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Update on strategic positioning for November 2022 | MarComm team, new partnership, strategic storytelling

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

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Internal  •

As we experience the transition of the seasons, I’d like to take the opportunity to make you aware of some changes happening in MarComm. Last month, in the October quarterly reputation strategy update, I shared some of the exciting and unexpected outcomes of the first year of our new and renewed partnerships, collaborations, and central marketing program as well as the continued, rapid growth in media relations and crisis communications. In the first of now two November updates, I shared some tactical information about our newly designed business suite, logos, MarComm Camp, and more. You can read a recap of last week’s message in MarComm’s blog.

The first year of an anticipated three-year journey surpassed our expectations. And, as you might imagine, with big results come big expectations as well as a desire to achieve even more. Over the last few months, our team has been working on ways to build upon the momentum we’ve built while sustaining the foundations we’ve set. We’re shifting pilots to standards and elevating our strategy to advance the University. All of this is happening in the midst of experiencing gaps in critical roles, which we know has been the case with many of our marketing and communications colleagues across campus. The result has led to overburdening members of the team carrying the increases needed on projects in a variety of areas. In addition, when the recruitment cycle hit its peak season, we saw talent pools for posted positions begin to dry up. This forced a great deal of creative, strategic thinking and regular opportunities for our teams to rely on each other in new ways.

In this season of giving thanks, I am so grateful for my entire team and their ability to really lean in during many challenging moments and facing unanticipated speed bumps with grace, tenacity, and resilience. And I’m thankful for you, our partners, for your patience—which was tested far more than any of us would have imagined during these last few months.

Here is a sneak peek at some of the major initiatives underway:

Augmenting the team with a focus on sustainability

Over the coming months, you will see a series of new positions posted from MarComm, which I hope you will share with your networks to help us attract robust pools. We are also focusing more deeply on our retention efforts, creating a robust program to recognize and celebrate the talent we have cultivated over the past year. We’re excited to work on projects that bring great fulfillment to the whole team during this next phase of growth. Infrastructure is not built overnight and I can safely speak for my team when I say we are relieved and thrilled to be moving forward with support that will enable us to accomplish great things for the University. While hiring often takes more time than we’d all prefer, we are working closely with our partners in HRIC and look forward to a future where our team is even stronger.

Increasing our vendor bench and partnering with a new reputation management firm

As we work to expand and reorganize roles, we recognize that the best work is not done alone. We welcome the talent and insights that experienced members of outside partners can bring. As all of our needs have increased substantially, we are actively vetting new partners, ensuring they can support us with writing, photography, videography, design, and more. If you have a talented external partner you would recommend, please share their information with

In direct support of the University’s strategic imperative #1—to ensure a bold, enduring future for the next generation through our financial, reputational, and operational practices—we were asked to create a plan to engage thought leaders and influencers across the nation. To help us do this, we have been interviewing a series of reputable agencies to find a partner. We anticipate that this initiative will have several benefits – one of which is a hopeful rise in the rankings. I look forward to sharing more as we onboard and welcome them to support DU in the new year.

Focusing on strategic storytelling and content creation

Focus enhances momentum and increases engagement. For several months, we focused on several initiatives related to the revamp and roll-out of the brand. As a result, we hit a number of roadblocks that resulted in a pause in our ability to support a great number of external projects. We are working to remedy this situation now, though it may be some time before we see dramatic increases in our team’s capacity. As we have gained clarity on DU’s strengths and brand voice, the need for MarComm’s efforts to move toward shifting public perception and asserting the University along with key members of our community as the thought leaders they are has become paramount. This additional focus on strategic storytelling—by expanding our content marketing and communications efforts – will help amplify and extend our reach. We will also pause temporarily on initiatives that take time away from these core objectives, which will allow us to do our best work as well as rebuild capacity and energy for the exciting road ahead. 

The team has done a fantastic job of starting us on this path and we look forward to taking our strategic storytelling efforts to the next level, elevating the brand to new heights. I’m excited about the adventure ahead and continuing this journey with you.

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.