BIC Helps Sandy Hook Promise Prevent Gun Violence In Schools


On December 13, 2018 – one day shy of the sixth anniversary of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School – four teams of BICsters presented campaigns to client partner Sandy Hook Promise. All of the teams had the same mission: to help stop violence before it starts.

The strategically driven year-long integrated campaigns leveraged traditional, online, social, mobile, digital, and experiential communications to inspire students to start SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) clubs. Judging the Client Pitch were Bob Flynn, Programs Director at Sandy Hook Promise and Strategist Michael Doody. Professor Katina Scott oversaw the BICsters' efforts, with Brianna Bishop providing creative expertise.

Each of the teams developed a unique approach, from encouraging teens to channel their own creativity to stopping violence one post-it note at a time to reminding students to act "before not when." In the end, Team Re:Vision won the day with their campaign titled "Power of You" which fights apathy by showing students their voices are heard and respected.

Past non-profit capstone clients have been The Grove School of Engineering, Columbia Children’s Health, The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, and the UJA.


MSL Group Opens Doors to BIC PR Class of 2020


On December 6th, first year PR Trackers from BIC traveled to Columbus Circle to visit MSL, a global public relations agency that’s part of Publicis Groupe. Arranged by Professor Angela K. Chitkara to jump start the BIC PR Track, students met with Diana Littman, the new CEO of MSL; Michael Echter, Global Director of Corporate Communications & Marketing; Abisola Adekoya, Senior Sustainability Consultant; Paul Michael Marinello, Corporate Communications Manager; and Gina Larson, from Human Resources & Talent Recruitment.

The visit provided an eye-opening view of what it’s like to work in a leading PR agency. Through use case presentations on accounts such as Vick’s #TouchOfCare, the students learned why MSL believes public relations expresses its strength through the power of influence to create long-lasting impacts.

MSL leaders also shared what the industry expects from BICsters and others entering the industry and how to embrace opportunities to make a difference. Pro tips included: be a go-getter with a creative thinking mindset, have excellent writing & speaking skills,  expand their social media & data analytics knowledge and exhibit curiosity for new technologies such as AI and VR.

As BICster Carmela Vecchione stated, “The experience couldn’t have been any better. We’re now very excited about our next steps in the BIC program and our PR Branding Campaigns class in the Spring.”

PR Has No Boundaries - Sandra Stahl in Leaderspeak Series


In a recent interview with MediaBrief, founding BIC faculty member Sandra Stahl shared insights from her book The Art and Craft of PR, including her belief that there are no "traditional" PR people. Stahl, who teaches BIC's Branding Influentials course, chatted with MediaBrief as part of its Leaderspeak series which highlights "the most important news, reviews, videos, knowledge and more for the B2B professional consumer in the world of media, entertainment, new media, marketing, business, startups and more."

In the article, Stahl states "The holistic purpose of PR - not just one part of it or another - is what distinguishes our discipline and maintains its enduring value. This is our ability to use communications to create meaningful, trusted relationships that contribute to the achievement of larger goals. To me, there are no 'traditional' PR people. Any trained PR professional knows how important it is to be facile with new tools, new channels. We know how critical it is to be agile. The 'new stuff' doesn't define us or our discipline but how we use the 'new stuff' in service of our goals."

Stahl went on to speak about the biggest challenge in communications today: the 24/7 appetite for information. "Also a challenge is that the information out there may not be true. Anybody and everybody now has the proverbial megaphone. It can be difficult to discern fact from fiction. It's no wonder there is a crisis of public trust. The need for ethical communications has never been stronger and public relations is the discipline to lead the way."

Click here to read the article in its entirety. Read MediaBrief's review of Sandra Stahl's book The Art and Craft of PR here.




Barri Rafferty Inducted into ICCO Hall of Fame


The much deserved honors keep rolling in for BIC Advisory Board member Barri Rafferty. In 2017, she was inducted into the PR News Hall of Fame in Washington D.C. She was also the first woman to be named CEO of a top-five global public relations firm. And now, almost a year to the day later, she has been inducted into the International Communications Consultancy Organization’s Hall of Fame. The announcement took place Dec 7th at an event in London.

As President and CEO of Ketchum, Rafferty has helped spearhead a broad agency restructuring that strategically shifted the brand towards a communications consultancy. The move enabled the business to embed diverse communications specialists in client teams, rather than focusing on specific geographies.


Rafferty is an industry icon and in-demand BIC speaker. She recently returned to the City College campus to share her insights from the World Economic Forum in an @BIC Lecture titled "Notes From Davos." One of her most popular presentations in 2016, "Secrets of a Female CEO," unveiled juicy and enlightening secrets to her success.

Since joining Ketchum in 1993, Rafferty has held numerous strategic roles. She was named global president in 2016 and once led the group’s North America business. She also ran its global brand marketing practice and was director of the Atlanta and New York offices.

The industry veteran is an advocate for gender parity and female leadership. A founding member of the Omni women board under Omnicom, she has spoken extensively about unconscious bias, pay equity, and gender equality across multiple global stages.

A big BIC brava to Barri!

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A member of BIC’s Advisory Board, Barri Rafferty is CEO and President of Ketchum, a top-five, global PR firm, and member of Ketchum's Global Leadership Council where she oversees Ketchum’s global offices, Ketchum Digital and Ketchum Sports & Entertainment (KSE). A frequent speaker on the topic of gender parity and unconscious bias, Rafferty has spoken at TEDxEast, and the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. She is a founder of a women’s leadership network at Omnicom and a recipient of the Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring Award. Rafferty is on the PR Council’s board of directors and the national board of StepUp, an organization empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound, and career focused. In 2017, she was inducted into the PR Hall of Fame.

TBWA is Adweek's Global Agency of the Year


A huge BIC congratulations to TBWA\Worldwide -- especially BIC board member Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA/Chiat/DayNY -- on being named the Global Agency of 2018 by Adweek.
As noted in Adweek's December 4th article, "It's been a decade since the network last held the title...today TBWA is once again producing culture-influencing work across the globe." President and CEO Troy Ruhanen has quietly assembled a strong roster of leaders across its global operation, including Rob Schwartz, who was moved into the role of CEO of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. Since Schwartz took the helm, the midtown office has flourished. Revenue has soared 300 percent, with consistent yearly growth.

In 2018, from London and Los Angeles to Helsinki and Dubai, TBWA\Worldwide produced some of the world’s best advertising, grew its client roster in multiple regions, deepened its increasingly diverse leadership bench, expanded its foothold in key areas like China and built out new offerings that help redefine the value agencies can bring to clients.

The global agency welcomed a wave of new clients including Hilton, IMAX, McDonald's McCafĂ©, Dom PĂ©rignon, Belvedere, J-B Weld, WWF, Smashbox, Harvey Nichols, Peak Games, and Celebrity Cruises. And won new assignments from Nissan (shifted to the New York office), PepsiCo Australia, Adidas (projects, London and N.Y.), Uniqlo China and Singapore, McDonald's Latam, and Netflix Brazil.

With new leadership and a global footprint TBWA has once again entered a golden age of disruptive creativity. Read the entire article here.

A special BIC bravo goes to Rob Schwartz and his impact on the TBWA\Chiat\Day\New York office. Once described as a "CEO's Creative Director," Rob is that rare creative person who is fascinated by all aspects of a business and finds ways to create breakthrough platforms and campaigns that get results and build brands. We're thrilled to have him as a member of BIC's Advisory Board and congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition.




Merger? Or Manslaughter? Asks Michael Farmer's Ad Age Article

In a November 29th Ad Age article, BIC Professor Michael Farmer challenged the notion that the recent high-profile WPP mergers that formed VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson are savvy strategic unions designed to optimize WPP capabilities. Instead, he describes them as industry-killing, cost-cutting measures that WPP has practiced since 1986.

As WPP’s growth and profitability have led to a serious decline in its share price, such moves seem justifiable, especially since they can be disguised as “strategic.” But as Farmer points out, “these mergers/cost reductions focus on the wrong problem. What's really killing agencies and holding companies is the declining level of agency fees and billing rates, and the uncontrolled growth of agency workloads.”

The article further states that if WPP CEO "Mark Read wants to make an enduring long-term impact at WPP, he needs to refocus his agencies on 'getting paid for all the work they do' at appropriate rates."

Such sage advice is more fully developed in Farmer's book Madison Avenue Manslaughter which is a starting point of classroom discussions in the Spring semester's B3003 Internal Management course, which he co-teaches with Rodes Ponzer.
To read the entire article, click here



Zontee Hou Named a Top B2B Marketing Influencer


In November, communications leaders and innovators gathered in San Francisco for the 13th annual MarketingProfs B2B Forum for four days of packed programming and networking. To help business marketers navigate the forum, TopRank Marketing published its annual list of top speakers. Once again, it featured BIC Professor Zontee Hou, President/Founder of Media Volery, who presented "How to Build Customer Loyalty Through Behavioral Economics and Big Data."

According to TopRank Marketing: "A variety of criteria go into such a ranking including the topical relevance of the content each influencer publishes, how much their networks engage with that content and the size of their networks with online data pulled from Twitter, blogs, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, and several other platforms. This is important to know, because many lists rely entirely on Twitter and we all know Twitter alone does not represent the entire social media universe."

To see the full 2018 program, click here.