Issue Communications

Connecting All Students with Promising Careers

With Handshake


01 / Background

Handshake, a San Francisco-based career platform for college students, turned to GMMB to help it reach college and university career centers, education advocates, investors, students, employers, and potential employees. The platform allows students from across the country to discover careers—and have employers discover them—through a curated user experience like Netflix or Spotify.

Positioning and Messaging / Earned Media / Social Strategy

02 / Strategy

GMMB partnered with Handshake to develop and implement an integrated communications plan that included strategy; crisis communications; a messaging framework and tough Q&A; staff trainings; and earned media and influencer outreach. GMMB’s deep experience in communications around higher education; tech and student data; and its robust reporter relationships proved critical to communicating Handshake’s story in a frenetic media environment. GMMB helped craft and deliver the narrative of how Handshake is leveling the playing field and making landing a job about *what* you know and not *who* you know.


03 / Work

GMMB directed editorial planning and messaging, conducted trainings with C-suite staff, managed day-to-day media relations, and issued media releases announcing new data and the launch of digital offerings including artificial intelligence. In addition to successfully pitching reporters, GMMB developed digital content and background materials, briefed Handshake’s CEO before meetings and calls, and amplified resulting coverage via organic and paid social media.


04 / Results

GMMB secured Handshake one-on-one interviews with leading outlets such as the Associated Press, The Boston GlobeBuzzFeedThe Chronicle of Higher EducationEdScoopEdSurgeFast CompanyInside Higher EdThe Mercury News, NPR’s “Here and Now,” Reuters, VentureBeat and The Washington Post. During this period, Handshake expanded its customer base to include nearly 500 colleges and universities and all the Fortune 500, while keeping its message and its mission focused on helping connect more students—regardless of background, geography or college—with promising careers.