Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
Advertising companies in Los Angeles recognize that the media and communications worlds are growing in such as way that advertising and public relations are becoming less solo and more involved with each other. Thus, merging the two subjects in a single course would be quite beneficial to advertising, public relations, and Los Angeles marketing students respectively.
Such a “student agency” has been built by the San Jose University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Students can work with the staff at their university or college by joining curriculums in such a way that it manifests into a advertising and public relations student agency. Forming a student agency allows the students to exercise their strengths as if they were at a real agency with real clients. It is important for students to thoroughly discuss the prospect of a student agency with their colleagues, peers, and higher-ups for any feedback on how to form the agency and what coursework will be involved.
First off, if this student agency were to function similar to an actual agency, then it would be ideal for student to apply to the student agency as if they were applying for a job at an actual agency. Therefore, the student agency should ideally be an exclusive class project, and not just something anyone can get involved in; only the best and brightest should join the agency, just like the mindset that any Los Angeles marketing or advertising agency would have.
This means that the students chosen will likely be upper classmen who likely have all of their required coursework completed and even have had one or two internships under their belt. Have the students fill out an application and include their resume or student transcript. If time permits, candidates should be interviewed in advance on why they want to join the student agency and how their strengths will contribute to the agency.
To match real-world operations at an agency, you should have actual clients to work with. With these clients, you can have them give a small fee or donation to the cause, which would cover start-up fees and other requirements like printers, furniture and other office supplies. This also means that the program should be known throughout the community, as well as other universities who might also want to make contributions.
Having students engaging in both on- and off-campus clients can give your students experience in many different platforms, from digital promotions to billboard advertising Los Angeles.
Before adopting a full, heavy list of clients for the students, one should start small. As a starting point, the agency should only have one client: the agency itself. The student agency, after all, also needs to know how to market and promote itself, making itself known to the rest of the community. Let the students brainstorm a name for their agency; the name of the school’s founder might be appropriate, or whatever other name the students come up with that is suitable.
During your student-run operation, the teacher as facilitator should also promote cross-departmental opportunities within the college itself. This means adopting clients on campus from different departments, such as the college television station or the student newspaper.
Students involved in competitive group projects across different disciplines will get them an invaluable competitive edge in the job market. More importantly, it provides the student a basis for how to perform the job in the real world, as well as a panoramic view of the industry.