Innovative Public Relations, UCM’s student led PR firm, recently asked its Twitter followers what #teamUCM meant to them. Most students replied with answers like basketball, community and school pride; but my mind? My mind was automatically filled with boxes upon boxes of prizes, dozens of documents about social media postings, looming deadlines and dreaded 8 a.m. meetings. It had never been so evident that I was, in fact, an IPR account specialist.
This social media event, hosted alongside UCM Athletics, aims at bringing together the entire UCM community to interact and cheer on the Mules and Jennies at the Blackout Game, February 7, 2015. When Jonathan Haile, IPR’s graduate assistant, first spoke to us about #teamUCM, I greatly underestimated the time and work such an event would require. It just seemed like a game day that would be filled with lots of twitter posts and really cool prizes.
Three weeks later and knees deep into the planning, I began to realize how much, even in a short period of time, #teamUCM would develop me as a public relations professional. It utilized most of my PR skills and made me recognize how important a functioning team is even off the court.
If I could boil all that I have done so far into one basic lesson learned, it would be that an effective team effort is vital for any public relations campaign.
An event the size #teamUCM, as large as it has become, requires a significant amount of preparation. Not only are there logistics such as recruiting sponsors and organizing prizes, but the social planning alone is a great feat to accomplish. I’ve been responsible for social media at two other internships, but nothing has compared to the work that has gone into the social media postings for #teamUCM. With two social media accounts to manage and almost 100 prizes to give away from 18 different sponsors, Twitter and Instagram posts have to be much more coordinated and thought-out than a typical post. This workload can only be effectively carried out with a team of people whom are able to properly communicate and help each other out when needed. Luckily, IPR has that kind of team.
All of our work was a collaborative effort. While I wrote the scripts for the Instagram posts, a teammate helped edit them and another found the pictures to accompany the descriptions. Two members of our team put together most of the prize packs, but the other three were the ones to catalog and inventory the prizes into a spreadsheet for effective distribution. Every area of the planning process included contributions from all members of the IPR team.
As a senior student about to enter the “real-world”- I am greatly thankful to have this experience to showcase, even if organizing dozens of water bottles still haunts my dreams. My portfolio is full of individual work done for class and my internships; this campaign shows my ability to work within a team to create an event much bigger than anything I could have done on my own. I suspect I will be working within teams no matter what kind of job I do next and #teamUCM has shown me the impactful difference teamwork can have.
As Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” While we’ll leave the basketball playing to the Mules and Jennies, I’d say the IPR team has won a championship of its own.
Learn more about what IPR has done and is currently doing at, www.ucmoinnovativepr.com.