PRactical ADvantage Communications is an integrated student-run agency at California State University, Fullerton. Our agency was established in 2011 as a collaboration between communication students and faculty.
The Agency's purpose is to offer students hands-on experience in a real-world setting, with the support from faculty advisers.
The Agency provides the opportunity for students to develop and implement advertising campaigns, events and/or public relations activities for local businesses and non-profit organizations, as well as for programs and student organizations at CSUF.
We educate students for a lifetime of success as ethical communication professionals. We build strategic, creative, powerful campaigns for real-world clients. We serve the public interest, locally and globally. We contribute to economic success, sustainability, and social justice for everyone.
Values & Philosophy
Our values and philosophy underline the foundation of this Agency as these are the standards we have set for our vision.
Our values are Innovation, Collaboration, Practicality, Integrity, Responsiveness.
We advance every Client project by our philosophy: “under-promise and over-deliver.”
What Services Does PRactical ADvantage Communications Offer?
Comprehensive, integrated communications services including public relations, advertising, social media, research, etc. Students can provide:
Strategic communication planning, research / data analysis, social media development and management, event planning / coordination / promotions / publicity, news releases and media kits, brochure design / creation, public service announcements, newsletters and feature articles, and graphic design.
As a Client, What Kind of Help Can I Expect Within a 15-week Academic Semester, Are There Time-restraints?
Our students focus on planning and executing small to substantial campaign efforts that can bring about immediate, measurable success.
Initial client consultations are held at the beginning of each academic semester after we assign students to a client. Research is completed to verify the client’s communication strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
A client campaign proposal is developed and subsequently approved by the client and the professors. From this proposal, a campaign is conducted. Our students seek to provide measurable and attainable success within this timeframe in which the client’s campaign is carried out.
At the end of the academic semester, clients are entitled to a final presentation. The student team that performed the work presents the final results along with a written report.
What Resources Does Your Agency Have Access To?
The Agency provides labor, computer hardware, and software support, along with basic office support and materials to conduct public relations services on behalf of the client. The client must assume any additional out-of-pocket costs in advance.
Additional costs would include items, such as business letterhead, envelopes, postage, photographic film, long-distance telephone charges, necessary subscriptions, specialized computer software, subcontractor fees, or travel costs (gasoline, parking fees, etc.).
As a Client, Will I Have to Sign an Agreement?
Yes. Our agency signs a “Client Services Agreement & Sponsorship” form before any work begins. This agreement confirms that a business organization (the Client) has retained our Agency to provide communication services and/or event planning.
This agreement outlines deliverables, sets expectations, establishes service requirements, etc., allowing everyone involved the understanding to the general framework under which public relations, advertising or marketing services will be provided.
Does PRactical ADvantage Communications Charge Fees for the Services it Provides?
Yes. The Agency offers its services at a minimal cost. As an Agency, we are accountable to the University and to California taxpayers. The Agency uses taxpayer-provided resources to benefit organizations in the marketplace. In so doing, the Agency works on a cost recovery basis so that expenses resulting from work that benefits a client can be offset through a Client sponsorship. The Agency also works with selected nonprofits on a pro bono basis, at instructor discretion.
Sponsorship of fees enables our Agency to purchase and maintain the equipment and supplies needed, allowing us to provide the full capabilities of an integrated marketing agency.
In-kind donations are possible—the Agency is always grateful to receive external support from the business community and welcomes financial aid that further the mission of our department.
who Are the Students in PRactical ADvantage Communications?
PRactical ADvantage Communications operates in conjunction with the COMM 474 [Department of Communications—Advertising, Entertainment and Tourism Communications, and Public Relations] Capstone course.
Students in advertising, entertainment, and public relations curriculum track take this course to meet the requirements of their capstone course.
Strong conceptual and hands-on learning experiences offer opportunities for students to build their portfolios.
Each semester enrolls as many as 60 junior or senior level students who are broken down into account teams.
Since 2011, 614 students have completed the agency course.
What Are the Qualifications of the Students in the PRactical ADvantage Agency?
PRactical ADvantage Communications is different from other programs offered at CSUF. There is a mixture of public relations, advertising, and entertainment and tourism students that collectively work together.
Students from diverse specializations can exchange ideas about various aspects of a field.
Crossover within the work we do brings a lot of value in learning new skills.
Additionally, to gain perspectives from the younger generation, we position companies to work with college students.
Do Professors in the Industry Guide Students?
Yes. PRactical ADvantage Communications’ work on behalf of clients is overseen by professors who teach and professionally work in the industry. Collectively, the organization is overseen by four industry professionals with three of them maintaining their own agencies. The professors guide each team as they plan and execute client projects.
Weekly staff meetings allow work to be reviewed, goals established, and results documented.
The establishment of our new Agency Advisory Board provides valuable guidance and direction.
Students can access additional information through the agency’s student business manager. This position, although not directly involved in curriculum delivery or client services, does coordinate the business functions of the Agency.
Who Are the Advisors that Oversee the Students’ Work?
Dr. Doug Swanson, Ken Hagihara, Keith Kesler and Pete Evanow collectively offer more than 100 years of experience in the advertising / public relations / media management professions.
How Does PRactical ADvantage Communications Maintain Appropriate Professional Standards?
YES. PRactical ADvantage Communications operates in adherence to the nationally affiliated Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) code of ethics. .
Students who work in PRactical ADvantage Communications pledge to uphold these professional standards in all the work they do.
What are PRactical ADvantage Communications Limitations?
Because our Agency is operated as a real public relations firm, there will always be a certain level of trial and error involved as students work to develop appropriate action and response communication on behalf of clients.
All students’ activities are overseen by industry professionals who each have at least 20-years-experience in their particular areas of public relations and/or advertising.
In the consultation at the outset of the campaign, students will discuss limitations with clients so that everyone understands the available opportunities and the potential for success through our students’ work.
Students are enrolled in just one academic semester and campaigns are usually completed within the same timeframe. Some campaigns continue beyond the end of the academic semester and will be advanced by a new group of students, upon approval.
Why Should I Work with PRactical ADvantage Communications? What’s In It For Me?
Our agency has a track record of success and strong references from past clients. We work with a limited number of clients each semester, so our students can develop thoughtful, high quality and successful campaign or event for each client. Demonstrating the highest standards of integrity when dealing with clients, reporters, and colleagues is also our focus.
We create a clear vision the client can understand and is willing to embrace.
Campaigns are designed to package the message in audience-appropriate language, analogies, and examples that allow the client to relate to its key audience
Students are responsible for meeting client’s commitments and deadlines
We keep accurate records of all work and protect all confidential information
Our students take accountability for mistakes
Campaigns use SMART objectives: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound
I Already Have a Marketing Team. How Can PRactical ADvantage Provide Value to Us?
Our Agency recognizes the difference between the two terms, “marketing” and “public relations,” and they are not interchangeable. Defining what makes them different can help you create better-focused marketing and PR campaigns, with better objectives, goals and expected outcomes.
PR functions around building favorable relations with the organization’s key publics. Marketing is about promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
PR audiences consist of a range of publics (customers, employees, suppliers, investors, media, etc.), who collectively support the organization’s objectives. Marketing targets the customer as its key audience and works hard to meet customers’ needs.
Savvy marketing and public relations professionals should integrate marketing and PR into their strategies to achieve optimal organizational success.
What Types of Challenges Can a PRactical ADvantage Team Help Us Address?
Public relations experts help an organization stand apart from the crowd as there is a lot more than employing PR companies or about issuing press releases. PR is all about managing your reputation - and there is nothing more valuable as a good reputation.
PRactical ADvantage Communications can help an organization present itself in its best light by maintaining or enhancing its brand image thus creating loyalty towards your brand image in the minds of the target audience.
Your reputation is every single aspect of how your business relates to the outside world. PR enhances an organization’s standing in the eyes of the public, its stakeholders, employees, investors, the media and all others associated with it.
Understanding an organization's target audience is vital for a company's survival. PR contributes to an organizations' request to meet the essential needs and expectations of its target audience.
Who Are Some of the Organizations That PRactical ADvantage Has Worked with Previously?
Our agency has completed over 173 client campaigns and projects. We work with local profit and nonprofit businesses and organizations as well as for department programs and student organizations at CSUF. Some of our recent clients include:
CSUF / Department of Communications
CSUF / School of Nursing
CSU System Entertainment Alliance
Bob Hope USO
Boy Scouts of America
HJC Motorcycle Helmets
Thomas House Homeless Shelter
Cool Pencil Case
Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services
Majestic Pet Products
MAMM alliance for the Arts
Miracles for KIDS
The City of Anaheim
The Ferrari Club of America
The Fullerton Arboretum
The Growler Station
The Irvine Police Department
The U.S. Solar Decathlon
PRactical ADvantage Communications California State University, Fullerton