When I was in college, I worked as a stringer for a regional newspaper, delivering copy daily to the bus station down the hill from our campus, on my English bicycle with its rams head handle bars. The clippings I saved from the experience — including one front-page banner headline - were invaluable in landing my first reporting jobs, first in the Army, then in Philadelphia. Today, students working on a crowdsourcing project with Ketchum PR don't need bicycles, only their aspirations and Internet savvy.
Ketchum has more than 300 students at 22 universities involved in its Mindfire program, through which they brainstorm and develop ideas for Ketchum clients participating in the campus pool. The students get mind-stretching experience in a possible profession. And the PR firm is supplied with social media talent from bona fide universities. Ketchum links to its Mindfire "stringers" on its intranet. It thus has a campus collaboration community at-the-ready.
"More than 40 Ketchum clients have used Mindfire for creative inspiration," notes a Ketchum press release, "including Hertz, Wendy's, Frito-Lay North American and others."
"An unexpected dividend of our growing community is that it's proving to be an incredible talent pipeline," sayd Karen Strauss, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer at Ketchum and a co-developer of Mindfire." The Ketchum release notes that "Simeon Mellalieu, General Manager of Ketchum Hong Kong, recently hired two Mindfire members as interns, and believes that the program helps the agency and, ultimately, its clients. 'The open innovation community platform lets me spot individuality, creativity, enthusiasm, and drive for a PR career in an instant, without having to trawl through the dozens of homogenous résumés I receive each month for internships or full-time positions.'"
A win-win initaitive for all concerned, it seems. Except that there's nothing in this latter-day outreach for bus or bicycle companies.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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