Communications faculty, Honors Fellow present research at IMC Conference

Associate Professor Lee Bush, Lecturer Hal Vincent and Honors Fellow Stefanie Milovic ’19 presented research on student-run agencies and society-driven responsibility at the biennial Integrated Marketing Communications conference in Wilmington.

The School of Communications was well-represented at the biennial Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Conference, which brings together academics in the growing field of IMC ­­– the holistic intersection of advertising, public relations, event planning, sales promotion, direct marketing, word-of-mouth marketing and social media.

Stefanie Milovic ’19 walks attendees of the 2019 Integrated Marketing Communications Conference through her research exploring the shift by corporations from Corporate Social Responsibility to Society-Driven Responsibility. Photo by River Bondurant
Hosted May 29-31 by the Department of Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the conference offered an opportunity to share ideas about teaching, scholarship and applied learning.

Recent Elon graduate Stefanie Milovic ’19, an Honors Fellow who majored in strategic communications, presented research from her thesis, “Society-Driven Responsibility: Corporations leading the charge on social, political and environmental issues,” during a conference session titled “Explorations in IMC Theory and Practice.”

Jeff Ranta (pictured, from left), Lee Bush and Hal Vincent co-authored a 2018 book, “The Student-Run Agency: Transitioning from Student to Professional,” to help aspiring agency professionals succeed during their student agency experiences.
​Milovic’s research explored the shift by corporations from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Society-Driven Responsibility (SDR), or what is also termed corporate advocacy or brand activism. In case studies and interviews with corporate leaders and CSR professionals, Milovic documented the trend and outlined the steps corporations take to pursue SDR, the benefits and risks associated with SDR, and the various ways SDR is manifested through advertising and public relations. Associate Professor Lee Bush was Milovic’s mentor for her research.

In a separate session, Bush and Lecturer Hal Vincent presented a panel titled “Branding and Promoting Student-Run Agencies: Preparing Students for the Field and Preparing the Field for Students.”

Bush presented her recently published research with Vincent and Associate Professor Dan Haygood, as well as research in progress on the awareness and value of student agency experience among hiring decision makers in advertising and PR agencies. In addition, Vincent presented case studies on promoting student agency work from Live Oak Communications, Elons’ student agency, where Vincent serves as faculty director. The third panelist in the session, Jeff Ranta, associate professor at Coastal Carolina University, also presented research on how student agencies are using websites and social media to promote their work.

iMedia graduate Kyndall DySard ’18 served as a panelist at the conference held in late May. Photo by River Bondurant
Together, Bush, Ranta and Vincent published the 2018 textbook “The Student-Run Agency: Transitioning from Student to Professional.”

In addition to these sessions, Interactive Media graduate Kyndall DySard ’18 was also a speaker at the conference, participating in a panel on “Practitioners’ Response to IMC Theory and Practice.” DySard is currently a marketing consultant at Reunion Marketing in Raleigh.

Also of note, Milovic was one of 12 students whose research was published in the spring 2019 edition of the Elon Journal. Milovic examined trends in social media engagement rates, specifically on Facebook, between campaigning state politicians and online users.

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