Update on marketing for May 2021
MarComm’s marketing efforts have picked up speed significantly with the activation of the reputation strategy and rollout. Work is happening continuously on multiple fronts right now, and more is started each day. I’d like to draw your attention to a few initiatives.
FOR THE DIFFERENCE Marketing Campaign
DU partnered with Carnegie Dartlet last year to conduct market research and gain an understanding of DU’s current position in the marketplace. What was discovered highlighted a serious need to increase brand awareness and build affinity for the University to support future reputation growth, recruitment, and revenue. While there is a general awareness of DU’s existence, research shows there is minimal awareness of DU’s unique value propositions, programs of distinction, and benefits for students. As we build out the infrastructure for DU’s brand, the For the Difference advertising campaign will help us begin changing this situation. Additionally, the campaign will serve as the external world’s initial introduction to the revised DU brand, allowing us to begin cultivating key markets more strategically through a highly visible and intentional paid media/advertising campaign layered on existing direct marketing efforts.
Strategic Message Development
Building off strategic recommendations Carnegie Dartlet developed in 2020 and after considering many value propositions, the Strategic Messaging Work Group, a collaborative team of writers and content strategists from across the University, have developed and presented recommendations for the value propositions that rise to being truly unique—DU’s unique value propositions (UVPs). The UVPs and their supporting proof points have been evaluated by central marketing leaders and are now with employee and, shortly, current student focus groups for additional insights and feedback in preparation for their finalization and incorporation into our marketing and strategic messaging moving forward.
Communication and Infrastructure
The MarComm division has evolved over the years. And for many of our campus partners, that’s created a great deal of different and, at times, inconsistent experiences with the team. While we’re still building our team and establishing our marketing program infrastructure, I’m committed to changing this legacy by creating a new series of conversations and communication threads. I’m thrilled to be able to share an update on some of our initial work.
Reputation Strategy Rollout Roadshow
I completed a series of conversations with campus partners, colleagues, and stakeholders this month, and shared the strategy guiding much of our work in this area for the next 18 months and beyond. I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogues as the work continues. The groups engaged over the past few months during this initial roadshow include the Cohesive Marketing Group, MarComm Division, University Board of Trustees, Communicators’ Roundtable, Chancellor’s Cabinet, Staff Advisory Council, DU Insiders, Faculty of Color Association, University Council, and Staff of Color Association.
I realize that it may seem a bit odd to talk about meetings and communication channels as notable updates, but in this instance, I hope you’ll indulge me as I share the intent behind some new meetings and communications underway.
Communicators’ Roundtable: A new weekly meeting series has been created for us to engage as communications and marketing colleagues on specific focus topics and share the latest in findings, campaigns, strategy, and information. The goal is to foster connection as we find opportunities to align our efforts, amplify our messaging, and expand our collective expertise.
Reputation Marketing Cross-Campus: Marketing leaders in athletics, advancement, undergraduate admission, and central marketing have started meeting weekly to begin the work of aligning efforts at an operational level in the areas with a key hand in shaping external brand perception.
DU Insiders: A standing focus group, DU Insiders is a cross-section of DU faculty, staff, and leaders established to provide key insights on the brand development work. The group kicked off a couple weeks ago, and moving forward, will be convened on an as-needed basis to aid in the work.
Work Groups: Each work group, made up of marketing and communication colleagues across campus, meets as needed to support their work. Work groups currently at work are focused on strategic messaging, the ad campaign, and visual identity.
Bookending this update with a note about communication cadence and intent feels appropriate. As the volume of our work continues to increase and its impact is felt more widely, I’m committed to continue to share information with you regularly. We can’t do this work without you, nor would we want to. After all, DU’s brand is our business. Below is a list of the regular communications from MarComm:
Weekly or bi-weekly
- MarComm blog post sharing thoughts on various topics and insights into strategic initiatives
- Web overhaul updates sent via email will continue being sent to Communicators’ Roundtable and web stakeholders
- Web migration project updates in The Bridge and MarComm blog
- MarComm dashboard and media reports sent via email to Cabinet, Deans, and Communicators’ Roundtable
- Communications key initiative updates and reports sent via email to Communicators’ Roundtable and select campus partners (started 5/12)
- Marketing key initiative updates and reports sent via email to Communicators’ Roundtable and select campus partners (starting today! 5/26)
- MarComm Division updates to Chancellor’s Cabinet, Deans, and DU Insiders (starting 5/28)
- MarComm Division updates to Board of Trustees Advancement Committee will continue
- Reputation strategy rollout updates in The Bridge (starting 5/27)
I look forward to sharing additional insights on these initiatives and even more as we continue working collaboratively to contribute to a better DU.