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PR campaigns course partners with 1819 Innovation Hub

A&S students gain real world experience by designing PR campaigns for Cincinnati Bell and Kingsgate

By Monica Huzinec

Students at the University of Cincinnati are helping to create publicity campaigns for companies such as Cincinnati Bell that are working with UC's 1819 Innovation Hub.

UC students in the PR Campaigns class last semester connected with and developed communication plans for members of the local Cincinnati business community. 

PR certificate students in UC professor Suzanne Boys’ PR Campaigns class gain real-world experience as they meet client needs. Through these hands-on projects, they learn how to conduct applied market research; how to develop goals, objectives and tactics tailored to client needs; and how to pitch an integrated communications strategy.

Throughout the Fall 2019 semester, the class partnered with the 1819 Innovation Hub, which acts as a collaborative space where industry members can join with UC talent to bring revolutionary ideas to life.

Working with Innovation Hub clients established a connection with the local business community we hope to continue developing.

Suzanne Boys, UC professor of communication

The 1819 Innovation Hub is home to a wide array of businesses, from well-established companies to start ups. The hub provides a space for these companies to learn, grow and collaborate with UC students and employees. For their Fall 2019 PR Campaigns, students paired with Cincinnati Bell and Kingsgate Logistics. 

“The 1819 Innovation Hub brought two great corporate partners into the class experience,” Boys said. “We consistently work with local non-profit and small businesses, but students benefit from exposure to diverse types of clients. The 1819 Innovation Hub made that possible this term.”

Students were split into groups, listened to their clients’ needs and presented their campaign to the client at the end of the semester.

The Kingsgate Logistics team was asked to help counteract negative perceptions about the logistics industry. Kingsgate is a family-based business and wanted to share its unique organizational culture, especially with recent college graduates and mid-career job seekers. 

PR campaigns students present to Cincinnati Bell

PR campaigns students present to Cincinnati Bell

The Cincinnati Bell team was tasked with a similar project and asked that students come up with a marketing strategy to inform the general public about its corporate philanthropy to help them stand out in the telecommunications industry.

To execute this goal, students implemented what they called a “#CBCares Campaign.” 

Communication major Jacob Edwards explained that the campaign suggestions for Cincinnati Bell included sponsoring local events such as the Flying Pig Marathon, sending out new releases pertaining to the company’s corporate philanthropy, using #CBCares on social media platforms and creating direct mailers for Cincinnati Bell customers.

“Being a communication major pursuing a certificate in public relations, I was able to utilize what I learned in past classes when it came to the research methods and choosing language that resonated well with our target audience,” Edwards said.

By working with clients, the students had a chance to dive into the needs of corporate communications. Throughout the final presentations, the Innovation Hub clients asked the students good, critical questions allowing them to hear immediate feedback on their ideas. 

“Working with Innovation Hub clients established a connection with the local business community we hope to continue developing in coming semesters," Boys said.

"It is great to have ongoing connections with local corporations, and the Innovation Hub helped make that possible last semester. That said, for the students and me, it was a successful collaborative learning experience. My hope is that the clients found the students' ideas thought-provoking and creative.”