Effective marketing and branding require thinking first and foremost about audiences — who they are, what dreams they’re hoping to fulfill and what problems they’re trying to solve.
With our audiences as a foundation, we can then consider what we have to offer them. For most of the university, prospective and current students are the primary audience, so we’ve built this audience structure around that model. If your unit serves a different primary audience, you should rework the structure to reflect that.
Our primary audience
Students (prospective and current), guidance counselors, parents (prospective and current) patrons, corporations
Prospective and current faculty and staff
Alumni and donors
Illini fans (everywhere)
Peers, legislators, media, influencers who have a role in how U of I is perceived
Alumni and donors
What the hero’s journey looks like with prospective students as the target audience
Student as hero
With “tailored experience” as one of our brand pillars, and “empathetic” as one of our personality traits, we focus on students as the heroes of our brand story. That means our marketing is created in light of what our heroes are reaching for and hoping to accomplish.
University as guide
By positioning the university as a guide for people with dreams, needs and goals, we have the opportunity to become a critical part of their story. The underlying message is, “We know what you’re striving for, and we can help you get there.”
The marketing funnel
The people we’re trying to reach are in different places in their journey with the U of I. We take that into consideration as we communicate with them, using this marketing funnel as a guide. You’ll see examples of how we respond to these shifts in other parts of the guide.