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Reach for the SKYY

Published on July 28, 2017, at 10:27 a.m.
by Briana Borcic.

There I was, a Colorado girl who thought I would be able to swing right into the culture that is grits, fried chicken, cowboy boots and all things Dixieland Delight. I sat in my first communications class at The University of Alabama still not knowing what I wanted to do with my career and life.

But it was in my second semester that I became the most inspired and motivated in all things school, life and future aspirations. I had learned more about public relations, Annie Leibovitz, technology and more than I had in any other class. This class was so diverse in topics that it forced me to digest ideas, industries and innovation that not everyone thinks about on a daily basis.

My professor used words that I had never heard of and that I was constantly Googling the definition of. He always encouraged his students to do research beyond what was given in class and gave authentic and thoughtful advice that most teachers believe would be crossing boundaries for their specific course.

It was after a few weeks of the class that my professor entertained the idea of a program he was creating called Industry Hub at the time. It has now progressed and evolved immensely into what it is known as Industry Immersion under the College of Communication and Information Sciences at UA.

The immersion entailed a week-long business professional and skills training trip to a large and growing city led by two professors. The first one ever conducted would take place in San Francisco and would involve meetings with industry professionals from Google, Edelman, Rally, Salesforce, Hearsay Social, Equinix and more.

Photo by Capitol Communicator

At Edelman our group of young motivated students sat down with an assortment of team members learning about their daily tasks, responsibilities and roles. We got to see a campaign that they were organizing and creating for SKYY Vodka, which sparked my interest. I thought how cool it was that they were arranging an event, branding the company and launching SKYY’s new flavored drinks.

Before going on that trip, I had no idea what a PR firm was or looked like. In that moment at Edelman, my brain was turning and I was picturing myself working for a firm like that and being motivated and inspired every day to make people “wow” about a product, person or place.

After three years of being in college and going through the motions of major and minor specific courses, it is easy to forget why you chose the profession you did. I came across a Taco Bell campaign that Edelman and a few other firms collaborated on and the feeling I first had of inspiration for PR filled me.

Photo by BuzzFeed

Taco Bell released a campaign for a new menu item, the Naked Chicken Chalupa. Whether you love or hate Taco Bell, the campaign was brilliant. It was original, innovative and created with the customer in mind. The company knew that its project was risky and might be denied by the public if it wasn’t marketed perfectly. Again, how awesome to have created a campaign that involved the customers and created something that left a lasting impact whether the new menu item was good or bad.

As cliché as it sounds, inspiration is everywhere. In order to be happy in your life and in your profession you need to seek inspiration and stay motivated in everything you do. Read something you wouldn’t normally read; speak with professors you wouldn’t normally speak with; do something that makes your average day different and interesting. You never know what you may find.

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