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Messaging & copywriting

  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • How one unit is using brand powers to tell their story

    Several campus communicators have recently asked for guidance on how to share their unit’s unique messages and stories while still plugging into the university-wide brand. It’s a great question (one that resonates far beyond the realm of branding): How do I celebrate the qualities that make me unique while also embracing my identity as part […]
  • What's in a name (or a wordmark)?

    What’s in a name? It’s a good question – one that we’ve been thinking about a lot in the Office of Strategic Marketing & Branding (SMB), particularly in the context of wordmarks and how to convey the identity of secondary units. If you used to have a wordmark but now don’t under the new brand […]
  • How to apply "features vs. benefits" to marketing higher ed

    Once upon a time I was a young copywriter at a design and branding firm, where I was learning much about the trade on the job. “Show, don’t tell” was, of course, one of the first valuable lessons I absorbed, but it was the “features vs. benefits” rule of thumb that really transformed my understanding […]
  • Expressing freedom within the form

    “The essence of branding is to create simple, relevant messages we can repeat over and over so that we brand ourselves into public consciousness.”  That quote is from a book by Donald Miller called Building a Story Brand, which the strategic marketing and branding team has been reading together. The importance of simplicity and repetition […]