Clay and Group: Public Relations Agency founded by CCI Students

Kent State University has allowed JaRel Clay to realize his passion for writing, designing and helping others, which is exactly what he doing in his student-run public relations agency.

Clay and Group, C&G, was officially founded in 2009, but the ideas for the agency started in 2007. When JaRel, a senior applied communications major, and a couple friends walked past a bulletin board with various postings for student organizations, they noticed many grammatical errors and misspelled words. Noticing the lack of professionalism, the three joked about how “JaRel and friends are going to show them how it’s done!”

“What started as a joke became hours of brainstorming and months of strategic planning on how we, as first-year students, were going to gain the trust of well-established student organizations,” Clay said. “The three of us proceeded to get involved with student organizations handling their marketing and external communications. After branding ourselves as professional student leaders, we started representing organizations as a company. As a result, Clay and Group was formed.”

C&G specializes in internal communication, crisis communication, strategic marketing and organization branding. It has created marketing plans for functions like the 2011 Minority Leadership Conference and the 2011 Martin Luther King Day Celebration as well as improved internal communications for groups on campus like Kent Interhall Council and KSU-NAACP.

“We have designed ceremonial programs, event tickets, flier advertisements, banners, Websites, business cards, t-shirts and other promotional items for residence halls and student groups on campus,” Clay said. “Many of my employees also have experience in event planning and hosting region-wide events such as Lil’ Sibs Weekend, leadership conferences and other anticipated events at Kent State.”

Currently, the agency is only representing the Kent State University NAACP because many employees graduated last spring, are participating in internships, or graduated in December.

“In the past, students involved in this company have been close friends of mine who I know and trust will get the job done right,” Clay said. “Since all of us are graduating or near graduation, I thought it would be necessary for younger KSU students move this company forward.”

‘Progression. Every day’ is the slogan that C&G works and lives by.  It is preferably looking for second-semester freshman and sophomore students to fill positions. Any major is encouraged to apply, and positions are filled based on skills the applicant can bring to the table.

“Our positions are filled based on the skills that each applicant brings to the company,” Clay said. “I have had students work for me from majors such as marketing, public relations, organizational communication, applied communication, pan-African studies, political science and general studies. We only accept and expect quality.”

The positions are not paid, are voluntary and aim to give students real-world experience.

“My main goal is to give Kent State students the opportunity to gain experience future employers are recommending,” Clay said. “This does not mean that the student is assigned one or two tasks a semester. This means that the entire agency is representing 2-3 clients a semester, and the students are working diligently to meet our client’s needs in a timely manner. In a real-world public relations position, you will be expected to handle several projects at a time, and C&G prepares you for those positions with real-life applications at a college-level.”

“This is the perfect opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in their field,” Clay said. “The positions are not paid, but I guarantee that employers will be most impressed with applicants who played a significant role in a company that produces award-winning and record-breaking results for its clients.”

Nicole Gennarelli is a junior public relations major and marketing assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

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