Agency of the Future

This year's B3003 Internal Management course was expertly co-taught by Professors Michael Farmer and Rodes Ponzer who exposed students to multiple perspectives on best practices in managing the process and people in a service-oriented marketing communications agency. 

The results were spectacular -- especially given the challenges within the industry today. Advertising and marketing communications is no longer an industry of “idea development” where brand identity is generated through one-way forms of storytelling. It must now include new forms of consumer engagement which require managed story building.

This presents new challenges in the ways in which managers must be fluent in developing strategies, fostering collaboration, evaluating content, visualizing information, reacting to consumer participation, making persuasive presentations – all while breaking down agency silos that inhibit productivity and collaboration.

In addition, the business / economic environment in which managers operate has become more challenging that ever: client fees are under constant pressure, clients have competitive internal operations, relationships are short rather than long-lasting, and industry competitors are lined up to take client business away. The business environment has become more hostile and difficult for marketing and communications professionals.

Today’s agency manager must not just manage a process-driven environment, but become change agents who can recreate a healthy, dynamic, and sustainable culture with business relationships that are worthy of respect, permit improved economics and generate positive marketplace results.

Among the outcomes of this class is for BICsters in the Management / Planning track to be able to apply process management skills to the delivery of complex, data-driven, strategically-based creative products: insure the timely delivery of quality materials; design workflow charts that elevate performance, accomplish key tasks and react to the ongoing nature of campaigns.

Projects throughout the semester were designed to allow BICsters to demonstrate management leadership: assess trends and opportunities to retain competitive advantage (for both the client and agency) as well as develop new business; use persuasive techniques at all points in the process that galvanize the organization, inspire stakeholders, and build sustainable relationships; provide evidence of the value of marketing communications expertise and creativity as a key component of meeting business goals and adding to brand value. 

The final project of this substantive and challenging course ties the 15 weeks together: working in teams, BICster invented the "agency of the future"  A.K.A Modern Agency Inc. (MAI). Deliverables included defining MAI’s mission, creating a profit model, building an operational structure, developing an agency culture and talent retention strategy and developing a key client list.

Below are selected slides from Team Charlie's final presentation. This team was made up of Francesco Rizzo, Sahana Chowdhary, Sara Ledra, Xia Song, and Xia John.   

Congrats, BIC Class of 2018!!!

27 BICsters. One unique class. From Brazil to Italy. From India to Malaysia. From Denmark to the Bronx. Each with a signature giggle, grimace, or grin.  With college degrees as varied as clinical psychology, architecture, industrial design, and journalism, they’ve parleyed their BIC expertise into professional positions at places like SociedAD, McCann, Rauxa, Vox, McGraw Hill, and The&Partnership.  In the past 24 months, their multi-cultural and cross-disciplinary talents have yielded One Show GOLD pencils, Merits and Client Pitches, The LAGRANT Foundation scholarships, a PR Council Student Innovation Awards, a Zahn Innovation Hackathon win, One Club Creative Bootcamp win, Grad Symposium awards, a MAIP internship — even a TED Talk.  On June 1st, we celebrate them not just as graduates of the BIC program…but as visionaries who will lead us into the future with integrity, nimble minds, grit, lots of heart, and good humor.  Onward, BIC Class of 2018.

Portfolios with Professionalism, Personality, and Passion

This year, eleven BICsters from the Management/Planning track, ten from the PR track, and seven in the Creative track presented dynamic portfolios that serve not just as their Master of Professional Studies thesis, but as professional portfolios that represent product, process, and personality.  

Judged by senior professionals who held students to a very high standard, this year’s portfolios showcased projects on behalf of the United Nations, Diageo's Naked Turtle Rum, Mountain Dew, The Wall Street Journal, Oscar Insurance, the Grove School of Engineering, and the UJA, among others. The most powerful aspects of the BIC portfolio are not just the amazing real-life projects BICsters work on or the clients that they interact with; it's that students are required to repackage and elevate course material through their own professional lens in ways that spotlight personal strengths and talent. This gives each BICster a truly unique portfolio -- distinct from their classmates as well as within the industry. 

Starting at 8:30AM on Tuesday, May 29th, students presented in 25 minute sessions that included 18 minutes of presentation and 7 minutes of judge’s questions, comments, and push back. The judges praised not only the depth of expertise exhibited in the portfolios, but also the students’ passion and professionalism. “This is the future,” commented Creative track judge Gustavo Carvajal. That sentiment was echoed by all the judges. 

Congrats to the Class of 2018: All BICsters passed the Defense and celebrated the following day by marching in the divisional graduation ceremony. Top scoring BICsters in each track were recognized at the BIC Grad party later that day. Honors went to Tannya Luna (Creative), Surabhi Govindarajan (Management/Planning) and Nilda Valdez (Public Relations). Special thanks to all the BIC faculty who helped support the BICsters throughout their time in the program -- especially the faculty who taught the Portfolio Thesis Electives this year: Katina Scott, Gerardo Blumenkrantz, and Nancy R. Tag.

A BIG BIC thanks to our talented and tireless industry judges. You were all AWESOME: 

Management/Planning:  Michael Doody, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, The _____ Project, Will Parker, Director of Strategy & Insights Integration, Horizon Media, Rodes Ponzer, President, Rodes Advisory, God-is Rivera, Director of Inclusion & Cultural Resonance, VML, and Michelle Rowley, Group Planning Director, Deutsch.

Public Relations: Emily K. Graham, SVP Corporate Reputation, FleishmanHillard, Michael Marinello, former SVP Strategic Comms, Turner, Mitch Markson, Creator, Markson IdeaCraft, and Josh Rosenberg, CEO, Day One Agency

Creative: Christopher Blunt, ACD, Denise Byrd, Writer, Gustavo Carvajal, CEO, IDEAcatalyst, John Colquhoun, Art Director, Sandra Scher, Art Director.

BIC Class of 2018, last presentation: May 29, 2018. Over and done... 

BIC Program Director Receives President's Award for Outstanding Faculty Service

Awarded in recognition for "excellence in service as acknowledged by the CCNY community of peers and current and past students," the 2018 President's Awards were announced by President Vince Boudreau on Tuesday, May 15th at a ceremony in The Great Hall. According to the notice received by Professor and BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag,  a distinguished panel of reviewers assessed the nominations and "were impressed with your accomplishments and are very enthusiastic about your future contributions." At the ceremony, President Boudreau noted that "it's no secret that BIC is among the most dynamic corners of the campus" and praised the caliber of the students, many of whom have served under him at The Colin Powell School as well as in the President's Office.

Professor Tag said "it was an unexpected, but true honor to receive this recognition and be feted in the Great Hall filled with other people devoted to the college."

Magical Agency Mystery Tour -- BICster Style

Each Spring, first year BICsters spend Thursday nights in midtown Manhattan for the Creative Round Robin, an elective course in the creative track which exposes them to five top agencies and their approaches to developing big ideas and multi-media executions. 

Agencies get two sessions to “brief and critique” BICsters on a real life assignment, exposing students not only to a fast, real-world-paced range of assignments (plus, pizza and beer), but to a variety of work cultures that will help shape their own preferences once they’re out looking for a job. Think of it as creative speed dating — or BIC’s signature magical agency mystery tour. 

Throughout the semester, BICsters developed work for We Raise at True North, The City of Miami at VML, Gotham Girls Roller Derby at DiGo, the NBA at D’Exposito and a soon-to-be-launched soft drink at Digitas. In past years BICsters went to Edelman, McCann, AnalogFolk, Grey, Tribal DDB, and SS+K among many others. This course is overseen by BIC Professor Gerardo Blumenkrantz.

Agencies benefit from getting first dibs at fresh talent and students build portfolio pieces and lasting connections, like alumna Cassondra Bazelow, now a senior Art Director and a BIC professor, who got her first industry job at Tribal DDB as result of her work in this course — so, who knows where this Spring’s experience could lead these newest BICsters?

BIC Gets Naked for Diageo Client Pitch

How lucky can a BICster get? This year's corporate partner was Diageo's The Naked Turtle Rum, a brand with social impact in its DNA. Partnering with the Sea Turtle Conservancy, The Naked Turtle donates money to the cause for each bottle of rum purchased. It launched in limited markets in 2013 ago and came to BIC to solidify brand identity and then amplify value through an integrated communications campaign. After weeks of research, strategizing, concepting and executing in interdisciplinary teams that have been together since the fall semester, BICsters wowed Diageo judges Jason Chebib, Joyce He, and Dorothy deVencia at the Client Pitch on Thursday, May 17th.

Team Vanguard kicked off the evening with their campaign "Save the Planet. Drink More Rum." Based on research that demonstrated how important turtles are in the larger ecosystem of the planet, Vanguard flipped the usual message. To them, The Naked Turtle gives you the opportunity to create the sort of healthy planet that you'd like to actually drink all that rum in.

Team Incite's campaign, "Keep a Good Thing Going," promoted The Naked Turtle's optimistic brand value and allowed consumers to experience unexpected goodness in unexpected places. Team Incite brought the beach to the people with The Naked Turtle Beach Truck that included drinks, music, and sand between your toes.

Team 3-2 Squared believed that consumers could use The Naked Turtle as a megaphone to amplify their personal values. The team's campaign, "One Drink. A Larger Story," created different personas that connected consumers to larger, more purposeful stories about themselves while linking back to the ecological-minded brand.

Team Perspecta felt that The Naked Turtle was not just challenged by an oversaturated spirits market, but by an abundance of cause-driven products that have become the norm since The Naked Turtle launched five years ago. Appreciating that other social-impact brands such as TOMS and Warby Parker give visible proof of consumer support, Perspecta created the "Show Your Goods" campaign which was anchored in a Naked Turtle Bar Crawl where naked participants wore body paint as they celebrated --and shared -- the brand and its values on social media, making their drinking choice more visible.

Diageo VP of Consumer Planning Jason Chebib, The Naked Turtle Brand Manager Joyce He, and Diageo Brand Director of Bailey's Dorothy deVenecia judged the pitch. Before announcing the winner, they gave enthusiastic praise of each team's campaign and very particular feedback to guide BICsters' future success. In the end, the client decided to "go naked" and selected Team Perspecta's "Show Your Goods" campaign the winner.

The BIC Corporate Capstone is a required course that is taken in the BICsters final semester of the program. Overseen by Professor and BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag, the course has worked with such high-profile corporate partners as Univision, Universal Music Group, and Heineken USA.