A look into 1804 Communication- the Student-run Firm of Scripps PRSSA

1804 Communication members posing for a group photo.
1804 Communication is the Student-run Firm of Scripps PRSSA at Ohio University. (Image- 1804 Communication)

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has provided many amazing opportunities to students worldwide. A big part of PRSSA is the professional development members acquire from both the Chapter and its Student-run Firm. Student-run Firms are essential to the growth and development of students due to the hands-on learning experience.

My passion stems from being involved in 1804 Communication, the Nationally Affiliated Student-run Firm of Scripps PRSSA at Ohio University. 1804 Communication has provided me with the industry skills and knowledge required in the professional world. Professional development opportunities include:

  • Crafting social media strategies.
  • Developing client campaign messaging.
  • Managing professional social media accounts.
  • Designing graphics and other creative materials for clients.
  • Writing blogs specific to current industry trends.

Through 1804 Communication I have built a portfolio of relevant industry experience, taken on leadership roles and connected with other dedicated pre-professionals in the field. This year I will be serving as the director of internal operations. I could not be more grateful to represent 1804 Communication and work with other passionate students. I highly recommend getting involved in your Student-run Firm at the beginning of your first year.

What Has Worked for 1804 Communication

The organizational structure of 1804 Communication. (Image- 1804 Communication)

1804 Communication is set up with five different departments that all work together to provide a full suite of client services. This design also allows students to find the right fit for their interests while establishing relationships with peers.

The Client Services and Content Creation Departments

The client services department establishes formal yet personal relationships with clients. Client services organizes and implements events for clients, produces social media analytics reports and oversees the timeline of projects for clients.

The content creation department develops ideas and produces design work for campaigns, brand messaging, social media strategy, flyers, posters and other content based on the interests and needs of clients.

One client services and one content creation account executive are placed together and usually work with two of the firm’s clients. Client services and content creation account associates are aligned with the account executives. Account executives delegate work to account associates and help guide them in their roles. Students are given the opportunity to move up in the firm through leadership roles.

Business Development

Our business development department strives to acquire new clients and works to create new opportunities for our firm. They craft messaging and promote our services to clients, which allow our firm to expand its outreach. This has opened many doors for 1804 Communication.

Research and Strategy

Research and strategy serves clients by researching industry trends specific to our current clients’ interests and needs. They also identify the most effective media outlets for information to be disseminated based on what our clients are striving to accomplish.

The Internal Department

Our internal department works to establish firm culture and ensure members are engaged in the department they are placed in and are getting the most out of their experience. Surveys are sent asking members to assess their experience in 1804 Communication based on the following questions:

  • Are you enjoying the work you are doing?
  • Are you getting along with fellow team members?
  • Are you interested in joining another department?

The survey results are kept confidential and allow the firm to constantly improve the work environment for each member. This survey also allows our members the opportunity to provide feedback on enhancements to future firm operations.

Collaborative Work Environment

Collaboration is a key element when working to fulfill client needs and engaging each member of the firm. With COVID-19 having major impacts on how organizations will operate, it is now more important than ever to maintain an engaging firm culture.

A few examples of how 1804 Communication has worked to create a cohesive work environment include:

Each department gives weekly status updates on current projects.

  • This increases awareness and collaboration between departments.
  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, project updates will continue through virtual meetings.

An engaging in-person or virtual work environment is critical to collaboration.

  • For in-person meetings, using a roundtable format creates an interactive, engaging and creative workspace.
  • For virtual meetings, find what platform works best for your firm. Our firm is using Zoom.

Leadership checks in on individuals and departments.

  • When necessary, leadership should hold additional one-on-one check-ins and/or department meetings to ensure the firm is still on track to achieve its goals.

Key Takeaways

Collaboration is key.

  • What strategies can leadership implement in order to increase fluidity and cohesiveness within the firm?

Firm culture is essential to the success of the firm.

  • Is your firm designed in a way that allows members to interact frequently with one another?
  • Do members feel they are supported and can ask questions?

Members should feel they are getting the most out of their experience.

  • Implement surveys or check-in meetings to ensure each member is benefiting from their time in the firm.
  • Positive leaders lay the foundation for a positive work environment where members learn, contribute and grow in their field.

Attract and retain a diverse set of clients.

  • 1804 Communication has local and nonlocal clients. It’s beneficial to work with diverse clients with different needs so students can develop a multifaceted skill set in preparation for a professional work environment.

If your school does not have a Student-run Firm, start one! You can always reach out to the vice president of professional development on PRSSA’s National Committee. For more resources on Student-run Firms, please see this link.

Casey George is a junior studying strategic communication in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, with a minor in marketing and a certificate in social media. She is currently interning at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a translational research communication intern. George has gained a wealth of experience through PRSSA and 1804 Communication. She is the upcoming vice president of finance for Scripps PRSSA and director of internal operations for 1804 Communication. She also serves as a District Ambassador for PRSSA National. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading, playing basketball, drinking coffee and hanging out with friends.

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