Monday, 17 July 2017

Interview with a first year broad course student - meet Jemma Lowman

In our latest 'ask a student' instalment, #BCUWeArePR talks to Jemma, a student who has just completed her first year at BCU and who has been bitten by the media relations bug... 

Nice to meet you!

Hi, I'm Jemma Lowman, a BCU School of Media Media and Communications broad course student from South Wales. I start my second year in September.

How is university life treating you? 
I love being at BCU! Not only is it extremely accessible, from the societies and sports teams right down to the tutors, but BCU also allows me to grow as an individual. I love being independent and also the nightlife isn't too shabby!

Tell us about your studies to date 
When I first got given my options sheet, I didn't have a clue what to choose as there were just so many options within the media that I could explore. However, as I was interested in TV already, I focused my modules around that and hadn't even thought of PR until I saw it listed as an option. I thought about it but wasn't sure what would be involved; wouldn't PR be tonnes of public speaking? I decided to give it a go and here I am, one module down. It was probably my best decision at uni to date as it was completely opposite to what I initially expected and I'm keen to do more PR related modules.

What areas of the media interest you most and why? 
Television was the major appeal for me when starting the course. I loved how narratives and editing could make a story flow on screen with just a few simple shots and learning how programmes are made for TV was what first intrigued me about the School of Media.

However, since coming to BCU, I've had my eyes opened to many different pathways and I've found that I enjoy aspects of social media marketing and creating content surrounding an idea or image for people/brands.

What have you enjoyed most about your studies? 
I enjoy the freedom that we have within the course to explore different areas. If we didn't have such a hands-on experience during the course, and amazing teachers, I can safely say I would have most probably dropped out by now.

I love the fact I can pick and chose from different career paths as I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left university and so, has allowed me to test a little bit of everything before deciding which direction to take.

What does PR and media relations mean to you? 
Media relations, to me, means the relationship between a company/brand and the media itself. For example, the use of different media outlets (such as online blogs, social media etc) in order to gain awareness for your company/brand or to promote a new product launch.

PR helps a company/brand tell its public what they want them to know; kind of like creating a story for public consumption and creating an image that supports this. The two are closely linked but PR is much more complex.

How do you plan on progressing with your studies / experience? 
During my time at BCU, I plan on taking what I have so far learnt about PR and applying this to real life application, such as interning as PR companies or social media marketing companies to get an overview of how companies work from the inside. Who knows, maybe I can then develop this beyond my studies - or find a way to start my own little venture, with TV on the side!

Which brand(s) do you admire for their approach to press, promotion, social media etc? 
My favourite social media approach is most definitely the way in which some brands, such as American food chain Wendy's, use 'sass' when talking to their customers, often turning a complaint into something more positive. Not only does this help to make the brand go global online in terms of people viewing the tweets / Facebook comments / Tumblr feed as a result, because of the response such posts often receive, it also demonstrates how real people managing these accounts and how companies do have a good sense of humour. It's nice to see some interaction with customers/clients rather than the age old 'here's a link' dialogue.

Favourite campaign to date? 
The Cadbury's Gorilla ad and campaign or the Eyebrow Kids. Such distinct adverts that stick out mainly because they're funny and are the complete opposite of normal adverts you see for chocolate, plus there's more of a story to them. Ads aren't just ads anymore!

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