Case Design, Edelman, and Networking with Cassaday & Co.

The second day of the D.C. immersion week was a very busy one to say the least. With two company visits scheduled, and a networking event in the evening, we were all very excited for this day. Case Design was the first company visit for the day, and it was a little farther away in Maryland, so we took taxis to get there. We arrived and were greeted by Joe Divel. One of his many positions at Case Design is recruiting, and hiring, so he was the one who coordinated our visit that day. We were strongly welcomed by Bill Millholland, and the rest of the staff. They even had coffee and bagels for us, as well as a lunch later in the day. Bill has a wonderful personality, and he took us on a tour of the office, and really broke it down to us about how Case Design started, and the ongoing journey they’ve been on since. Case Design is an upscale remodeling company, and they do very impressive work. The company is one of the largest remodeling companies in their industry and have several locations in California. They do everything from additions, kitchens, exteriors, interiors, and much more. Not only are all of their employees very skilled, but they are a wonderful personable team. It’s obvious that they are so successful because of this combination of great personalities and impeccable work.

Case Design also had a few issues of their own that they had asked us students to present to them on. Case Design is a particular case when it comes to attracting more prospective customers, because they don't have a tangible final product to immediately show to people. Their differentiator is their impeccable design, and ability to customize designs according to the client, but that is an intangible experience until it is finished. Case Design asked us how to build value with prospective customers when their differentiator is intangible. We came up with a few ideas and tried to build off of their values and ideas. A few things we talked about, were that clients have the ability to instill their values and characteristics in their remodeled homed. We also talked about even though it may be an online connection with new clients, it is still a connection even if it’s not face to face. Anything that can get the clients involved, and feel like they are a part of the process, will take that connection to a whole new level of excitement. My favorite idea was coming up with the app for users to have on their phones. This also fills that void of connection while their house is being remodeled. I also think the staff really liked that idea as well, and I think they liked everyone’s presentations. Case Design is a very successful company, and they were really excited to hear what we had to say, which made me feel valued. I really enjoyed this visit, and it was really nice that we had a connection with Mrs. Dickens daughter in the room. It’s obvious this company values their employees, and they have a high rate of keeping employees for many years, and that it always a good sign.

Our next site visit for the day was Edelman. Edelman is a very successful Public Relations firm, and they are actually the largest, so this was a real treat. Edelman has locations all over the world, and have very good reputations with that. Edelman also came to us with an issue about getting their clients to use social media more often. This can be a problem for many PR firms, so we came up with a few ideas to make it more rewarding, and easier to use. We suggested that having a coach or holding seminars would be helpful for their clients, and creating easy to post information would also be helpful. Showing successful case studies to show them that being on more social media platforms will generate a higher return on investment. One of our better ideas was incentivizing employees to post more often, by recognizing those individuals by highlighting the “Media Stars of Edelman” and hosting networking events for those individuals. Creating healthy competition was one of the ideas they also liked. Also, allowing those who work on a particular case, to go meet with those companies, goes along with earning responsibility. This presentation was a little different from the others, because it was a much shorter visit, and the employees working there were not entirely prepared for our visit. It seemed like they were very busy that day, and that can also be a good sign that the company is doing well. I wish we had more time to get more insight, and feedback about Edelman, but at least we got a chance to get some feedback on our presentations.

Being the only participant that studies Public Relations, I was very excited to be there. Although this visit was slightly less welcoming than the others, I still really enjoyed getting feedback from the staff and speaking with the interns! The internship is a 4-month program and can be a stepping stone to a more permanent position if you choose to, and if the company decides to keep you. I was able to exchange cards with the recruiter for Edelman, and she was a very nice woman with lots of information. Now that I have her card, I have been able to email my resume to her, and possibly have a leg up when it comes to applying for the internship. I am very interested in applying for the internship because even if I don’t get the opportunity to stay on, it will still be a great experience, and expand my network tremendously. The interns gave us some great insight on what is expected from them, and reassured us that the work they do, is real and is very valuable to the company. I would like to be in their shoes someday soon, and hopefully I will!

Our next stop was the Cassaday & Co. networking event at the Hilton Hotel. We took the metro there, and then a shuttle bus, because it was very cold outside. This was all of our first times to go to a networking event, and we were quite nervous. Unsure what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised to have such delicious hor d’oeuvres, and got a chance to speak one-on-one with some very insightful people! Some of these people worked for Mr. Cassaday, and were very young. Others were there to network and meet people just like the rest of us in the D.C. experience group. After about an hour or so of networking, we were then showed to the room where they had a panel for a session of questions and answers. The members of the panel were all very young, successful, and professional. They all told us their story, and how they got to where they are today. All of the individuals have had experience prior to their positions at Cassaday & Co. Some of the members of the panel got the job through a connection that the may have had with Mr.Cassaday. They talked a lot about expanding your network, and gave us some great tips on how to do so. They also stressed how important it is to practice before you go to the interview. Mr. Cassaday even gave s a good tip and told us to call the receptionist to ask who will be interviewing, or even get some more insight about the company from an insider. The panel was so helpful when it came to answering the audiences difficult questions. Hearing the different types of journeys and experiences that those employees have gone through, really showed me what it takes, and that I am not alone. It was also very encouraging that the members were so young! Mr. Cassaday really cares about Radford, and he admits that his your major is not the most important thing in the world. I really enjoyed this event, and I exchanged business cards with some people there. I’ve made some connections on linked in, and I hope to come across these very ambitious individuals again soon. This was one of the highlights of the D.C. immersion week.

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