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Matt Sharkey

  • Leveraging an often-overlooked brand power: Integration

    Integration. It’s one of our brand’s seven I-words, and probably the one that’s least-often used. Maybe because it’s a word that makes us think of other words we’d rather use, like "interdisciplinary” and “collaboration.” But "integration” made the brand powers list because it represents a very important U of I characteristic – one that could […]
  • 3 tips for writing homepage content that engages your audience

    If a marketing message doesn’t engage readers, is it really a message? Yes, this is a play on the “If a tree falls in the forest” quip. My adaptation might be a stretch, but the question still gets to the heart of what’s vital in creating effective website content: Writing to engage our audiences is […]
  • Add power with new animated logos

    The U of I’s block-I logo is the cornerstone of our brand – it represents the spirit of our university and rallies together the Illini community. Using an animated version of the logo at the right moments can really bring that design element to life. The best animated logos do more than add motion. They […]
  • Q&A with OVCDEI (part 2): Representation

    Opportunities for campus marcom professionals to begin moving toward anti-racist marketing and communications are the focus of my first conversation with Ross Wantland of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OVCDEI). In this followup post, Ross shares guidance about representation – in both storytelling and photography. Kristin: What are some […]
  • Q&A with OVCDEI: Thoughts on moving toward anti-racist marketing and communications

    This campus is so fortunate to have the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OVCDEI) leading us toward an increasingly diverse and inclusive community. Not only are the office’s resources critical to fulfilling our mission as a university, the people on staff at OVCDEI are incredibly knowledgeable and generous. Last year […]
  • How to get the most out of your ad campaign (part 2)

    In my previous post I talked about the importance of using daily budgets, creating an audience structure, and constructing a funnel approach for reaching your audience. This post focuses on the final element, which is usually the most critical one: properly structuring your creative assets. Creative Structure Once your audiences have been divided into separate […]
  • How to get the most out of your ad campaign (part 1)

    Most units at the U of I deal almost exclusively with performance marketing campaigns (vs. brand campaigns). These campaigns have a specific action you want the user to complete, such as apply for a program, buy a ticket or donate money. And at the university, our offerings are typically high-involvement purchases, similar to a car […]
  • What Luke Skywalker and Yoda have to do with marketing

    Writers know that any story can be told in 10 or more ways just by leveraging different hooks, perspectives, and storytelling frameworks. And when you frame stories to engage your audience, they can be incredible marketing tools. One way to achieve that level of engagement is to start by asking yourself this question: "Who’s the […]
  • Using testimonials to create compelling videos

    When it comes to social media marketing, video is king. Most of us are visual learners (around 65% of the population, according to Social Science Research Network), so videos are a great way to get your messages across. One trap I see many brands fall into is creating videos that feel scripted or inauthentic. At […]
  • 4 simple ways to begin leveraging design thinking

    After last week’s conversation with Lisa Bralts and Kendra Wieneke (members of the Siebel Center for Design team), they put together four simple tips to help marcom professionals on campus dip our toes into design thinking. Here’s to better creativity, problem solving, and deliverables! 1. Start at the end (user). At the outset of a project, consider […]