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Students Deliver PR Strategy to Sony Electronics

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Students with fists raised in victory
Student PR team Power/PR won the challenge: (R to L) Angie Shumov, Jordan Weintraub, Luke Barr, Nikki Gale and Sophia Kebbede.

Over the past few years, professor Pallavi Kumar has been able to land top-notch clients such as Marriott, Honest Tea and the Newseum to give her PR Portfolio class the chance to develop a strategic communication plan for a real world client. This past spring was no different: her class was given the opportunity to work with SOC partner Sony Electronics.

The students were divided into groups of five, and their goal was to create a trans media strategic communication plan focused on increasing audience share for either Sony's Extra Bass (XB) Bluetooth speakers or their 1000x noise canceling, wireless, Bluetooth headphones. Each group had to focus their tactics on three audiences: Millennials, Music Lovers (other than Millennials) and a wildcard audience of their choosing.

The Sony Electronic representatives were delighted with the students' work. Director of Marketing at Sony Electronics, Rosemary Flynn, said, "I was blown away with the level of quality and professionalism from Professor Kumar's class. Clearly they put time and effort into every detail and it showed. Passionate, intelligent and driven - they nailed it."

students and professor standing on steps

PR Portfolio 2017 class. Professor Kumar is front, center in blue.

They had a clearly defined theme ("For the Love of Listening") that carried through every aspect of the plan, tying everything together, which is what Kumar believes landed them the winning position. "Their tactics were super creative and really fit with their target audience and captured the essence of the audience and the product." In addition, Power/PR had very effective collateral materials including an engaging video.

"Part of why Sony was interested in partnering with American and my PR Portfolio class was to tap into the Millennial and Gen Z thinking," said Kumar. "I think across the board, each team was really able to capture the ethos of those target audiences by coming up with creative strategies and tactics to change the mindset of the key audiences."

This year marked Kumar's 10th time teaching PR Portfolio. Even though she says teaching the class is demanding work, the reward of empowered students and a happy client make it all worthwhile in the end. Her best advice for future PR Portfolio students to have a successful plan would be great teamwork. "We focused a lot on team building and working in teams. I often used the quote, 'Teamwork is dreamwork' and seeing each team develop and pitch a complete strategic plan despite all the different personalities, strengths and schedules was wonderful to see."