Brandi Boatner is a Social and Influencer Communications Lead at IBM and a member of PRSA. In addition, she was a speaker at the 2018 PRSSA National Conference. In this interview with Brandi, we discussed her experience with public relations, advice she has for students and the improvements she feels are needed in the PR field.
Paige: Since you entered the PR field, what have you noticed needs to be improved?
Brandi: We [PR field] just don’t use technology like we should. I feel like other fields like advertising and marketing do. There are all kinds of technology for those fields and we are just so far behind. We really need to leverage and exploit technology like the other industries do.
Brandi: If the PR team and the IT team aren’t talking, which typically doesn’t happen in most agencies or companies, then we are always going to be late adaptors and we are going to lag behind.
Paige: Why do you think the PR field has fallen behind?
Brandi: The profession is changing. We are still in the business of relationships of people, that hasn’t changed and that’s never going to change. We [PR field] are just late to the party.
Paige: Do you think it is important for PR students to take Computer Science classes?
Brandi: I do. If it is offered as an elective, I will always encourage PR students to take it. It differentiates you.
Paige: How did you get to IBM and into the technology field?
Brandi: I always knew I wanted to work for a Fortune 500 company; that was my original plan. I made a wish list of companies.
I looked at top 50, location, where I wanted to be and who was doing cool stuff. Sure enough, IBM came up on that list.
Paige: What is your opinion on getting a Masters degree?
Brandi: It is a totally personal decision. Statistically, people with advanced degrees make more money but everyone has to make their own decisions. You will have to look at pros and cons, what are your objectives and different programs offered.
Paige: What advice do you have for students wanting to do PR/Communications for a corporate company?
Brandi: You have to have excellent writing skills and understand business. If you are serious about wanting a career at a corporation or agency, really understand their business and how they make money. You have to let people know that you want it.
Hi, my name is Paige Secreast and I am a junior journalism and mass communications major with a concentration in public relations at Samford University. I am currently the VP of our PRSSA Chapter and I’m so appreciative of the opportunities I have received through PRSSA.