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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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Q&A with SCD: Creative problem-solving with design thinking (+ Post-its!)

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative process lately. It’s absolutely critical in marketing when it comes to engaging our audiences, yet when time is short it can be the first thing to go. I decided to ask two members of the Siebel Center for Design (SCD) team to share some insight on how […]
  • 3 tips for creating a unit-level brand guide

    If you’re looking for inspiration for how to take our campus-wide brand guidelines and customize them for your unit, LAS has recently published a great page of “Guides, materials, and resources for LAS communicators” on their website. Even if your unit is much smaller than LAS, I think there are good ideas you could adapt […]