Public relations campaigns are often designed with the goal of raising awareness about an event, an issue, a candidate or any number of other topics. Raising awareness, however, is not enough. To make change requires people connect and act: go to an event, donate to an organization, vote for a candidate. This semester, working with the faculty Research Resource Group, COMM 347 Strategic Public Relations set out to develop messaging and visual media to educate the BC community about ASPIRE and, more importantly, increase participation, both applicants and attendees, in future years.
ASPIRE stands for Arts, Scholarship, Performance, Innovation and Research Excellence. An annual event, it celebrates the best of BC academics, and yet it remains little known and engagement is not widespread both for attendance and for submissions to present, other than honors students.
The PR class completed initial work following the process of any PR project: defining the problem statement, identifying SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), and developing questions and conducting interviews of key stakeholders. From there, goals, objectives, strategies and tactics (GOST) were agreed upon.
Before the next steps could be completed – which included creating a promotional video to be used in 2021, developing recommendations for the client such as social media posts and advertising efforts, COVID brought the closing of the College, canceling events, including the 2020 ASPIRE, and putting classes online. The lack of access to the campus prevented completing the project.
Dewey, Ady, "#WhyASPIRE? Increasing participation in annual academic celebration" (2020). Strategic Public Relations Projects. 5.