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PR, Branding and Marketing Careers in Education & Academia | Q&A with PR Experts: Part 3

PR, Branding and Marketing Careers

Here is the 3rd part of our Q&A with PR Experts series on public relations (PR) careers. In this post, we will talk with a few established PR professionals in the education domain.

 

PR, Branding, and Marketing in the Education Domain

 

Education is an extremely important aspect of human society. Every year millions of students enter the new phase of life with the hope of making it top graduate colleges/universities.

 

For all these students, there are many colleges that are trying to get students’ attention and fill up their seats every year. The pressure on students to work hard and score well to get into a decent school is something that everybody knows.

 

But, there is something that goes hidden from the people, i.e., the struggle that colleges face to attract the students towards them and keep up with the pace.

 

Like any other sector, the education industry needs constant capital and nurturing. If a college/university misses out on marketing themselves properly to their audience, then there are good chances that in no time some other college can replace their place in the market. Therefore, for a change let’s consider these colleges from a business point of view and understand it is important for colleges to have impactful branding.

 

Among all the industries, the education domain is one of the most competitive ones when it comes to PR, branding, and marketing. That is why we have decided to have a sneak peek at the career paths of the PR experts within the education domain.

 

PR, Branding and Marketing Careers in Education and Academia

 

 

Q&A with Courtney McIntosh

 

1. What made you interested in the PR & Branding field?

 

PR Careers and Jobs in the Education DomainIn college, I joined my school’s business program (not a major, but a bit more than a minor) because my Dad thought it was a good idea. Turns out that it was!

 

Between that experience and my major in English, I had a lot of knowledge about business as well as good communication and writing skills.

 

Branding & PR turned out to be a great fit for my skillset.

 

2. How would you differentiate PR and Branding for our readers?

 

Branding is how to communicate your brand/product. Everything from fonts and colors you use, the pictures you choose for the website and social media and the way you write about your company/product in articles, newsletters, etc. PR is more about spreading the word. Making sure that reporters and blog owners know when your company has done something great so that they can talk about it.

 

3. What would be your advice to the high school or college students who are interested in the PR / Branding / Communications field?

 

Get involved! Does your school have a newspaper? Are there any volunteer opportunities around? These can be great opportunities to learn and practice some skills around Branding & PR. Remember that once you do get involved in a club or as a volunteer you should be the first to volunteer for any task related to communications. This will be great for your resume later.

 

4. How important are Tech skills (Analytics, Digital/Web Marketing, Social Media, Graphic Design etc.) for the PR & Branding professionals these days?

 

I would say that tech skills are essential for anyone working with PR and Branding today. That said, there are so many different things that a PR and Branding professional can work with that you can really pick and choose the things that you are most interested in. For example, I use Google Analytics every day to see how the sites are doing – but we have a graphic designer, so the most I do with graphic design is resizing an image every once and awhile.

 

5. How could candidates make themselves more employable in the PR & Branding field?

 

Experience within marketing is always a plus, so I would encourage anyone interested in the field to get a marketing or branding/PR internship if the opportunity comes up. We also like to see candidates who have worked on their own projects, for example, started a blog with some kind of following.

 

6. What do you love most about your job? Any dark side that you would like to share?

 

My favorite thing about my job is that I never get bored! We always have a lot to do and we are always coming up with ideas to grow our sites and help our users on both findcourses.com and findcourses.co.uk. The dark side of this is that you can sometimes feel like you will never get everything done – which can be stressful.

 

Author Courtney McIntosh: Courtney is the Site and Brand Manager for findcourses.com, a search engine that helps companies and professionals find and compare top training courses and providers. She studied English Literature at Hanover College and is now based in Stockholm, Sweden. Connect with Courtney on LinkedIn

 

Q&A with Sreeparna (Dutta) Ray

 

1. What did make you choose the PR career path?

 

PR Careers and Jobs in AcademiaI didn’t really get the chance to ‘choose’ my career path as a PR executive. It was just luck by chance.

 

I was pursuing the final semester of my post-graduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism when one of my professors referred me to a Kolkata-based PR firm.

 

My journey started from there.

 

2. How is the work-life balance while working with an in-house PR team?

 

Initially, tumultuous. However, with time and experience, it smoothened out. A lot depends on the directors, the seniors, and colleagues. Right now, it is a pretty comfortable space where I get to use my ideas, improvisations, and discretion as and when the situation demands.

 

3. What are the proudest moments in your career so far?

 

There are quite a few. Winning over the confidence of the directors is one that tops the list. Achieving 70% to 80% of media attendance in events comes next. Finally, interacting with celebrities (renowned actors, singers, politicians, lyricists) and getting to know them from close quarters are truly my moments of pride. These are the perks of the profession.

 

4. According to you, what are the key skills that one must have to be successful in this career?

 

Excellent communication skills, the ability to work in a team, staying updated about different events going on in and around the city/country, good knowledge about the various media (print, electronic, wires) houses – are few of the key skills required to stay successful in this career.

 

5. What are the latest trends in PR & Branding that the newcomers need to be acquainted with?

 

I believe some of the key trends in the modern era are:

 

  • Digital PR
  • Storytelling
  • Live Streaming
  • Voice Search Optimization
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Podcasts & Webinars
  • Content Creation in Vernacular (Regional Languages)
  • Content Amplification via Social Media Channels

 

6. Any career and/or job search advice?

 

The field of PR is ever-evolving. So, it’s really critical to stay updated with the latest trends. Hence, continuous learning through on-job training and online courses would be the key.

 

Secondly, it’s always advantageous to work with a mentor or career coach. External perspectives always help. You don’t necessarily need to consultant outside your organization. You can have your Tutor, Family Member or Colleague as your mentor.

 

About Sreeparna (Dutta) Ray: Sreeparna is a PR professional with 7+ years of work experience. Currently, she is working as a Junior Executive – PR, Marketing & Brading at the Department of Alumni Affairs and International Relations, IIT-Kharagpur. Connect with Sreeparna on LinkedIn

 

Q&A with Mathias Flink

 

1. What made you interested in the PR & Branding field?

 

PR Careers and Jobs in EducationI didn’t really know what I wanted until my semester abroad at university. I went to Canada and enrolled in a few different courses from a range of topics. From economics and accounting to entrepreneurship and marketing.

 

That’s when I realized that it was the creative part of the business that was my true passion.

 

I fell for the PR and branding field because it lets you be creative but is also all about building relationships and talking to people.

 

2. How important is PR and Branding for the Educational Institutes in the modern era? How is the scenario in Sweden?

 

I think it has become increasingly more important for educational institutes to think about their own place in the brand landscape. Especially in the digital era. Educational institutes need to think about how their brand is displayed across different platforms and make sure that they have a consistent tone of voice in all their channels. In Sweden, there are a lot of publicly governed educational institutes. And they tend to rely too heavily on their history and reputation and haven’t always been able to translate this into today’s marketplace.

 

3. What would be your advice to the high school or college students who are interested in the PR / Branding / Communications field?

 

Take every opportunity you get to hone your skills. Are there any organizations or clubs you are involved in that needs any help with their communication work? You will get plenty of theoretical knowledge when studying. But if you want to stand out when you’re finished, make sure you have the practical skills to go along with it.

 

4. How important are Tech skills for the PR & Branding professionals these days?

 

Tech skills are very important in PR and Branding today. Oftentimes you will not only be in charge of producing the content. You may also be involved in the research, graphical work, distribution, and outreach. This will necessitate a broad palette of technical skills. PR and branding are definitely not only about creative writing.

 

5. How could candidates make themselves more employable in the PR & Branding field?

 

I would say that the most important thing that you get some practical skills to complement your theoretical knowledge. Find out which areas you are most interested in and try to develop your skills in this area. This could mean enrolling yourself in an online course in digital marketing, finding an internship or getting involved in a local organization, or even your school newspaper.

 

6. What do you love most about your job? Any dark side that you would like to share?

 

The thing I love most about my job is the variation. Part of the day I get to be creative and write an article. Another part of the day, I get to dig into the numbers and use the analytical part of my brain. There was quite a lot of competition when I was applying for my first job. But I managed to score an internship at my current employer and that’s what got my foot through the door.

 

7. According to you, what are the current PR and Branding Trends?

 

One of the biggest changes in PR is the advent of content marketing and the shift from an outbound to an inbound marketing mindset. Creating useful content that engages with your customers and less about just getting your brand mentioned as many times as possible.

 

In branding, one of the biggest trends in recent years is personal branding. Companies do not only brand themselves, but they also build personal brands around their key employees and try to establish them as thought leaders within their industry.

 

About Mathias Flink: Mathias took his Master’s degree in Strategic Marketing Management from Uppsala University and is currently the Site Manager for utbildning.se, a search engine that helps professionals find and compare training courses. Connect with Mathias on LinkedIn

 

Related Articles:

 

PR and Communications Jobs in India and Abroad | Q&A with PR Experts: Part 1 – Madhupriya Sengupta

Career in PR, Brand Communications and Corporate Marketing after B.Tech. | Q&A with PR Experts: Part 2 – Shabbir Akhtar

Brand Management Careers and Jobs in India

 

Author: Tanmoy Ray

I am a Career Adviser & MS Admission Consultant. Additionally, I also manage online marketing at Stoodnt. I did my Masters from the UK (Aston University) and have worked at the University of Oxford (UK), Utrecht University (Netherlands), University of New South Wales (Australia) and MeetUniversity (India).

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