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MarComm update: First three months of 2023

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

News  •
Internal  •

It’s been a busy few months here in MarComm. I’ve always committed that I’d share insights into our activities as there was news to share, and today is no different. I’m excited to share just a snapshot of the incredible work the team had underway this past quarter. Whether internally through communications to students and staff, externally through a variety of marketing and promotion efforts to prospective students and thought leaders, or in a combination of both as we seek to support the elevation and understanding of our brand, finding new ways to feature DU’s plethora of assets is one of MarComm’s key strategies for implementing and projecting DU’s strong, compelling, and differentiated brand.

Internal Communications

Internal communications – especially this time of year – tend to be strategically focused on supporting employees through open enrollment, evaluations, and more. This year, we also added a focus on cybersecurity.

We successfully concluded phase one of our cybersecurity phishing campaign in partnership with IT. Hopefully you enjoyed meeting our dog phish on campus, kindly organized by our friends at Colorado St. Bernard Rescue, who helped us raise awareness of phishing and scamming attempts through email. We sent out six quizzes and gave out hundreds of prizes, including four lucky winners who got to bring a friend and watch our championship hockey team in Magness Arena. We received positive feedback from across campus and hope to continue this campaign with more challenges and prizes this fall. 

Winter and spring quarters are busy times in the world of internal communications, as we prepare our faculty and staff for upcoming performance evaluation reviews and open enrollment. The Bridge production team partnered with HRIC to produce the second HRIC Bridge Takeover, sent out to the DU community on March 2. This edition was packed with everything faculty and staff need to know for the review process. The goal of the HRIC Takeover editions is to condense this valuable information in an easy-to-reference format. Look for our HRIC Takeover focused on open enrollment in the coming weeks.

Media Relations/Newsroom

The DU Newsroom and our proactive media relations efforts have been strategically focused on sharing the journey of our students and faculty research.

As the spring quarter gets underway and with Commencement right around the corner, the Newsroom is sharing the experiences students have had during their time on campus and what the next chapter in their lives might hold. Stories will feature students from all academic units and other programs and institutes on campus. Our feature on Sophia Zulich posted last week. Sophia will graduate this June from the Daniels College of Business and has been a member of the DU women’s basketball team. Injuries prevented her from making an impact on the court, so instead she spent countless hours improving the experiences of other student-athletes at DU, in the Summit League, and across Division I athletics.

The Newsroom also continues to support some of our proactive media efforts related to faculty research. Cross-disciplinary research involving concussions and the impact of long COVID continues to be a topic that not only performs well with Newsroom readers but is also of interest to local and national media. The research and preliminary results have received coverage by Axios, The Denver Post, 9NEWS, and more.

Marketing Campaign

The “For the Difference” integrated marketing campaign continues to increase DU’s visibility with tactics targeting both prospective student populations and a general brand audience. Digital tactics currently running include list-based IP targeting (display), retargeting (display), paid social, pre-roll and OTT (Over The Top) video, and PPC (Pay Per Click) ads.

In March, a series of prominent out-of-home billboards launched at Denver International Airport. Three creative executions directly connect to the University's differentiators: the 4D Experience, Two Campuses/One DU, and Research & Service for the Public Good. Located in concourses B and C, the billboards encourage passersby to learn more at DU’s homepage, linked via both a unique vanity URL and a custom QR code.

A University of Denver ad in the airport

A strong partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Admission (UGA) continues to encourage prospective undergraduate students to consider joining the DU community. Together, MarComm and UGA created a new series of postcards aimed at admitted students and promoting a CTA of “Deposit Now.” The first two postcards have already been released and highlighted the 4D Experience and the Kennedy Mountain Campus, respectively. The third, to be mailed in April, will spotlight DU’s robust study abroad program. A separate postcard targeting current high school juniors encouraged prospective students to schedule a campus visit.

Combined, these tactics tell the story of DU as a place where students receive a Four-Dimensional Experience, reap the benefits of an education spread out over a city and mountain backdrop, and the good the University is creating and bringing to communities at home and around the world. The corresponding campaign landing pages expand on the marketing messaging with more specific examples of DU at work in the lives of both students and the larger community.

Video Marketing

Recent marketing videos created for the University of Denver are also focused on elevating the University’s brand—through compelling stories and techniques that feature students, alumni, faculty, staff, programs, and community members. As an example, Project Angel Heart shows how DU students and alumni are impacting their communities. The non-profit organization packages and delivers medically tailored meals to people with severe illnesses. Together, Project Angel Heart and DU’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) are making a difference with the belief that food is medicine. In the video, DU alumnus Nic Soucy talks about how she is able to contribute to the organization’s incredible mission because of the skills learned through GSSW. And DU student Alina Pantano shares how her work helps recipients maintain or improve their health, healing both mentally and physically. As a result of compelling and strategically crafted content like this and many more, video views on LinkedIn increased 1.1M% (yes, you read that right!) MoM in January.


DU’s web team is engaged with a process of frequent updates and adjustments dedicated to ensuring the University’s web presence is effectively and consistently promoting, facilitating, and participating in elevating DU and our campus partners.

One of the keys to these efforts was the development of the University’s new brand site, a tool you are likely familiar with and that helps ensure practitioners across campus have access to the tools to help them craft compelling narratives, demonstrating how their niche community is making a difference in our communities and across the world. Our MarComm web team is regularly building and updating sites that help students, faculty, staff, and community members understand innovative offerings ranging from the recent Catch the Phish! campaign to the 4D Experience to the Path Forward Program.

And these are just the beginning. We have many exciting projects on the horizon like new websites for the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Kennedy Mountain Campus, and Strengthening Bridges Project, as well as updates to the DU Newsroom, University’s Research core website, and SEO content optimizations to key enrollment pages. Coming soon, we’ll be looking to offer additional training modules specifically geared toward content creators to help our community ensure we’re getting the most out of our websites as possible with the time each unit has available.

I’d like to thank several members of the MarComm team—Gretchen Pressley, Jon Stone, Chelsea Reinis, Carri Wilbanks, and Ben Klibaner—who not only helped produce this post but are also ready to support you in their areas of expertise. While we are moving forward on many initiatives, we are happy to be your thought partner on anything you may have in the near or distant future. Our SME (subject matter expert) team, as we refer to them, is full of incredibly talented, rapidly expanding and deeply committed individuals who are putting in the work daily and ready to help DU rise on all levels. If you would benefit from a shoulder partner for upcoming work on your plate, please do not hesitate to connect with us.

We will soon be sharing news of four new members of this group as we look to backfill our art director, content marketing manager, and sr. social media specialist, as well as welcome a new publications manager role in the coming months. Please share these postings with your networks when you have an opportunity. And, as always, please feel free to reach out to me, Shira Good (, or Johanna Blickenstaff ( with any questions you might have regarding our communications, marketing, or strategic positioning efforts.