About Brianne Fleming: Brianne Fleming thrives on her passion for all things creative – from advertising, to branding, copywriting, and graphic design. She loves to use social and digital media to tell a story and build an audience of loyal fans. Ms. Fleming has helped shape the voice and corporate identity behind several brands, including one of the world’s most well-known fitness franchises. She now owns her own marketing and content consultancy, Twelve Stories Up, Inc., which focuses on elevating health and wellness brands. In her spare time, Ms. Fleming runs a blog that highlights marketing and advertising lessons derived from pop culture.
Ms. Fleming holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. In 2017, she completed her master’s through the University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Mass Communication program, specializing in Web Design. Upon graduation, Ms. Fleming went on to become an instructor for UF’s digital strategy and social media programs, and now teaches courses on lead generation, advertising, and branding.
[MastersinCommunications.com] May we please have a brief description of your educational and professional background?
[Brianne Fleming] As someone who has always loved to write and create, I knew I wanted to pursue communications for my undergraduate degree. I attended the University of Central Florida where I first declared myself as a journalism major and later switched to the advertising/public relations program. In contrast to journalism, the advertising/PR curriculum allowed me to focus my creativity beyond the written word. I took courses on graphic design, visual communications, and campaign development. I loved it all!
During my time at UCF, I held a part-time job as the marketing lead at the on-campus recreation center. In this role, I helped promote the university’s fitness and wellness programs, as well as intramural sports, aquatics, outdoor adventure, and much more. This position not only confirmed that communications and marketing was the right path for me, but that I enjoyed applying my skills to the fitness industry in particular.
I was named the employee of the year out of the recreation center’s 400+ student employees and graduated with summa cum laude honors. Upon graduation, I held roles in marketing and PR for a non-profit, and then for corporate brands in real estate and franchising before making my way back into fitness. I worked as a marketing and brand manager at the Orangetheory Fitness global headquarters where I helped establish their brand purpose and corporate identity. I built content and communications that celebrated our members’ inspirational testimonials of triumph as an integral part of the brand’s story.
I now own my own marketing consultancy where I continue to work with brands in the fitness, health, and wellness sector. I also teach master’s courses for the University of Florida online in branding, social media, and advertising.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in communication, and why did you ultimately choose the online Master of Arts in Mass Communication (MAMC) program at the University of Florida?
[Brianne Fleming] I pursued a master’s degree in communication with a specialization in web design at the University of Florida to complement my existing skills. My undergraduate coursework and work experience gave me a strong foundation in writing, graphic design, advertising, and public relations, but something was missing. I knew how to write and create content, but was unable to publish it and see it shine on a website. I needed to learn how to create websites to bring my content and storytelling full circle. I also learned important lessons in user experience, communications theory, and design that helped make me a stronger, more well-rounded marketer.
As a Florida native, I was already familiar with the University of Florida’s stellar reputation, and since I was working full-time in south Florida, I needed a flexible program that fit my lifestyle. I was thrilled to find out that UF offered an online master’s program designed for working professionals. The curriculum covered topics and skills that were exactly what I wanted to learn. I’m so thankful I was able to earn this degree while maintaining a full-time job.
[MastersinCommunications.com] How is the University of Florida’s MAMC program structured, and what concepts did the program emphasize? What skills and strategies did you learn in your classes, and how did you apply them to course assignments?
[Brianne Fleming] The great thing about the MAMC program at UF is that there are several different specializations. I chose web design, but they also offer public relations, digital strategy, social media, global strategic communication, audience analytics, political communication, and public interest communication. There is really something for everyone!
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please elaborate on your experience with UF’s online platform? Were courses asynchronous (prerecorded), synchronous (live), or a combination of both? Did the school’s online platform enable you to interact with faculty members and classmates? If so, how?
[Brianne Fleming] UF’s e-learning platform was very engaging. I was surprised at how connected I felt to my teachers and classmates, even at a distance. There were always opportunities to communicate and work together. The courses were a combination of asynchronous and synchronous, which kept things fresh and interesting.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please describe your experience completing your capstone project? What communication issue or challenge did it address, and what were your primary deliverables (i.e. communications plan, tutorial, video, visual marketing materials, etc.)? What advice do you have for students in terms of successfully completing their project?
[Brianne Fleming] My capstone project was a group project in which we built a website strategy for a real client. We focused on an e-commerce dog food company and were also tasked with establishing a new brand identity. We had to justify our design decisions, as well as our proposed user flow, which we felt created a more seamless shopping experience. We had to deliver our research and competitive analysis, as well as our brand objectives, campaign strategy, branding guide, collateral designs, digital marketing mock-ups, and a website demo.
Thankfully, the group dynamics amongst my classmates and I were pretty smooth. We divided and conquered and had the support of our instructor along the way. We presented our work to the client live in a digital classroom, which felt like a very real-world experience. It was incredibly valuable!
[MastersinCommunications.com] What key takeaways, experiences, or connections from the MAMC program have you found to be the most helpful for you in your career path?
[Brianne Fleming] I’m most grateful for the connections I’ve made in the MAMC program, as they’ve led me to become an instructor myself. I teach courses in the digital strategy and social media specializations and am so fulfilled helping and mentoring my students. I strive to give them an amazing experience just like I had!
My favorite takeaway from the program was learning about usability testing. Building a website is more than just coding and making it look aesthetically pleasing. It was fascinating to learn about the types of layouts, copy, colors, flow, etc. that compel the website visitor to take action. That’s how businesses grow and thrive! I learned how imperative it is to test and adapt a site until it performs at its absolute best.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice would you give students just starting the University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Mass Communication program? More broadly, what advice would you give students who are either considering or starting a master’s in communication program, whether it be at UF or another university?
[Brianne Fleming] For new students in UF’s MAMC program, I would tell them to document their journey and save all of their work. It’s much easier to build a website and organize an online portfolio as you go through the program, vs. trying to compile it all upon graduation. Start building a personal brand where you can demonstrate your value, experience, and knowledge to make you an attractive candidate for the opportunities you want to pursue.
I think a master’s in communication program is the perfect complement to any undergraduate degree. Communication is an ever-evolving field, and UF and many other programs will help keep you on the cutting-edge of the best strategies to influence an audience. You can go at the pace that is best for you! You’ll finish as a more effective communicator which will benefit you in any career or endeavor.
Thank you, Ms. Fleming, for your excellent insights on the University of Florida’s Master of Arts in Mass Communication program!