Public relations students trained to be brand ambassadors

Article body

In an ever-changing world of multimedia and around-the-clock news, communication professionals play a vital role in having a successful business and having a good relationship with consumers.

Regardless of the industry, creating a relationship between the brand and the consumer is the key to success, and there are many ways this can be done. It is the public relations and communication majors' job to understand the brand's audience and build the bridge that allows consumers to interact with the brand in the way the company wants.

Digital media has made business transactions available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows for consumers to interact with the brand, for praises or complaints. Communication experts are the people who handle these issues, or are ambassadors, for the brand—they are the people who tell their story in a way that allows for the audience to connect with the company. Auburn University's School of Communication and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts trains these students to become those valued members of an organization.

"Public relations professionals bring a different skill set to business and can help organizations effectively communicate their mission, vision and values," said Diana Sisson, assistant professor of public relations who has worked in the public relations industry for several years in digital public relations, specifically social media strategy and web content management. "Effective communication may come in the form of a campaign, an event, as well as maintaining and building relationships with members of key publics, the media and other stakeholders."

This open line of communication makes the company or brand seem transparent in their work, which builds trust among consumers and investors. This trust is what keeps them loyal, and the brand successful.

The communication and public relations graduates are the ones who know how to talk to people, how to use their speaking skills and nonverbal behavior to make their clients feel excited and their investors feel comfortable. People make business happen, so it's crucial to have these people around to be the storyteller of the brand.

"People like to know what is going on with their favorite organizations, and public relations does a great job at disseminating information valuable to the public that makes them feel appreciated in a way that's appropriate for the target audience," said public relations senior Emily Hedrick. "It's necessary because it strengthens the relationship between the organization and individual."

Although public relations professionals work closely with marketing and advertising teams, there are a few major differences in the fields that the school emphasizes in undergraduate classes.

"Public relations professionals aim to get unpaid placements, manage communication and build relationships. Advertising and marketing practitioners pay for placement and ultimately, try to sell a product," said Sisson.

But the difference in placement requires a unique skill set. Sisson said those skills include, "a strategic outlook, solid writing abilities, understanding of research and analytics, grasp of business principles, as well as a working knowledge and familiarity with new social media platforms."

Public relations and communication professionals find ways to tell their story without the direct paid advertising; they are the storyteller of the brand. This comes from a solid understanding of how rhetoric impacts consumers and how brands use this rhetoric to appeal to target audiences by strategic rhetorical devices and communication tactics taught in the fundamental classes in the communication and public relations majors.

These classes are designed to help students and future public relations and communication majors fundamentally understand how to communicate on various platforms effectively, learn rhetorical devices necessary to resonate with an audience and maintain a good relationship between the brand and the consumers and the investors. Communication and public relations majors offer a skill set that is unique and necessary in the business world today.

Students interested in a public relations career should visit School of Communication and Journalism website for more information. The Auburn University Public Relations Student Society of America chapter is another excellent source of information. See Twitter @WarEaglePR.

Related Media

Related Links

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.