Relying on SISU's foreign language advantage and SBM's public relations lab, Laboratory of Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data Sciences, key laboratory of brain and cognitive sciences, the Institute of Digital PR and Brand Management was established in 2008. It is dedicated to researches on brand image building, public opinion crisis management and other related fields, and provides think tank consulting and knowledge training services for the government, enterprises and the third sector.
The director of the institute is Wu Youfu, one of the leading academic professors of public relations. Professor Wu has been teaching public relations courses at SISU since 1987. He has translated Public Relations and Practice (published in 1989), which was rated as one of the six outstanding publications of Chinese public relations in the 1980s. Professor Wu began to admit master students in public relations in enterprise management in 1998 and doctoral students in public relations in international relations in 2006, becoming one of the earliest public relations supervisors in China. Under the leadership of professor Wu, the undergraduate program of public relations of SISU was enrolled in 2006, and the master's program of public relations was enrolled in 2014. In 2011, the undergraduate major of public relations was requested and included in The Catalogue of Bachelor's Degree in General Higher Education in China (2012) by the MOE. SISU has become the only university in China that has the system of cultivating undergraduate, master and doctoral talents in public relations. In this process, a senior, middle and young academic team with high education background has been formed.
The institute is closely connected with the national public relations organization, and its members are also the deans of the national public relations major, the directors of the joint conference committee, the vice presidents of the China public relations association, the vice presidents of the public relations branch of the China society of journalism and history, and the vice directors of the academic committee of the China international public relations association. With outstanding research ability, the team has published papers in authoritative journals such as Management World and World Economy and Politics. In the past five years, the team has presided over many national social science fund projects and national self-science fund projects.
In addition, the institute continues to carry out the following work: Under the guidance of MOE teaching steering committee for public administration majors, the institute have conducted research and guidance on the development of public relations majors in Chinese universities. The institute also edited the academic collection of public relations research, which is the only publication in China that focuses on the theoretical research of public relations, and published two issues every year since 2015.The institute has compiled The Report on the Development of China's Public Relations, published The Report on China's Public Relations Development in the Last 20 Years (English and Chinese) in 2008, and also published China's Public Relations Development Report 2006-2010 (English and Chinese) in 2012. The institute has also been holding the International Public relations Forum in Shanghai every two years since 2006.