Update on strategic positioning for November 2022 | Business suite, logos, MarComm Camp and more
As the year begins to wind down, I am excited by all the progress that has been made, especially since fall began, and hope you feel the momentum as you read this update. At the same time, I am looking forward to a little bit of the down time that the holidays will bring, to get re-energized and geared up for the new year.
Our bilingual writer, Andrea, has been hard at work these last few months finding ways to better serve our DU Spanish-speaking community. She has been printing and posting The Bridge newsletter around campus, in break rooms and other spaces our Spanish-speaking employee community frequents. Next, she is planning to host a training series in Spanish to help employees access email and MyDU. In addition, we’ve welcomed two new student Spanish editors to augment our outreach in Spanish. Together, they are working on designing a flawless rhythm for writing, editing, and translation. We are excited for the original content and unique student lens coming to this valuable work.
For the past couple of weeks MarComm has been working diligently with a number of vendors to secure and perfect the printing and production of our newly designed DU business suite. We’re excited to share the final design direction for the new pieces, which include standardized business stationery and name tags. The team is in the last stages of troubleshooting the order forms and workflows as well as centrally covering all the necessary set-up and stock paper fees to streamline the ordering process and reduce costs. We believe these redesigned pieces will serve the university well as we continue to make progress towards DU’s goal of becoming one cohesive brand.
MarComm Camp Update
MarComm Camp has been a fun way to build brand training for the campus community and I have enjoyed watching each group blossom throughout the planned activities. Putting the brand into practice, I can see how the training has had an impact on various individuals and units. I am also eager to see where some of the ideas from the training itself might lead us, as many of the ideas were nearly ready to implement.
We look forward to hosting specialty MarComm Camps that focus on niche content areas such as social media, communications planning, and more. In conjunction with our Spanish initiatives, we look forward to hosting a Spanish MarComm Camp in the new year with members of the Spanish-speaking community. The goal of the MarComm Camp Spanish session will be to create a partner guide to our existing style guide, helping bring the brand to life in Spanish. This group will also be established to become a resource for content creators who create content in Spanish.
With our new system came new variations and a slew of work at a time when our marketing and visual teams did not have an art director. I’m so grateful that René Moffatt, our new art director, has been able to step in and help move the series of logo kits and business suite projects forward. Under his and Johanna’s leadership, the marketing team has created thousands of logos, literally, and kits. To expedite and complete as many kits as humanly possible by noon on Wednesday of next week, all design team members are building logos, and direct emails will be sent to the respective units. Happy Thanksgiving!
Throughout this period, a few additional solutions have been explored and created, including:
- A new “how-to one-pager” will be shared with all logo kits and will provide hands-on support following the distribution of the logo kits.
- An additional tertiary mark has been introduced that allows for sub-units to be locked up with the monogram and University of Denver in response to a need to solve for the smallest spaces (such as pens and small print areas).
- A solve for specialty marks/graphics for qualifying units that have legacy marks to begin transitioning their elements. The specialty marks will be added as a new visual style guide addendum in the new year.
- A new approved DENVER mark that must continue to adorn the front of our Athletics teams' uniforms. The visual style guide addendum is being finalized now.
These are just the start of new things to come. In the new year, we will be tackling solutions for environmental, digital, and iconography, which will be infused into the style guide as well.
Partnership with HRIC & The Bridge Quarterly Takeover
Our friends in HRIC have been hard at work revamping benefits and adding new services for our valued DU employees. To communicate these changes and give our employees an overview of our comprehensive benefits package, our team partnered with HRIC to produce a takeover edition focused solely on HRIC benefits and information. Our hope is that benefited employees will look back at this soon-to-be-published edition as needed to make full use of the diverse benefits and services available.
For the Difference & Partnership with Undergraduate Admission
Over the past several months, Undergraduate Admission and MarComm have been working in lockstep to update existing enrollment materials to align with the refreshed For the Difference marketing campaign. The new assets include digital advertising, website content, the admission counselors’ new tabling and associated collateral, as well as the University’s visit kit, admit kit, and more. The teams even collaborated to conceptualize new strategic materials, such as a non-traditional viewbook, for our prospective undergraduates to augment advertising efforts. Additionally, our team is working with our internal and external partners to develop new targeted ad sets to help elevate the University’s reputation and visibility.
VF Press Conference & Rollout
On October 31, Chancellor Haefner announced a new partnership between the University of Denver and the VF Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest outdoor apparel, footwear, and accessory companies. Thanks to a $3 million grant over the next three years, the University will create the Leadership in Outdoor Recreation Industry (LORI) program. The partnership was announced during a formal media conference that was attended by Governor Jared Polis, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, and other elected officials.
News of the partnership was reported locally by the Denver Business Journal, Denver Gazette, and 850 KOA. News of the partnership was shared via a national wire release that was picked up by the Associated Press, Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, and more than 300 other publications around the country. Links that were embedded in the release received over 2,100 click-throughs primarily directing readers to the program’s webpage.
I am proud of the team that put together the announcement, which included several MarComm team members. And it was exciting to see the Chancellor sporting new VANS at the press conference in support of VF Corporation, which owns that brand, along with Timberland, Dickies, Eastpak, Icebreaker, Altra, Jansport, Kipling, Napapijri, Smartwool, Supreme, and The North Face.
Newman Center Website Migration to Drupal
While the website overhaul project has been sunsetted, the critical need to ensure that our websites are safe, secure, and in one system for the brand rollout through the website continues. Over the past month, we have partnered with the Newman Center to create a plan to help ensure a successful transition to Drupal.
Content Marketing, Branded Content & Social Marketing
The marketing teams have been hard at work over the past two months creating and finalizing content for a variety of purposes. We have created and released no less than seven content marketing spots, not including the different length cutdowns that are used for our underwriting placements, with several more already in the works for release over the next quarter. We’ve revised the social media strategy for the University’s brand channels, conducted five brand photo shoots for the campaign, as well as generated hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of additional new brand photographs through activities such as First Ascent at the Kennedy Mountain Campus, Homecoming, the fall magazine production, and when the Newman Center for Performing Arts brought Bandaloop to campus, that will be added to Widen over the coming weeks. We have also been making significant progress on college b-roll packages through partnerships with you all! The Daniels College of Business package is nearing completion now, and we look forward to releasing a few more in the weeks that follow.
Have you had a chance to read the fall issue of the University of Denver Magazine? The editorial, design, and photography teams joined together to weave in real-time information about new research, branding, and more happening at DU. The issue landed in boxes across campus earlier this month, and the magazine’s digital issue is live as well. Stay tuned for the winter edition of the magazine, which will once again showcase DU's rising research enterprise. Look for stories about how researchers across the disciplines are serving the public good and offering students a chance to join their projects and make a difference in our communities.
This fall has brought about a great deal of change for our unit as well as in many of yours. We welcomed three new employees to the team: Art Director René Moffatt, Senior Editor Heather Hein, and Senior Media Relations Specialist Nika Anschuetz. We’ve completed the searches and extended offers for our Analytics Specialist and permanent Strategic Initiatives Support Specialist (the role that directly supports Johanna and Shira and has been filled by a series of temporary partners over the past six months). We have also bid best wishes to Content Strategy Manager Juan Niño and Business Coordinator Erika Guilbault, who joined the Business Partners group and still supports MarComm. Both of these roles are being reimagined along with a new phase of positions to build out our teams and equip them with the ability to tackle the new priorities for the University and better sustain the priority work already underway. Our team leaders are also serving on search committees to aid in the active refilling of key positions in units ranging from HRIC to Undergraduate Admission.
As you can see from this update, there has been a lot going on this fall. While we are working as quickly as we can to respond to new inquiries and exciting projects ahead, I will ask for your patience – it may take a bit longer for us to respond while we continue meeting current needs and wrapping up some significant partnerships. As always, please feel free to reach out to me, Shira Good (Shira.Good@du.edu), or Johanna Blickenstaff (Johanna.Blickenstaff@du.edu) with any questions you might have regarding our communications, marketing, or strategic positioning efforts.