This spring our Digital Associate Mari Behovitz competed in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) alongside her fellow Laker classmates. Take a look at her experience…
From the first moment I decided to be a part of the Advertising and Public Relations program at Grand Valley State University I had my mind set on being a member of the National Student Advertising Competition team. As a freshman this seemed far off, but before I knew it I was in my senior year, and a member of the dedicated and successful NSAC team. After hours and hours of work, with some of the most talented students in my major, I am proud to say that we are the first Grand Valley team to make it to Nationals! We placed fourth in the nation and walked away with the award for Best Marketing Research.
The NSAC competition provides students with real world takeaways that a classroom cannot offer. I don’t think anyone is completely prepared for the transition from student to professional (yikes), but being a member of the NSAC team helped me through this stage of my life. I learned so much, but these are by far my biggest takeaways:
Always Value Your Research
I know, sounds pretty boring, right? In the end, boring research is what made my team one of the top four teams in the competition. At the beginning of the year our incredible faculty advisor, Robin Spring told us to get creative with our research because that’s what would set us a part and she was absolutely right! After 758 surveys, 27 hours of focus groups, 11 hours of ethnography, and reviewing 250 secondary sources, we walked away with the award for best marketing research.
Think Outside of the Box
I know, this seems obvious, but we all know this isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Especially in a larger group (20 people or more), it is easy to succumb to the groupthink. On more than one occasion during the process of coming up with our big idea and when we strategized on our tactics, we could have easily settled for a number of the average ideas we came up with. It certainly, would have been easier. Instead we kept pushing, and while we got on each other’s nerves at times (a lot) it provided us a big idea, allowing our team to stand out from the rest and come up with unique tactics that caught the judges eye. Don’t settle; go for the crazy ideas, because more times than not everyone else will be too scared to try something out of the ordinary, which means you’ll stand out even more.
Don’t Be a Half Ass Team Member
Like anything else in life, to be a successful NSAC team you’ve got to have dedicated team members. I was privileged to have a team filled with a number of talented, over achieving peers, and above all else I think the strength of our team was what led to our success. In most of my classes and even my clubs, there were always the half ass participants who were just there to get the credit or write it on their resume, but when push came to shove they never cared enough to put in the extra work. When you find those dedicated people, who care enough about the project to see it through, to put in the work and to commit to doing their share, you value them. In a world full of half assers, you need people on your team willing to go the extra mile.
In short, being a member of the 2017 GVSU NSAC team was everything I expected and more. This was by far the best educational experience I had the pleasure of being a part of while at Grand Valley and is something I would highly recommend to all current and future students coming through the PR and Advertising program.