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Public Relations Plan

Presently, Spark Strategic Ideas is a full-service ad agency growing rapidly by the day, however
it lacks the prominence of many of its competitors who offer competitive internship programs to
lure in college students looking for experience in the field. Acquiring young talented individuals,
is key in the advertising business and the lack of a proper internship program is a major
weakness for the agency. Brands grow and as a burgeoning brand Spark needs to grow itself,
not only in terms of its clientele, but also in regards to the business itself. By not doing so, Spark
could run the risk of depreciating its brand when compared with other regional and local
competitors. It is for this reason that our team has put together a comprehensive public relations
plan in order to construct an internship program specifically for Spark which has been coined
Spark Academy.
Based on an analysis of the market and a complete review of current Spark efforts, our team
has composed a complete strategic approach for the launching of this new Spark venture.Our
plan depicts a careful time frame, as well as, several sensible suggestions that our team
believes will ensure a place for Spark at the forefront of the competition for years to come.
Below is presented a set of program goals and primary objectives that our team believes can be
readily obtained through careful execution of the proposed plan of action listed thereafter.
Overall Program Goals
Enhance the Spark brand as well as increase overall brand awareness
Leave a strong footprint across various social media platforms thus making Spark more
accessible to the masses
Obtain a constant pool of applicants each semester available to intern with Spark
Amplify efforts to attract young talented individuals
Cement relationships with North Carolina colleges and universities, particularly those in
the communications and business departments in order to gain traction with students
and administrators
Showcase the unique experience that is interning at a full-service agency, Spark
Short-Term objectives
The following short-term goals will function as a starting point for the Spark Academy program:
Increase website traffic to over 15 hits a week between October and December
Increase number of intern related calls/call backs by 25%
Post internship listings across selected schools and other websites before Columbus
DayOct 13
Garner an applicant pool of between 10-50 applicants for Spring 2015 semester
Select 1-4 quality interns and notify each of their acceptance by December 8
Current interns receive between 1-3 correspondence interactions in regards to intern
experience at Spark
Long-Term Objectives
All of the suggested objectives are proposed to be long-lasting and permanent components of
Spark Academy.

Continue to market Spark Academy through social media channels each semester and
advance interaction with proposed social media accounts provided in this proposal.
Maintain relationships built with university contacts
Consistently post internship opening semesterly on proposed sources.
Sustain Spark Internship Project each semester to ensure the continued success of
Spark Academys branding.
Primary and Secondary Research
The agreed audience for Spark Academy is 18 to 24 year old males and females. More
specifically, this targeted audience is attending a four-year university in the southeast United
States and is studying a subject relevant to marketing or communications. To better understand
this audience a survey was conducted for primary research and DemographicsNow,a
household-based segmentation system that classifies all U.S. households and neighborhoods
into 71 Unique Mosaic types and 12 groupings that share similar demographic and
socioeconomic characteristics, was used for secondary research. Throughout the public
relations plan proposed are objectives and ideas to better serve the research results found.
Primary Research
The survey conducted included five questions and 69 completed surveys. Of the completed
surveys, 68 were between the ages of 18 and 24, one was 25 or older, all living in the United
After asking the applicants age, only those who responded 18-24 years of age were able to
complete the following four questions.
First the survey asked whether they preferred one Facebook tab design over the other. A
majority chose the second option at 69 percent, compared to 31 percent that chose the first
option (Sparks current internship Facebook tab). The following question found that out of all
resources on the Internet, 40 percent use LinkedIn and 38 percent use their University's career
center site to search for an internship. Other responses included Indeed, SimplyHired,
InternMatch, Intern Queen, PRSSA, Google search and a companys website. When asked
how far of a distance are you willing to travel for an internship, 37 percent had no restrictions
on distance, 19 percent were willing to travel one to two hours, 20 percent within the state and
24 percent would prefer to stay within their current city. The last question asked what was the
biggest incentive to an unpaid internship. The responses were scattered with academic credit at
22 percent, location at 7 percent, workload flexibility at 17 percent and company at 35 percent.
This question also offered a free response option, from this answers included a large majority
pertaining to the overall experience, as well as, a nonprofit that serves the applicants interests
and the training program offered.
Secondary Research
To conduct secondary research the team used census statistics from DemographicsNow. The
targeted audience falls into the Colleges and Cafes demographic. This group tends to be
under 35 years old with college degrees with a high percentage of these young singles are
support staffers who work on campus or in service-sector jobs close to the schools

Engagement and Thought Leadership
Spark must take advantage of the many great schools and secondary institutions North Carolina
and surrounding areas have to offer. Given the prevalence of Charlotte as the largest city in
North Carolina, students--statistically speaking--tend to gravitate towards young, up-and-coming
metropolitan areas. Charlottes ability to offer employment opportunities in business and various
communications related ventures offers a steep incentive to college students planning for both
the summer and for after graduation.

By building relationships with internship coordinators and professors in the communications and
business departments at each school, Spark can increase awareness of the internship program
and the opportunities it entails.

Outside of forming relationships with schools and universities, it is also necessary to spread the
word by securing speaking opportunities at PRSSA events, advertising club events and other
relevant student and professional organizations on the campuses of targeted schools. Due to
client need, the team suggests Spark engages in speaking opportunities with local area schools.
To target the farther distanced universities, Spark can offer to digitally engage with the
universities student organizations and relevant courses.

Spark can also continue the tradition of conducting agency tours at least once a semester. By
conducting tours, potential applicants are exposed to Spark before even applying for the
program. Early exposure to a company or business has been known to make an impact on
where students choose to intern or even apply for employment. A positive experience for
students can result in an instant boom in terms of applications as students are able to see a
potential opportunity that they perhaps had no clue of prior to the visit. Tours must be conducted
as a way to sure up and excite potential applicants in the local area.

University Link
University of South
University of North
Carolina- Wilmington

University of North
Carolina- Charlotte
Appalachian State

East Carolina University
University of North
Carolina- Chapel Hill

Queens University of
Winthrop University

North Carolina State

Winston-Salem State
College of Charleston

Coastal Carolina

Wake Forest University

University of North
Carolina at Greensboro

North Carolina
Agricultural and
Technical State

Elon University


Communications and Marketing Departments

In order to maximize exposure in terms of the target audience, it is pertinent that there be
directed contact of the communications departments of universities and institutions in North
Carolina and surrounding areas. With thousands of students enrolled in North Carolina
institutions it is estimated that each year almost 4,000 students graduate with a degree in
communications or marketing, Spark Academy can fit nicely into this niche market by
positioning itself as the full-service agency experience when browsing for internship
opportunities in the Charlotte area. As the largest city in the state, Charlotte offers a bevy of
employment opportunities unavailable in other parts of the state.
In order to further tap into this market, Spark will need to expand upon current efforts to build
and maintain lasting relationships with some of the larger and more prominent schools in the
area. These institutions are lauded throughout the country for their top-notch programs and
career-ready alumni, thus it is imperative that Spark partner with these particular institutions in
order to continue the tradition of hiring quality interns.
Get in contact with the targeted schools and institutions
Due to the wide variety of resources available to schools and universities in the area it is
necessary to partner with these institutions in order to attain the attention of their students.
Through an array of media outlets such as Internet, social media, email and television schools
are able to provide the some of the most widespread and direct ways of communicating with
students. As it stands, Spark is a fairly small agency, however that does not necessitate an
inability to communicate with universities in the same manner that a larger agency might be able
to. By stressing the importance of growing interpersonal relationships between members of
Spark and those in the communications and business departments in the targeted schools,
Spark can create a solid network of education and department leaders who will be more inclined
to refer qualified students into an intern position at Spark. Given the weight of the words of a
lauded professor or counselor, Spark could find itself inundated with a plethora of Spark
Academy applicants in no time once having utilized significant influencers on campus.
Post listing to the school sanctioned job portal
According to a recent survey students admitted to using their schools job portal website to find
summer and post-graduate employment opportunities. Students are looking for co-op and
internship opportunities during the school year that can be worked on alongside their studies. By
posting on these school-wide job portals, Spark can draw the specific types of applicants
without having to put in any type of monetary deposit.
Inquire about attending career and internship fairs at each institution and any
additional costs that might be associated with attendance
Each year a number of school will hold internship and career fairs with the aim of exposing
students to a number of career paths that can be sought through obtaining a degree in a
particular course of studies. These events are some of the more popular career-related events
on campus and act as a platform for which students can pursue employment opportunities
before the summer job rush. The team has provided contact information to acquire specific
dates and facts about the events so that Spark can attend as many of these as possible.
Identify former alumni and utilize connections as a means to of networking within
the departments

Spark must readily take advantage of the many connections of former alumni, as well as, those
between adult organizations and the oncampus student organizations they were connected
with. Organizations such as PRSA should be integral aspects of the relationship between Spark
and each of the targeted school locations as they serve as a familiar network from which recent
and longtime alumni can interact and extend employment opportunities.
School Comm. department
Job portal site Internship
UNC Charlotte Joshua Lancaster
Corey Henderson
May 19 @
Fall 2014
August 18
@ noon
UNC Chapel Hill Allison Schlobohm

David Vogel

UNC Wilmington Tammy Bulger
(910) 962-7144
Teresa Walker

Dr. Marilyn Sarow
Dr. Keith Robbins

Ms. Dre Manoni
May 1 for
November 1
for Spring,
and April 1
for Summer
Eddie Smith


University of
South Carolina
Beverly Dominick


North Carolina
State University
Dean Simpson


State University
Dr. Olga Zatepilina-
Christy M. Cook


828-262-2145 mployers
East Carolina
Dr. Todd Fraley
Lee Brown

State University

Mr. James D.
Taylor, Jr.

College of

Katie Smith

Coastal Carolina

Ellen Ryan


Wake Forest
Dr. Michael Hazen

Amy Bull

University of
North Carolina at


North Carolina
Agricultural and
Technical State

Pamela Basheer

University of

Elon University

Nagatha Tonkins
Jan Pagoria
(336) 278-6065


Erin Cook
(704) 406-2170


Social Media
Social Media should be utilized in order to stay current within public relations. We suggest using
social media in order to inform schools of internship opportunities and the process of applying.
By using these social media outlets and strategies we can reach a broader spectrum of
applicants. Below are suggested courses of action to take in terms of social media.
1. Enhance all current pages such as Twitter and Facebook:
The team suggests using Twitter to interact with the accounts provided for the targeted
universities to build knowledge of internship opportunities and Spark as an agency. This can
obtained by individually contacting all seven of the Twitter accounts provided over the course of
the semester to increase the awareness of Spark Academys existence. This will also increase
the odds of students following the targeted accounts of discovering Spark and the internship
program, although these students may not be looking for an internship the students become
more mindful of Sparks internship opportunities.
The existing Spark Facebook can be used to promote awareness of Spark Academy, the newly
branded internship program. This can be upheld through a broad and limited spectrum of
communication. The Facebook page should have posts throughout each semester to target a
broad audience and also utilize private messaging to reach a more specific audience from the
contacts provided. A social media calendar as a been for provided for a specific guide for
targeting a broad audience.
We suggest the use of a graphic designer as a source to create a Facebook tab that is cohesive
with the branding proposed. In addition, if budget permits use a banner ad in order to reach the
targeted audience. Of our targeted audience 86 percent are Facebook users with a sizeable
portion having disclosed that they use Facebook on a daily basis.() There are two ways in which
Facebook allows you to bid for ads: cost per click (CPC) or cost per 1,000 ad views (CPM).
When setting up your ad campaign, you can choose which option you want. In the United
States, the average click costs advertisers $0.24 and the average CPM cost $0.66. (Prosser,
2. Create accounts for multiple sites that are relevant to the internship program, we suggest:

According to you can post and promote your internship on LinkedIns student jobs
portal for free. Posting to LinkedIn will be beneficial because of the information found in the
survey provided and it is also found that students are LinkedIn's fastest growing and most
engaged segment. This will broaden the amount and raise the quality of the applicants.
According to the AfterCollege Survey, Students recognize LinkedIn as one of the best tools to
jump-start their professional careers. Recent research shows that 35 percent of students plan to
use LinkedIn as a primary source for their job hunt, an 8X increase over the last two years.
Free to post internships:
3. Consider optional social media sites if time permits:
According to the first five posts are free. InternMatch is suggested because 18
people in our survey stated they check InternMatch for postings. By posting to InternMatch it will
increase traffic from both local and regional applicants who visit the site regularly.
According to, it is free to post a job opening. is the world
largest internship marketplace with over 57,000 companies that post for internship availabilities,
therefore this will broaden the amount of applicants Spark receives and will create more
awareness of Spark as a company.
Launchpad Ideas
Launchpad ideas are what make the campaign soar. Each Launchpad idea provides the brand
with substance and originality that will make it stand out for years to come. These ideas start
from a creative plan and launch into a necessary component that can easily transcend through
time. The following two Launchpad ideas are being proposed to do just that. As a result of the
primary and secondary research done, the opportunities provided support the brand and
address the minor weaknesses found.
Spark Academy website
Spark Academy semesterly internship project
The Spark Academy website would capture the targeted audience in an incomparable way by
providing possible applicants with a creative and intriguing website that supports both the Spark
Strategic Ideas brand but also the Spark Academy brand. The goal of this website is to illustrate
the internship program as a whole through a strategically and professionally demonstrated
package of artistic design and consummate content.
Launch Tactics

The suggested launch plan for the website can be found on the calendar provided. The
beginning creative design and verbiage has been generously mocked up by the talented Laura
Erickson, a freelance designer already accounted for under prior Spark retainer fees. Thus the
completion and further implementation of the website for Spark Academy can be coordinated
through Erickson.
Spark Academy Internship Project
The Spark Academy Internship Project would serve the targeted audience in their drive for a
hands-on and valuable experience at their internship. Through the proposed project all interns
that are chosen to complete Spark Academy would be able to complete a project where they
would gain the experience of putting together an entire public relations campaign while also
creating a substantial piece of work to add to their portfolio.
The Spark Academy Internship Project would be conducted semesterly with a final proposal at
the end of the semester. All of the interns for that semester would work together, much like an
agency does, to complete a campaign for Spark Academy. Through this project Spark would be
able to market the experience interns can gain and the opportunities they would be given during
their internship. The project also allows the interns to gain a hands-on approach unlike anything
the student would be able to complete at the internship or similar internship sites. This
launchpad idea would also allow the team at Spark to spend less time organizing and
maintaining the internship program but still allowing Spark Academy to succeed and flourish.
Each semester the chosen interns would complete the Spark Academy internship project. Each
group of interns would be assigned the same assignment with consistent main components to
complete. The team of students would assess Spark Academy where it stands at that point and
use their own knowledge and experience to evaluate and create a campaign for the brand. The
interns are given a brief overview of Spark Academy, what they may not know prior, and are
open to add additional components to the project as they see best fit.
o Main components always required:
Public relations plan
PowerPoint presentation
News release
Social media calendar
How we will measure the effectiveness of the campaign.
1. Benchmarking

The process of benchmarking, or goal tracking, is a way in which Spark can properly examine
the productivity and execution of Spark Academy. Each semester, Spark members can assess
what goals have, or have not, been met in an efficient manner so that changes can be made
quickly and effectively. By doing so, Spark will be able to examine our approach as the program
grows and any imperfections or roadblocks can be better understood.
2. Survey
By utilizing surveys as a means to obtain feedback, Spark can ensure the effectiveness of all
aspects of Spark Academy. Surveys can be further used in order to gauge the interest, as well
as, the overall awareness of the niche audience. In essence, Spark can use surveys to
continually reevaluate the program and its initiatives in a manner that can produce both
quantitative and qualitative results.
3. Reach
By measuring the reach, Spark can secure the success of influencing the targeted audience
through the campaign. The most simple way to estimate reach can be done so for the Spark
Academy campaign through measuring the increase applicants to the internship program. The
number of applicants will inform Spark whether the overall goal to reach the targeted audience
was successful.

Prosser, M. (2013, July 16). How Much Does Facebook Advertising Cost?. . Retrieved
July 30, 2014, from