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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





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

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