Office of Strategic Marketing and Branding

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  • 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 […]
  • Why (and when) to leverage focus groups

    Surveys are a great tool for collecting large amounts of data from your audience, but they do have limitations and don’t always gather the depth of information you’re after. This is where focus groups can be extremely beneficial.  There are generally two ways that focus groups can be used as part of a market research […]
  • Making your jobs easier with brand templates

    The Office of Strategic Marketing & Branding exists, in part, to help campus marketers’ and communicators’ jobs to be a bit easier. We understand that you have a lot to do, no matter how large or small your team may be.  One of the ways that we will be looking to help in the coming […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]