Four students compete in public relations challenges

Story by Lauren Manecke

In a silent room sat four Drake University students. The tension was high, and the occasional clicking of keys on the keyboard was all that sounded on Monday night in Meredith Hall.

Students were preparing for a big competition: Bateman.

Bateman is a case-study competition that allows members of the Public Relations Student Society of America to compete in a public relations premier national case-study competition.

This year, the campaign is to promote general awareness of the brand Popmoney, a person-to-person payment service that is available through 1,900 banks and credit unions.

Four public relations students from Drake are participating in the Bateman competition led by Jennifer Konfrst, assistant professor of public relations.

“This is my first year doing Bateman. As a new PR faculty member, Bateman was a good opportunity for me to get involved and meet new students,” Konfrst said. “But the hard part about leading it is that I’m only allowed to advise the students, so it’s difficult not to weigh in and give them input.”

Teams consist of four or five students who research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign.

In the months of November through January, research and planning are done. The implementation period is in February, and in March, the final entries are due to PRSSA headquarters. Bateman is a yearly competition with a new client each time, but this year was different.

“This year was one of the first times a for-profit company was the client. It really changes how everything is done because there are legal regulations and guidelines that we have to meet, or we are infringing on their brand guidelines,” said Savana Morrison, a first-year public relations major and Bateman team member.

There were around 200 teams that entered the competition this year. Only three finalists are chosen to pitch their campaigns to the client in May.

Although only the Top-3 finalists receive prizes, they are all recognized at the National PRSSA Conference. The first-place team gets $2,500 and a trophy, second place gets $1,500 and third place gets $1,000.

Second- and third-place teams are awarded with plaques as well.

“I would love to get Top-3 because it would show that all our hard work paid off,” said Laura Plumb, a junior public relations major and Bateman team member.

Each school enters a book with its own design.

“Our book has a 10-page plan that includes what our goals were before the competition and results,” Morrison said.

“There is an appendix, and that is anything we want to show the judges that has to do with our competition. We are also putting things in the book from our Facebook posts, pictures and surveys.”

Some schools use it as a final capstone, while Drake students do it to get extra PR experience.

“It is all done on the students’ own time. It is very impressive what they get done,” Konfrst said.

Bateman is a chance for students to expand their public relations experience.

“For PR students, they should know it’s a good opportunity to implement a campaign because that’s not something you get to do in your classes,” Plumb said.

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