For 16 weeks, Loyola University Maryland students worked with Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) as part of their public relations senior capstone class.
The team of Loyola students completed an awareness campaign highlighting the culture, community and creativity that BIG brings to this vibrant city. As a team, the four students visited The BIG Theater on Charles St. to kickoff their time in partnership with the organization.
Immediately, each member of the team - now branded as Unscripted PR - gathered a bit of real-time feel for what BIG offers nightly.
“Working alongside BIG gave me the opportunity not only to experience but also gain an appreciation for improv,” said Julia Cipriano, Unscripted PR team member.
Students each take one senior capstone course which demonstrates what they've learned through their studies. Within the class, each team is paired with a local non-profit which they assist to create exposure to their audiences.
"SUCH an amazing experience! I loved how interactive the cast was with the crowd. I can't wait to go back for some more laughs! Bring your friends, you won't regret it!" said Briget Ballard, team lead. "BIG gave me a true appreciation for what it takes to do improv."
They remained in close partnership with the marketing associate, Brian Young, September through December. The team met in weekly calls, exchanging ideas, and setting in motion the strategies used to launch a testimonials campaign into action.
In the university class's third semester partnering students with BIG, previous teams helped develop and solidify a press release outreach plan and social media strategy. This semester, the team focuses on gathering quotes and testimonials of personal stories that audiences can relate to.
Above all, the team kept BIG’s artistic mission and open nature at the forefront of every discussion. The team highlighted fresh ideas to keep BIG’s blog looking sharp as well as some creative strategies to ensure BIG’s social media content stayed relevant and interesting far after the semester ends.
They submitted volunteer outreach messages, a marketing SWOT analysis, and additional research:
Zeynep Arsel, in the Journal of Consumer Research’s December 2017 issue, says about research and information-gathering, “A focused approach doesn’t have to be deductive and confirmatory. While situated in the context of each interviewee’s life world, the interview should have an overarching purpose that persistently and progressively seeks new knowledge around an ever-evolving research question.” In BIG’s case, we believe the organization can benefit from providing guiding questions for the testimonials, but perhaps not questions that expect a certain answer."
Though the campaign planning drew to a close, BIG has gained four new fans in the members of Unscripted PR.
The results include content ideas for monthly blogs and social media posts, as well as a new landing page and step-by-step process for gathering stories from vistors, volunteers, and community members.
"My experience with Baltimore Improv Group was amazing! I attended my first 'real' improv show and absolutely loved the fast-paced and exciting energy from the cast members. I would love to go back and see more shows - it's a great way to spend a Friday night in Baltimore!" " said team member Julia Mulry after the show. "I really enjoyed the open and inclusive environment at BIG. I had never been to an improv show and I felt immediately welcomed to appreciate and take part in the BIG community."
"It's so important that everyone has access to the arts, and having a free improv comedy club is a wonderful community resource,"
Share your personal stories about the Baltimore Improv Group: bigimprov.org/yourstory
Photos by Louis Umerlik
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