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Brand strategy

  • The 15-minute persona exercise

    In an ideal world, we would have a target persona for each audience and project we work on. In the real world, this hardly ever happens. We all know how it goes: We’ve got five different projects we’re working on, no time to finish what we have, and another one gets thrown on our plate that […]
  • Understanding our unit identity strategy

    Where’s my wordmark?? It’s a question we’ve heard many variations of in the past six months, and for good reason. We realize the shift is not a small one, but it is an important part of our brand strategy. In January we led a workshop on the topic. This blog post draws from that workshop, […]
  • Evolving the brand for new audiences

    Have you seen the new Power of I media campaign that went live the first week of January? If so, you probably noticed a shift: This campaign was developed to target audiences beyond prospective students. The images below are a couple of examples of the new assets. Toward the end of 2020, our team began […]
  • A Top 10 list for 2020

    With the winter holidays right around the corner, this is the perfect time to reflect on the best parts of the past year, in spite of the challenges we’ve all faced. At UIUC we’ve had much to celebrate as a campus community. On a unit level, here are the top 10 things we’re celebrating in […]
  • Asking lots of questions leads to the best path

    “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.” This quote by Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business School Professor, underscores the importance of understanding the needs of users if you truly want to accommodate them. But even in this example, knowing that they want the quarter-inch hole doesn’t go far enough […]
  • Look beyond the target

    Sometimes to hit the target, you need to look beyond it. It’s a counter-intuitive concept that can have important implications for marketers and communicators. Let me share a personal example to illustrate this idea. About a year ago, my son was in the process of deciding where to attend college. For months during his senior […]
  • Reach for the stars

    It’s easy to get caught up in the immediate tasks of running your unit – especially during a pandemic, when the day-to-day often feels like all we can manage. But with the “new normal” constantly in flux, it’s more important now than ever for your unit to be engaging with your audiences and reaching for […]
  • Using stories as powerful marketing tools

    There’s a lot of talk about “story” when it comes to marketing. Just Google it and you’ll see what I’m talking about. But using stories as part of a marketing strategy is more than a trend.  Stories are important because they allow us to connect with our audiences in ways that spark emotion. Anyone who […]
  • Tips for defining your target market

    Who are you hoping to reach with your messages? The first thoughts that come to mind are usually broad categories like “alumni,” “millennials” or “Illinois residents.” But it’s important to get even more detailed about your audience. The more clearly you define your target group, the better you can understand how – and where – […]
  • Growing a campus-wide market research program

    Unity, consistency and data-driven strategy. I was excited about the goals of the Strategic Marketing and Branding office before I even officially joined the team a couple weeks ago as the new Market Research Director. My own approach aligns well, as I plan to create a much more unified market research program at the university […]