PRSSA National President, Emma Finkbeiner met with 30 students from UA’s PRSSA Chapter and Capstone Agency for a workshop on personal branding while she was on campus last week for The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations’ annual board meeting.
The workshop included elements of branding to consider when crafting messages for social media, personal and portfolio websites, and LinkedIn. Finkbeiner used interactive methods to engage the students and encouraged them to be mindful of their personal and professional brands.
Finkbeiner, a graduate student at DePaul University, emphasized the importance of storytelling and being genuine—things that consumers seek in popular brands like Coca Cola, Ikea and Nike. According to Finkbeiner, what makes those brands so credible and exciting is similar to how students produce and share their unique voices and personal brands.
“Taking the time to discover and build a personal brand is vital to differentiating yourself in the marketplace,” Finkbeiner said. “If you work to find out what makes you valuable and different now, you will be that much more prepared by the time you graduate and begin the job search.”
A personal brand is how one represents his or her personal qualities, traits and experiences in a way that markets them. In this case, students use their personal brands to share interests, professional experiences and how they may fit into a certain organization’s culture for internships or employment opportunities. Finkbeiner emphasized the “Five R’s” of a personal brand, based on research from the Institute for Public Relations: Real, Relatable, Relevant, Resonate, Relationship.
“After hearing so much about the C&IS at the University of Alabama from friends and through PRSSA, I was thrilled to make my way down to Tuscaloosa for a visit,” Finkbeiner said. “From my tour of the college and in talking with some of the students, it was obvious that The University is providing really great experiential learning opportunities to its students.”
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), made up of over 11,500 students, is the premier student organization for public relations students across the country. UA’s PRSSA chapter, established in 1970, currently has over 180 chapter members, making it one of the largest chapters in the nation.