BY LILY GAMBLE
As one of the 14 founding members of what is now 1910 PR, I experienced each groundbreaking moment that shaped this firm. In a matter of months, a 3-hour-credit class developed into a fully-functioning public relations firm that services internal and external clients throughout the area. (HOW COOL?!)
1910 PR was built off of a simple idea from one Dr. Emily Kinsky, 1910 PR adviser and associate professor of communication, to create a student-run public relations firm housed in West Texas A&M University's Department of Communication.
One thing to know about Dr. Kinsky: when she has an idea, nothing gets in the way of her facilitating its completion. So, in spring 2017, a special topics class was offered called Establishing a PR Firm.
The class was rigorous and more challenging than most. Not necessarily because the coursework was more difficult—it was actually super fulfilling because of how real-world it felt—but because of how daunting it was when I sat back and realized that my ideas would directly impact the future of the firm for potentially years.
Our decisions went far beyond a name and logo. We focused on the culture we wanted to build, wrote our mission statement, determined our foundational values, considered how we would build a team every semester with new students, and what overall visions we had for the firm. Pretty lofty questions, if I do say so myself!
With our bright eyes and bushy-tails in hand, we began the most important part: RESEARCH. So. Much. Research.
Multiple guest speakers came to share their stories of building a media-related company. We used that time to pick their brains as much as we could and received a lot of advice from those successful professionals. 10/10 recommend doing this! This advice was instrumental to avoid making simple mistakes.
Each of the members moved on to create a name and logo design to pitch to the class. Independently working to manifest our ideas was both intimidating and very fulfilling. As you can imagine, a lot of thought went into these (a little too much at times @analysisparalysis).
Plot twist: I wanted to name the firm Lighthouse Communications after the Lighthouse trail in Palo Duro Canyon. After researching the name, we discovered other firms with that name, so we went with a classic, timeless option with a deep connection to the University.
Reflecting on the entire process, deciding on a name and logo was kind of the easiest part. Once that was done, a million other tasks began: deciding when we would send out a press release announcing our existence, developing a website and social media accounts, planning a launch party, deciding what clients and work we would begin with, and so on.
Being a part of the research and planning phase of this firm was *waves hands around* magical. We were just a bunch of 20-something-year-olds wanting to do something cool, and the best part is that we DID.