prepare for and conduct interviews; using your experience in your first position.

Lee Bush

Lee Bush is an associate professor in the School of Communications at Elon University. Prior to teaching, she spent 18 years in both advertising and PR agencies, most recently as a senior vice president of Ketchum Communications in Chicago, and as senior vice president of Ogilvy Public Relations in both Chicago and London. She specialized in brand marketing and worked for clients including Quaker Oats, Jim Beam Brands, KimberlyClark, Horizon Organic, Eurotunnel, Wendy’s, and Unilever. In 2007, she founded Elon’s student agency, Live Oak Communications, and served as the faculty director for its first 7 years. She has conducted extensive research on the structures and learning benefits of student agencies, their impact on graduates’ careers, and employer awareness and perceptions of student agencies. Her research has been published in Journal of Advertising Education, Public Relations Review, Journalism and Mass Communications Educator, and PRSA’s The Strategist and Tactics Online. At Elon, she teaches undergraduate Strategic Communications courses, as well as the Organizational Communications course in Elon’s M.S. in management program. She has a B.A. from Missouri Western State University and an M.S. in communications from Northwestern University.

Jeffrey Ranta

Jeff Ranta is an assistant professor of communications, media, & culture at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to his teaching debut 16 years ago, he was a Naval officer and marketing communications executive. His career highlights include vice president for RBB/Weber Shandwick Miami; executive positions in Atlanta and Columbia, SC boutique agencies; service as a division officer/public affairs officer for a U.S. Navy destroyer, Yokosuka Japan; public affairs officer for the aircraft carrier USS Constellation; assistant public affairs officer for Naval Base Philadelphia; acting director for the Navy Office of Information in Atlanta; and founder/principal for two, full service, marketing communications agencies. Some of his clients include Coca-Cola, BellSouth, Chick-fil-A, NewellRubbermaid, Shoney’s, Golden Corral, and various automobile dealerships. He established The Carolina Agency at the University of South Carolina in 2005 and turned it into a PRSSA nationally affiliated agency with more than 20 award-winning campaigns and four Bateman national championships. He recently established Coastal Carolina’s student agency, Teal Nation Communications. Ranta has a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, where his dissertation examined the interface between student-run agencies and the current shift from public relations to strategic communications.

Harold Vincent

Hal Vincent is a lecturer in communications at Elon University and the current faculty director of Live Oak Communications. A graduate of VCU’s Brandcenter, he spent nearly 15 years in advertising and integrated communications agencies in New York, Philadelphia, and Tampa working for clients such as Nabisco, Tropicana, Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth New Jersey, The Pennsylvania Lottery, The Florida Aquarium, and the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has supervised numerous industry internship programs and is the former interim director of the Zimmerman Advertising Program at the University of South Florida. He took over the faculty director position of Live Oak in 2013. Since then he has guided the agency in winning several academic and professional awards, and established Project ECHO, an insight and innovation partnership with global content marketing firm PACE. He was previously an advisor to numerous student advertising clubs and an AAF National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) coach and is a current board member of the Triangle Ad Fed and the AEJMC Advertising Division.

Related ISBN's: 9781524919672, 9781524953294




ISBN 9781524919672

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