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Update on reputation strategy for April 2022

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

News  •
Internal  •

We’re 18 months into our journey to refocus and refresh DU’s brand. As we transition from foundation-building to implementation of our reputation strategy, we’ll begin training this summer and launching the refreshed brand officially in the fall. From refining our crisis communications planning efforts to creating an updated visual identity system and getting close to completion on the web overhaul project, many aspects of our reputation strategy are in high gear.

Crisis Communication Planning

MarComm and Campus Safety have partnered to implement the National Incident Management System (NIMS) for campus incidents. One of the hallmarks of the system is a clear structure for role assignment and decision-making while planning for and reacting to crises. Through the NIMS, DU will be able to adopt a comprehensive, national approach to incident management, which will enhance our efforts to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of any incident.

For the Difference Campaign

We are now integrating the 4D Experience and Kennedy Mountain Campus into the campaign themes. Following a renewed focus on prospective undergraduate students and the launch of the initial thought leader efforts in the winter, our prospective graduate student ad sets are now in the market along with a series of personalized marketing pilots, including an ad set geared to Spanish speakers in our target markets and dynamic presentation of custom content to support conversions on our website. Initial planning is underway for a creative refresh of the For the Difference marketing campaign as we enter the second year.

Research-focused messaging targeted to higher ed thought leaders launched in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed, following the promotion of the second annual STAT Conference in January. The conference featured 14 speakers focused on sharing lessons learned from the first two years of COVID, and more than 1,100 viewers tuned in to view the virtual event. Preliminary results of the campaign, which ends in June, show a 50% open rate from initial email marketing and an additional reach of 60,000+ individuals through paid Facebook and LinkedIn efforts. The campaign garnered 137,000 impressions from organic social and was above industry standard click-through-rates on paid media.


Since January, we’ve experienced three staff departures and filled three positions—marketing manager, bilingual writer, and writer/podcast host. We are actively recruiting a digital designer and magazine writer and are on track to fill five to eight additional positions by the end of the calendar year to round out our unit with skillsets in web, marketing, and more.

Operational Assessment

As we move from brand development this spring to implementation later this year, we want to understand the impact of the change across campus. We’ve surveyed campus partners, which will enable us to shape appropriate timelines and expectations as well as determine the anticipated time and resources needed to update our branded elements.

University Logo

The University is in the last stage of the process and will shortly be selecting a new logo. Building on work done by the DU community in the fall, a subset of the Board of Trustees serving as an advisory group, as well as the Chancellor’s Cabinet, Dean’s Council, and logo review committee comprised of representatives from our campus community—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—have engaged in helping to shape a second phase of this work since January. A final recommendation will be shared with the Board of Trustees this month with announcements to the campus community in the weeks that follow.

University of Denver Magazine

After publishing the University’s first research-themed issue in January, the magazine team began work on a spring issue focused on DU’s contributions to the public good, with stories exploring civil discourse, risks to democracy, plastic pollution, and access to justice and the courts. The team has continued to develop its digital product, offering a robust array of digital exclusives. Later this spring, the team will begin work on a comprehensive redesign of the print magazine that is expected to debut in the next fiscal year.

Visual Identity and Editorial Style Guides

A new visual identity system and accompanying style guide will include enhanced versions of brand standards such as our logo, color palette, and typography, as well as the introduction of new resources, including a grid system and new image and video guides. Based on the 4D Experience, Kennedy Mountain Campus, and other points of distinction, we are actively updating DU’s messaging standards as well. We plan to release a refreshed editorial style guide with this messaging in tandem with the new visual style guide by the end of the fiscal year.

Web Overhaul

MarComm is nearing completion of the web migration to Drupal, ensuring OmniUpdate (OU) hosting platforms unite on a single content management system (CMS) by the end of the fiscal year. Regular communications and an active web working group will continue to ensure transparency and insight into the project.