Office of Strategic Marketing & Branding

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About Us

We’re excited to collaborate with you.

That’s right — collaborate. We’re not the Brand Police, and we won’t be administering any exams on the contents of the brand guidelines. We’re here for you.

We’re here to provide design tools, copywriting tips and strategies for reaching your audience. To help you get the biggest bang for your buck with media buys. To share, interpret and leverage market research. If you want to bounce ideas off someone, learn a new technique, ask for feedback or celebrate a big marketing win, we’re here.

In other words, we’re here to make your job easier, and to make all of our work more effective.

Our Team

As far as we’re concerned, our team includes you, and all U of I marketing communications professionals. But for the purposes of this website, this is our team:

  • Eric Minor

    Eric Minor

    Chief Marketing Officer

    I’m here to…

    lead campus-wide efforts to tell the great stories of the U of I in a strategic, engaging way.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    envisioning, planning, executing and delivering marketing campaigns and approaches that translate into recognizable, respected and resilient brands.

    Outside of work I love…

    spending time with my family, listening to live jazz, and enjoying a good meal at a restaurant that pays attention to details.

  • Taylor Ackerman

    Taylor Ackerman

    Strategic Design Specialist

    I’m here to…

    help make the process of creating visually branded marketing assets simple and easy.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    finding simple ways to display complex information; creating beautiful and memorable marketing campaigns; and understanding how design can be used to overcome challenges and reach business goals.

    Outside of work I love…

    growing flowers (peonies are a favorite), cooking plant-based meals, playing geeky board games, and illustrating children’s books.

  • Scott Anderson

    Scott Anderson

    Brand Marketing Director

    I’m here to…

    ensure that our brand strategy is executed effectively and supports the university's strategic plan.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    developing integrated marketing campaigns; seizing upon creative and digital opportunities to connect with key audiences; and thinking holistically about the brand experience.

    Outside of work I love…

    going for long runs, working in the yard, and having movie nights with my family (milkshakes are a must – chocolate-peanut butter-banana is a family favorite).

  • Husni Ashiku

    Husni Ashiku

    Cinematographer

    I’m here to…

    express the U of I brand through impactful, image-based storytelling.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    generating fresh video concepts; making projects that compliment great stories and brands; and using lighting in striking ways.

    Outside of work I love…

    beating my 10 nieces and nephews at chess, practicing yoga outside, and building big bonfires.

  • David Black

    David Black

    Creative Director

    I’m here to…

    help create the best possible products and experiences for our audiences.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    bringing teams together around the creative brief; developing brands and products that bring them to life; and gathering and translating insights to meet key objectives.

    Outside of work I love…

    going to parks with my family, playing blues guitar, listening to comedian podcasts, smoking brisket, and making useful things out of wood.

  • Jamie Hedrick

    Jamie Hedrick

    Strategic Design Specialist

    I’m here to…

    visually bring our brand to life and help others see themselves as an important piece of the brand.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    showing brand relationships through design; flexing a brand in unique ways while always maintaining consistency; and providing fresh solutions to design problems.

    Outside of work I love…

    home decorating, local restaurant patio meals, and getting dragged on long walks by my two dogs.

  • Lisa Keating

    Lisa Keating

    Assistant to CMO and Office Administrator

    I’m here to…

    keep things running smoothly and support our team in any way I can as we help the campus build a strong brand.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    project management and organizing work flow; customer service; and scheduling “meetings of the minds” on Outlook.

    Outside of work I love…

    making scrapbooks to document the lives of my three kids (who are now adults), traveling to warm places with beaches, and classic hair-band concerts.

  • Matt Sharkey

    Matt Sharkey

    Front End Developer

    I’m here to…

    share knowledge and resources that campus web developers want and need to do their jobs better.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    web accessibility; creating reusable software that’s elegant and useful; and making decisions based on the experience of website visitors.

    Outside of work I love…

    reading my way through a tower of library books, cooking recipes that involve a complex process, and watching movies that delve into human behavior.

  • Corey Sharp

    Corey Sharp

    Marketing and Media Manager

    I’m here to…

    maximize the return on investment for the university’s advertising spends

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    producing advertising content; media purchasing; and managing every form of digital advertising.

    Outside of work I love…

    losing track of time in my woodshop (where I build furniture for my home), and helping local businesses on their marketing and advertising efforts (I’m serious, I love this stuff).

  • Jeff Sylvester

    Jeff Sylvester

    Market Research Director

    I’m here to…

    create a unified market research program that will fuel data-driven decisions at UIUC.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    qualitative and quantitative research; visitor journey mapping; creating reports that provide strategic recommendations; and getting data deeper and wider across organizations.

    Outside of work I love…

    cooking, off-road mountain bike riding, playing card games, and collecting fresh bruises on the roller derby track.

  • Kristin Tennant

    Kristin Tennant

    Copywriting Director

    I’m here to…

    collaborate with campus communicators to find more strategic and creative ways to reach audiences.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    reworking copy to be more authentic and succinct; developing a strong brand voice; and leading brainstorming sessions that uncover better solutions.

    Outside of work I love…

    collaborating with family and friends on big meals, tent camping, haiku challenges, and listening to live music in small venues.

  • Matt Wszolek

    Matt Wszolek

    Senior Executive of Marketing & Media

    I’m here to…

    help campus communications leaders make strategic advertising decisions that produce the most cost-effective, impactful media buys.

    A few things I have lots of experience in include…

    strategic planning; media placement; budgeting; and building value-added long-term relationships.

    Outside of work I love…

    my family, enjoying a great cup of coffee on the deck, playing anything with a ball or puck, and having jack-ten suited in late position.

Together we exist to:

  • Create an overall brand for our university, with flexibility for individual units
  • Create clear visual identity and messaging guidelines that lead to greater consistency and brand recognition
  • Offer campus-wide training in marketing communications
  • Conduct market research to provide greater understanding and insights of target audiences
  • Guide campus units in developing marketing strategies focused on their target audience and on what the unit offers that audience (ie: programs, services, opportunities)
  • Encourage collaboration and partnerships across campus to increase awareness, exposure and strength of everyone’s marketing initiatives

Questions?

Contact the marketing and brand team at marketing@illinois.edu with questions you may have or visit the Brand FAQ Blog, for the most up-to-date answers to your questions about implementing the Illinois brand.