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Division of University Relations. Formed August 2009 Public Affairs Media Services Publications Government Relations Board of Trustee Operations FOIA Requests Intake. President Peters’ Charge.

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Division of university relations
Division of University Relations

  • Formed August 2009

    • Public Affairs

    • Media Services

    • Publications

    • Government Relations

    • Board of Trustee Operations

    • FOIA Requests Intake

President peters charge
President Peters’ Charge

  • Develop a brand identity and a corresponding marketing strategy for NIU, to allow us to compete and flourish despite the increasing cacophony of higher education options for potential students -- community colleges, quality private colleges and universities in the region, as well as public universities including UIUC, UIC and ISU.


  • NIU has extraordinarily talented in-house videographers, graphic artists, writers, editors and web content specialists.

  • No staff devoted to social media…..Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel, Flicker Pages

  • Best organizational structure for NIU is one that encourages cross-disciplinary teamwork.

Reorganizing communications resources
Reorganizing Communications Resources

  • Organize Division of University Relations to be more efficient and utilize complementary communications tools we have within the university.

  • Two year reorganization to enhance communication and coordination of NIU messaging on day to day and overall strategic and branding/ marketing basis.

Interim steps
Interim Steps

  • Media Relations & Internal Communications Team/New leadership; experience in media relations, production and videography

Interim steps1
Interim Steps

  • Web Communications Team

  • Enhance communications and working relationships between web communications and production including photography, graphic design and videography.

  • Team consists of 5 people, all internally reassigned – NIU webmaster, graphic designers, videographers, editorial support and one full time person devoted to social media.

Branding initiative staff
Branding Initiative Staff

  • Full time administrative staff dedicated to branding initiative.

  • Develop measurement program to evaluate success in marketing and branding initiatives.

  • Interim branding needed by November, 2010.

  • Implement marketing initiatives based on branding beginning in January 2011.

Major premise
Major Premise

  • Enrollment Issues Drive Branding

  • The answer is basis for NIU's branding and marketing efforts in 2010.

Excavating our brand
Excavating our Brand

  • NIU needs to develop and "own" our own brand identity

  • Must be authentic and represent the real experiences NIU offers

  • Best brands are also aspirational – illustrate what NIU can be

The branding process
The Branding Process

  • Branding & Marketing Committee established with representation from every college and major department (Foundation, Alumni Association, Athletics included)

  • Advertising Committee established (Foundation, Alumni Association, central administration creative staff, communications staff in COB and COL)

  • Branding exercise developed for use with every group – objective is to surface words and phrases that resonate with all stakeholders

The branding process cont
The Branding Process, cont.

  • NIU’s branding initiative strongly grounded in research

  • Extensive review of all previous branding/ marketing/ planning documents, including student surveys, strategic plan, college & department branding materials, mission statement, Baccalaureate Review documents, graduate satisfaction studies, etc.

  • Extensive research into the attitudes and opinions of all our stakeholders: students (current and prospective), parents, alumni, faculty, staff, coaches, high school counselors, etc.

The branding process cont1
The Branding Process, cont.

  • NIU Public Opinion Lab conducting focus groups and

    online surveys:

    - Student focus groups convened Fall 2009

    - Four alumni focus groups interviewed March 2010

    - Online surveys underway April – June 2010:

    Current students

    Parents of current students

    Prospective students

    Parents of prospective students

    High school guidance counselors

    Faculty & Staff

Branding process cont
Branding Process, cont.

  • Two-hour session with NIU coaching staff in April

  • May survey of Foundation & Alumni Boards, Senior Cabinet & Deans; branding exercises with each group

  • May/June discussion and survey of BRTF members; branding exercise if possible

  • Faculty and staff surveys currently under development

Must make sure that branding

language resonates with all


Branding goals
Branding Goals

  • Define NIU brand attributes

  • Develop a positioning statement (clear, concise dominant “selling” idea – NIU’s “specialty”)

  • Write the NIU brand story (combines attributes, values and positioning)

  • Develop elevator speech (a few sentences)

  • Develop value proposition for use by development, etc.

  • Determine brand architecture (how all units relate to core brand)

  • Develop message architecture (themes)

  • Develop university tagline

In the meantime
In the Meantime…

  • Branding process lengthy; important to build consensus

  • Strong need to step up marketing efforts even before branding process is complete

  • Reorganized teams hard at work on new and improved communication vehicles

New northern today
New Northern Today

  • All Campus and Community Communications/Calendar/News

  • Updated daily as appropriate….

  • Goal is to make this the number one university communication mechanism


  • www.today.ucf.edu

  • www.bu.edu/today/

  • www.bu.edu/calendar/

Ad concept the power of education
Ad Concept: The Power of Education

  • Primary purpose: recruitment

  • Targeted audience: college-seeking individuals, undergrad level (ad concept also carries strong appeal to parents)

  • Concept uses the stories of alumni/students to share the fulfillment of their dreams, with their degree info displayed for subliminal effect.

  • Could be a series with 2-3 versions to represent all the colleges.

  • Translates across:

    • TV (uses voice over and text for the degree info and the university sign off)

    • Billboard

    • Web

    • Radio

  • Each media component is tied to specific open house or specific on-site recruitment activities

  • Each media component ties to a specific companion micro site that encourages users to take an action (i.e., apply to the university or register for open house events)

Tv spot the power of education
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

“The power of education helped Joe Peterson turn his childhood love of dinosaurs . . .

Tv spot the power of education1
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

. . . into an exciting profession as a ground-breaking paleontologist.

Tv spot the power of education2
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

  • It helped Nichole Luchs turn her fascination for a heavenly sound . . .

Tv spot the power of education3
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

  • . . . into a career as a concert harpist who performs with symphony orchestras.

Tv spot the power of education4
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

  • The power of education helped Patrick Yarbrough turn his love of debate. . .

Tv spot the power of education5
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

  • . . . into a love for practicing law as a respected attorney and later as a judge.

Tv spot the power of education6
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

Discover the power in your dreams through the power of education at NIU.


Northern Illinois UniversityThe Power of Educationpower.niu.edu

Tv spot the power of education7
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

  • Engineering grad playing with Tinker Toys or Legos as a child.

  • Nursing grad playing doctor with her teddy bears as a child.

  • Business grad operating a lemonade stand as a child.

  • Education grad teaching their younger siblings as a child.

Other subject possibilities

Tv spot the power of education8
TV SPOT: The Power of Education

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