BIC's Sandra Stahl Talks Global PR with Communications Students in Mumbai

2/19/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

The distance between up-and-coming PR professionals in New York City and Mumbai just got much smaller. Last week, founding BIC faculty member Sandra Stahl travelled to Xavier Institute of Communications as a guest lecturer to share global trends in PR.

Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC) is a top communications program in India and recognized as where “the best of the best agencies” come to recruit. The XIC program looks at communications in an integrated manner where different elements need to be considered and consolidated for maximum impact.

Sandra led an engaging and interactive conversation with 50+ students and selected faculty. Her award-winning book, The Art & Craft of PR, has been on the recommended reading list for XIC students since last year and many were keen to ask questions and have their copies signed.

“What a pleasure it was to speak to these students who have been trained to approach PR as part of an integrated framework, similar to BIC students,” said Sandra. “The future of PR in India is bright indeed and the group coming out of XIC today is vocal, opinionated, curious and ready to make their mark as the next PR leaders.” 

Sandra focused her lecture on the critical role of communications for brands and companies that aim to be ‘purpose-driven.” While a noble goal and considered a must-have by Millennials and Gen Z, “purpose” can be complicated. She emphasized why and how PR can uniquely guide brands in navigating their way from narrative to execution.  

Co-founder of jacobstahl, a full-service PR agency, Sandra is a founding faculty at BIC and teaches the Branding Influentials course. She guest lectures frequently at schools and conferences around the world. The Art & Craft of PR has won numerous awards since publication in 2018 and is on the BookAuthority 21 Best New Public Relations Books to Read in 2020. 

BICsters Tackle Non-Alcoholic Spirit for Diageo

2/14/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

For the past two years, BIC has partnered with Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits and beer. Headquartered in London, Diageo produces over 200 brands – old and new, large and small, global and local – that are enjoyed in more than 180 countries around the world. Diageo’s established brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, Captain Morgan and Guinness. This Spring, BIC is working with Diageo once again, but this time for something completely different. Kicking off 2020, the Corporate Capstone class is taking on Diageo's first non-alcoholic distilled spirit, Seedlip. 

A recent Diageo acquisition, Seedlip is not just non-alcoholic, but a new category for the company -- as it is for most of the industry. Seedlip presents a unique set of challenges in the marketplace. While non-alcoholic, Seedlip is also zero calories, sugarless, and sweetener-free with no artificial flavors. Diageo is looking to BICsters to help Seedlip stand out from their usual crowd of alcoholic beverage brands by disrupting the traditional marketing model through drivers that resonate with today’s consumer. These combined characteristics make for an even more compelling communications challenge.

On February 6th, the Diageo team of Olivia Kupfer, Senior Brand Manager, Kristina Knight, Senior Innovation Manger, and Jason Chebib, VP of Consumer Planning, presented the brief to the entire class and took questions from students. Over the course of the semester, BICsters will dive deeply into market research to uncover insights that will drive strategic communications solutions that push Seedlip’s brand positioning, “What to drink when you’re not drinking.” Diageo will return to campus on May 14th for the client pitch when teams present their campaigns. 

Each Spring semester, the BIC Corporate Capstone is led by BIC Professor and Program Director Nancy R. Tag who divides students into separate communications teams to fulfill the brief of a corporate client. Past clients have been Univision, Universal Music Group, and Heineken. In the Fall semester, BICsters focus on a non-profit organization. This year, they worked on behalf of CUNY Arts to elevate the low brand awareness of this CUNY initiative which offers student passes to places such as MoMA and the Whitney, internships at arts organizations, and curricular development to CUNY faculty to insure that arts education is woven into classroom programming. Past non-profit clients have been Sandy Hook Promise, the UJA, and Columbia Children's Hospital

BIC's 4A's MAIP Finalists

2/11/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

The highly selective Multi-cultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) from the 4A's gives students the opportunity to work at prestigious advertising and public relations agencies on various accounts, interact with industry professionals on a day-to-day basis, and gain valuable professional credentials. This year, three bright BICsters, Ping Sun, Roxie Xie and Surabhi Govindarajan have been chosen as the 4A's MAIP finalists.

First year BICster Ping Sun comes to BIC with experience at Condé Nast's Center of Fashion & Design in Shanghai. In addition, Ping has worked at various positions at Shanghai's Ford Motor Company where she gained first-hand knowledge into the power of marketing and PR. These experiences "truly crystallized her passion" for continuing her studies in branding and integrated communications at City College.

Roxie Xie, BIC Class of 2020, is a repeat MAIPster whose summer internship as a strategy intern at Wondersauce was a part of her 2019 MAIP fellowship. A graduate of NYU, Roxie's numerous BIC accomplishments include winning a 2019 Silver Pencil from The One Club's Young Ones competition for her team's campaign "The Crisis Collection" on behalf of il Makiage makeup. She was also part of the winning team at last summer's Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds competition. Most recently, Roxie was awarded the 2020 Dezmax Scholarship where she created and pitched a proposal to combat racial biases in China by promoting English language tutors of color.

BIC alum Surabhi Govindarajan, who graduated in 2018, received many accolades while in the BIC program. She and her team won a 2017 Young Ones Gold Pencil in the Social Impact category for a proposal called “VIDEALL” which partnered the products of two tech giants: Google’s Chrome browser and Microsoft’s Sign Language Translator. That fall, Surabhi was part of the team that won CCNY's Nestle Skin Health SHIELD Hackathon, creating an app that recognizes the ingredients in skincare products and helps consumers to understand their efficacy. Surabhi received the 2018 DezMax Scholarship with her submission "Belong" which partnered UNICEF and MyHeritage to provide DNA testing to orphaned refugee children.

Finalists are placed in internships during February. If selected, the 2020 MAIP fellows will participate in virtual professional development opportunities. In late May, orientation will be held in the city and  fellows will officially begin their internships on June 1st.

Eli Fola: Multimedia Artist, Culture Catalyst, and BICster.

2/07/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

Eli Fola, BIC Class of '18, is the ultimate shape-shifter. Nigerian born and Brooklyn based, this multimedia artist constantly picks up new skills, infuses them with passion, and keeps re-imagining his ever-evolving career.  He is often regarded a saxophone genius and branded by the visual art world for his powerful imagery showcasing Yoruba regality and spirituality in a modern context. Paying homage to his home of Nigeria, Eli’s immersive performances authentically preserve Yoruba culture and history. Eli is the innovator and pioneer of the genre Yoruba Tech Soul—a fusion of traditional Nigerian sounds, electronic, jazz, house, and classical music.
While a student in the BIC program, Eli was chosen for the 2017 TEDxCUNY conference. His TED Talk was a lively multimedia performance that focused on how music can be used to reconcile and highlight differences in culture and identity.

Creating music isn't just Eli's passion, it's his form of self expression. "I got into music production at the middle of the decade. Something I've learned so far is to constantly stay true to the sounds that resonate with my spirit. Music is very spiritual; you really have to align your spirit to the right sound vibrations."

Eli's debut EP, “The Platform”, was released on March 28, 2016. He is the founder of Tech Afrique, an independent record label and event company that serves as a platform for releasing his projects. His work has been featured in publications such as the NY Times, Wonderland Magazine, Vogue, and Okayplayer to name a few. He has also been sought after by Grammy winning producer Swizz Beatz and grammy winning singer Alicia Keys as well as brands such as Art Net, Bacardi, and Art Basel.

Suited Magazine, known for its focus on individuals devoted to their work and instigating new cultural conversations to positively impact the future, will be featuring a collaboration with Eli in their next issue where he discusses his creative process and the release of his upcoming album #yorubatechsoul. 

Visit Eli's Instagram and website to learn more about his journey and keep up with the sounds of Yoruba Soul Tech.