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PR plan on a shoestring budget

December 17th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

As the PR class (BUMK 758R) draws to a close, our final group project was to come up with a PR plan for an organization. We worked with Kollaboration DC to help them devise a PR plan to grow their outreach and popularity.

Kollaboration DC’s signature event is an annual event and movement produced by young Asian and Pacific Islander professionals and students, volunteering their time and skills to celebrate the vast talents of their community and hopefully bring them into the mainstream*. Kollaboration DC is a 100% volunteer organization whose operating budget comes from its event’s ticket sales. For the past three years they have sold just enough tickets to break even.

Our challenge was to come up with a PR plan with almost no budget. We met with the executive director to understand more about his vision where he wants to take the organization. Here is what we discovered about Kollaboration DC:

  1. Caters to diverse Asian community in the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area
  2. Members are between ages of 18 and 40 years
  3. Vision to increase its membership
  4. 100% ticket sales of its signature Kollaboration DC event next fall

Armed with the above information our group got together and came up with two-point plan:

  1. Increase awareness using social media
  2. Develop content to keep the members engaged

We also propose the use of QR codes and monthly newsletters to keep the members updated and engaged about the upcoming events. We are very excited about our PR plan and can’t wait to see the results.

Abhinav Gupta is a 2013 MBA candidate focusing on Strategic Management. Prior to Smith School, he has worked as a management consultant in Singapore. He is currently a Leadership Fellow with Office of Career Services at Smith School of Business and Vice President of International Student Affairs of MBA Association. In his spare time Abhinav loves to cook and fly kites.

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20/20 – Presenting on a timer

December 16th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

In a MBA class, if you are not listening to a lecture or not discussing case chances are you are presenting. Presentations are integral part of the MBA life and beyond. Each person has an individual presentation style. While some prefer more pictures in their presentation while others prefer more words but we all agree avoid information overload – the so called death by presentation.

20/20, also known as PechaKucha, is an interesting presentation format. In this format, every student in the PR class (BUMK 758R) was given a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds (20 slides, 20 seconds each) to present on any topic of his/her choice.

Sounds interesting? Yes it is, only if you are sitting in the audience. This assignment was particularly challenging due to its format.  Spending 20 seconds on each slide and linking each slide to build a story can get tricking. Like everyone, I also struggled initially to come up with theme for the presentation. This is how I approached on preparing my 20/20 slide deck:

  1. Pick a topic I know everything about
  2. Pictures speak thousand words
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Build a story on slide at a time
  5. Practice, Practice, Practice – you can’t wing it

If you are wondering the topic of my presentation, I chose my travels of past 15 years to 8 countries and how it has helped me in my personal and professional life. Surprisingly, once I chose the topic the challenge was not in creating the slides but in sifting through over 100 GB of photos to pick the right ones.

I enjoyed working on this assignment and this presentation format has given me insights on how to make better and compelling presentations.

Abhinav Gupta is a 2013 MBA candidate focusing on Strategic Management. Prior to Smith School, he has worked as a management consultant in Singapore. He is currently a Leadership Fellow with Office of Career Services at Smith School of Business and Vice President of International Student Affairs of MBA Association. In his spare time Abhinav loves to cook and fly kites.

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Internal communication – key to build strong organizations

December 16th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

PR/Communication has become an important and integral part of an organization’s messaging to the outside world. Do it right, your company will earn praise (examples), on the other hand, do it wrong your company will attract a lot of bad press and in some cases legal action (example). As these examples suggest, companies have taken external communication very seriously and have spent millions of dollars to get the right message out.

What about internal communication? Do companies need to focus only on external communication? Our class presentation on internal communication found it otherwise. Irrespective of the size of an organization, we found internal communication is as important as external communication. It is essential for companies to build a brand from within first.

From my past work experience, I found internal communication is very important especially in case of mergers/acquisitions. I have worked for two companies in the past that went through ownership change. The way these two companies handled internal communication about the ownership change decided the course for company’s future.

For example, the senior leadership of the first company (we will call company X) scheduled town hall like meetings with employees at each of two campuses in the country. The intention was to communicate this information first hand and alleviate any concerns employees may have. The leadership team took time to answer individual questions and explained why this was a better move. Result: Employees were satisfied and focused on work rather than unnecessary gossip or worry.

This was not the case in the second company (we will call company Y) I worked for. The two partners were in disagreement in selling the stake of the company. Their disagreement led to confusion about the future of the company. With each passing day employees were worried about their future and the partners didn’t try to address that worry. Result: Within two months two-thirds of the employees (including one partner) left the company.

In conclusion, we see that internal communication at times is even more important than external communication for an organization and its survival. Every company – big or small – needs to invest time and resources to build a solid foundation from within via internal communication.

Abhinav Gupta is a 2013 MBA candidate focusing on Strategic Management. Prior to Smith School, he has worked as a management consultant in Singapore. He is currently a Leadership Fellow with Office of Career Services at Smith School of Business and Vice President of International Student Affairs of MBA Association. In his spare time Abhinav loves to cook and fly kites.

 

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