Written by Sarah George, PRINZ Student Ambassador
In 2015 PRINZ introduced a ‘PRINZ Student Ambassador Programme’ to increase engagement with students and, in addition to the Graduate Member class, give them a membership pathway. The programme gives students a head-start in the industry, encouraging them to participate in the PRINZ community. This blog post is written by Sarah George, PRINZ Office Assistant and Student Ambassador at AUT University, Auckland.
Nothing is more valuable to learning than practical, hands-on experience. This semester as part of the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Public Relations major, we had the opportunity to create our first campaigns. Our teams had the opportunity to work with some of the most deserving charities and not-for-profit organisations within New Zealand including Starship, Recreate and the Halberg Foundation.
My group was fortunate enough to land the client Able Products. Able is an organisation aiming to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. They have created an environment where their employees, all with some form of disability, can work without feeling self-conscious or bullied. Their employees are energetic and enthusiastic, working to build self-respect and confidence. By selling everyday cleaning products such as spray and wipe, glass cleaner, dishwashing liquid and toilet cleaner, Able can create a better work life for people with disabilities.
Throughout my time with Able Products I learnt incredibly valuable information that I can apply to my future work in the public relations industry. Below are five key lessons I learnt from creating my first PR campaign:
Timing is everything – the saying you hear over and over again. We found that use of a timeline was hugely beneficial, keeping us up to date on meetings, tasks and deadlines. Another crucial aspect of timing that I learnt was the importance of allowing enough time to get things done. Overloading yourself with tasks or being too optimistic about how long jobs will take will be detrimental in the long run. Be realistic – allow time for changes, proofreading and editing to produce your best work.
- Research is key
During my time at university they really tried to drum the idea of research into our brains. It’s easy to jump ahead to the creative planning part of a campaign but throughout this experience it became obvious that without research to support our ideas, they were incomplete.
- Determining team member strengths
Our group was extremely fortunate in that we each had different strengths. By discovering these early on in the project we were better able to delegate roles and responsibilities. This was a huge benefit to our team and enabled each of us to complete our personal tasks to a high standard.
Never be scared to seek a second opinion. Whether of a team member, mentor, friend or family member, sometimes an outsider’s fresh approach can see things you might have missed.
- Be prepared for change
Event postponements, strategy alterations, clients changing their minds – there are lots of areas where change is often inevitable. It is important to be flexible and keep an open mind in order to better respond to these changes.
These are just five lessons I have learnt from campaign experience. I look forward to gaining more valuable skills and insights as I progress on the public relations career path.
Picture credit: iStock