Public Relations event pits students against students

MIRANDA MARITATO | Staff Reporter Bateman Blue Team

Two teams of Butler University students have been faced with the challenge of competing for public relations bragging rights.

The Bateman Case Study Competition is the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) premier annual national case study event. It is geared toward public relations students.

The competition gives students the opportunity to apply classroom education and internship experiences. In teams of four or five, students are challenged to research, plan, implement and evaluate a comprehensive public relations campaign.

PRSSA partnered with Fiserv, Inc., a leading global provider of financial services and technology solutions, for this year’s event. Participants must gain awareness and usage of a Fiserv service: Popmoney, which facilitates digital person-to-person payments.

Popmoney allows users to securely send, request and recycle money from their existing bank accounts using just an email address or mobile phone number.

Senior Hilary Welter, strategic communications major and a participant of the White Team, said this year’s campaign differs from last year.

“This year has been kind of a challenge because, in past years, the client has been more of an idea,” Welter said. “There wasn’t an organization with it. It was just an idea, so there was a lot of leeway.

“This year, we’re working with an actual corporate brand, so there’s a lot more rules and regulations.”

Butler’s two competing groups are the Blue Team and the White Team.

The White Team focused on a target audience of college students preparing for spring break.

“We knew that, with this service, we would need a strategy and objective that created a need, because we knew people would need a reason (to listen),” Welter said. “We went into the competition with the mindset that people need to know that they need this.

The White Team chose “Don’t $weat Spring Break” as its campaign.

One of the team’s most successful tactics in its campaign was called “Get in $hape!”

The event consisted of a short presentation about Popmoney, a cardio and strength training workout led by two experienced fitness instructors, and a balloon dartboard.

If participants hit and popped a balloon, they either got a small prize or a Popmoney-related tip, Welter said.

Senior Clare Lintzenich, public relations and marketing major and participant of the Blue Team, said her squad aimed for a broad target audience.

“Our team strategy is basically just to make people aware of (Popmoney),” she said. “Instead of trying to make people register, we try to make them aware.”

The Blue Team took on “Be Popular” as its campaign.

“We’ve had a couple of tables set up in Starbucks, and we passed out pop and lollipops going along with the whole Popmoney theme,” Lintzenich said. “We have a Twitter (account) encouraging people to be popular. We’ve reached out to a lot of area landlords to make them aware that this is something that people that rent from them could do.”

Research and planning for campaigns is completed between November and January. Teams implement campaigns in February, and final entries are due to PRSSA in March.

After a judging process, three finalists are chosen to present their campaigns to sponsor representatives.

The first-place team receives $2,500 and a trophy, second place receives $1,500 and a plaque, and third place receives $1,000 and a plaque.

“The past three years, Butler has gotten at least an honorable mention,” said senior Christine Todd, strategic communications major and member of the White Team.

Lintzenich said she thinks Butler’s campaigns—and those of other northern schools—were affected negatively by weather this year.

“It seems like the a lot of schools that typically do well are in the south that don’t have to worry about weather,” Lintzenich said. “A couple of times we had tables in Starbucks when we thought we would have a lot of people show up. It was snowing, so no one was there.”

The 2013 Batemen Case Study Competition first-place winner was Loyola University New Orleans. Butler did not place, but Butler University Team 1 received an honorable mention.

“It’s a great way for PR students at Butler to build a portfolio for internships and jobs,” Todd said. “It’s a great way to combine educational efforts with professional efforts.”

Butler’s teams will find out if they placed among the top three in May.