A Marketing Communications Plan for
Office of Communications and
the coming years, Auburn University’s Office of Communications and
Marketing (OCM) will play an increasingly pivotal role in the success of the
institution. Academic institutions are
currently competing for students, resources and reputation with greater
ferocity than ever before. Expenditures by universities for marketing projects
and for the services of marketing consultants have become a more significant
segment of the university budget.
Auburn, OCM continues to provide a wide array
of services to the campus. The list of responsibilities and projects is lengthy
-- publications and printing services; internal communications management,
including the creation and production of AUDaily, AU Report, Auburn Commons,
e-Commons and a variety of other communications tools and vehicles; issues
management and crisis communication; media relations; community relations;
advertising; marketing; contributions to policy decisions; and management of
the University’s web presence. Although Auburn University’s central communications and marketing
team is small in comparison to peer institutions throughout the South, these
important tasks and projects are being accomplished by a productive and engaged
services are available to a multitude of customers on the campus, each of whom
may have different needs, goals and audiences.
Communication from any one part of the campus must present clear
messages that accurately reflect the values and goals of the entire
institution. The integration of divergent viewpoints, styles and philosophies
into a comprehensive University-wide image and message is essential.
Significant time and resources are needed to ensure that messages to Auburn’s myriad audiences are appropriate and
tasks and responsibilities of OCM have direct application to a significant
number of the University’s strategic initiatives. The office’s efforts are the central,
essential component of the University’s endeavors in enrollment management,
scientific and scholarly research, sponsored research and economic development,
fund raising, athletics, undergraduate and graduate education and community
relations. Support for these initiatives is multi-faceted and must be coordinated
appropriately, while keeping the overall mission and goals of the institution
in constant perspective.
marketing communications plan for the University addresses these programmatic
and resource issues. The long-term success of many of the institution’s
initiatives may rest, in part, on our ability to communicate aggressively and
comprehensively. The University’s
strengths and successes gain greater significance and produce more benefit when
October 2004 – September 2005
twelve initiatives, relating directly to the main missions of the University,
will receive priority status in the planning and operations of the Office of
Communications and Marketing and will be accomplished during the 2005 fiscal
and National Recognition Initiative
media placements, survey response and publication distribution to prominently
position Auburn University on the regional and national stage
and coordinate efforts with the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management
in communication with prospective students
communications with current students
Internal Communications Initiative
timely and comprehensive information about the University to a variety of
campus constituencies including faculty, staff and alumni
Community Service Initiative
value of the University to local and state-wide audiences
efforts with the Office of Governmental Relations to ensure Auburn’s key messages are communicated to the
lead counsel and staffing to the University on communication strategies for
Identity and Branding Initiative
and advocate for a consistent Auburn University identity through coordinated name,
logotypes, seal and other graphics, language and images
Provide leadership in promoting and
publicizing Auburn’s commitment
Research and Outreach Initiative
and assist in defining and managing communications for and about University
research and outreach
leadership in developing a year-long commemoration of the University’s 150th
the communications efforts related to the University’s capital campaign and
other fundraising efforts
Monitor and analyze the purchase and use of
printing services by the campus with the goal of providing strategies for
efficient and effective printed communications
Regional and National
Auburn University’s reputation
among its many constituencies is dependent on a variety of factors. The
institution’s profile in the regional and national arena is affected by any
number of variables – the scholarship and research of the faculty, the success
of Auburn’s athletic
teams or the latest ranking in U.S. News & World Report – all of which
contribute to the overall perception of Auburn.
OCM addresses the issue of recognition
on many levels. Through planned and concerted efforts in media relations,
publications and electronic message distribution, marketing and advertising
strategies, OCM works to provide the University with a steady flow of positive
information to all of the institution’s influential constituencies.
action items include:
reorientation of the media relations efforts of the office is continuing.
Last year, the emphasis on reactive, news release-based media work was
replaced by a more focused and proactive approach to placing stories with
local, regional and national news organizations. This method of media
placement relies on pitching stories that relate to the mission and goals
of the institution. Significant changes in media relations policy and
procedure that have proven effective will be continued and refined.
- OCM is
developing and will institute the use of a web-based database tool that
records all contacts and story placements with reporters and news
organizations. This data will be used to analyze the media relations
activity of the office, with attention to frequency and effectiveness of
contact and appropriateness of placement relating to institutional goals.
- Auburn University’s
faculty and staff possess expertise that can be effectively utilized in
promoting the institution. OCM maintains a searchable, web-based list of
University experts who have indicated their willingness to work with
journalists. Throughout the summer and early fall, OCM will conduct a
“Faculty and Staff Sources” informational campaign targeting reporters and
editors at newspapers and electronic media throughout the state.
subscribes to “Profnet,” an electronic posting by reporters looking for
experts for stories in progress. Careful review of this resource for
opportunities to place Auburn experts
is a priority for the media relations team, as is profiling Auburn faculty
and submitting them to Profnet’s experts list.
- In 2004,
OCM, in collaboration with the Opelika-Auburn News, created a newspaper
feature called “Ask Aubie.” Weekly columns are created to respond to
questions posed by school children in the region, whose pictures appear in
the column. Aubie answers the question with an assist from a member of Auburn’s
faculty. The feature has been extraordinarily successful for both the
paper and the University. Production will continue throughout the year.
- Auburn University’s
reputation can be significantly enhanced through the placement of guest
editorials and op-ed pieces in specifically targeted newspapers. OCM will
continue its op-ed campaign throughout the year.
between the University’s senior administrators and the editorial boards
and key reporters of the state’s major newspapers will be scheduled as
appropriate. At minimum, Auburn
representatives should provide an update meeting to the editorial boards
twice a year.
this year, campus communicators, senior administrators and their support
staff were given an extensive course in media training, media relations
strategies and interview techniques. OCM staff will provide periodic
updates and refresher courses to keep the training fresh and to ensure
continued compliance with the campus’s media policies and procedures.
office purchased and uses a comprehensive computerized media database that
allows for a more targeted distribution of news releases. The list also
permits the identification of key reporters and their specific beats at
newspapers, magazines and trade publications across the country. Expanded
use of this resource will provide campus communicators with accurate and
appropriate media lists for their schools and units.
- Auburn University is
often the topic of news stories in statewide, regional and national
newspapers. In order to keep the University community informed of the
extent and content of these stories, OCM will continue to post clips to
the website, linked through AUDaily and the University’s homepage. Senior
staff members will also be provided with a faxed copy of the day’s news clips.
This distribution enhances the University’s media relations effort by
highlighting to faculty and staff the benefits of positive media
communicators from the University’s schools and units provide OCM with news
releases and story ideas. In the past, these releases were sent out from
the office with little consideration of whether there might be interest in
the stories beyond the immediate area. The media relations team will
review and analyze each news release and story idea with the goal of
finding the widest and best distribution for the item.
- Auburn University will
host a CASE Media Fellowship in 2005. The fellowships are two- to four-day
in-depth seminars for print, broadcast, and online journalists at CASE
member institutions in the United States and abroad. CASE
Media Fellowships provide an opportunity for reporters to tap into
cutting-edge ideas and gain new perspectives, away from the daily
pressures of the newsroom. OCM’s winning application will bring a
journalist here for a presentation entitled “The War on Terrorism:
Research Initiatives to Protect America.”
initiated regular meetings for Auburn’s campus
communicators group. Any member of the University staff involved in
communications is invited. The typical agenda for the meetings include
guest speakers, reports from the schools and colleges and updates on
communications issues involving the campus.
office provides video and broadcast services to the campus. OCM will
produce news packages and event footage to secure more broadcast coverage.
Additionally, broadcast services will produce documentary programs for use
in recruitment, publicity and other information dissemination.
and Electronic Message Distribution
proliferation of college and university ranking publications has focused a
significant spotlight on an institution’s accomplishments regarding many
different types of performance criteria. From the preparation of the
university’s compilation of data to the analysis of the draft copy from
the Princeton Review, there is a significant marketing component to the
way the University provides answers to the many surveys it receives. In
order to effectively manage the institutional response to these requests, OCM
will work in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Research to review
all survey responses, thereby ensuring consistency and positive image
- U.S. News
& World Report’s publication America’s Best Colleges has become the benchmark ranking
mechanism for colleges and universities. The publication has been cited as
a popular resource for prospective students and their parents when seeking
information about college choices. The rankings are controversial and the
magazine’s methodology has been broadly criticized. Nevertheless, the U.S.
News rankings have become important to the public’s perception of a
university’s reputation and quality. As the ranking is currently
calculated, 25 percent of the score is derived from a reputational survey
sent annually to the presidents, provosts, and admissions directors at
more than 1300 colleges and universities nationwide.
In order to provide the survey’s
respondents with background information on Auburn’s academic excellence
and in an attempt to improve the results of the evaluation of the institution’s
academic reputation, OCM will develop a series of three mailings to be sent
throughout the year to those who receive the U.S. News peer assessment survey.
The third of these mailings will be distributed just prior to the late March,
early April mailing of the survey by U.S. News.
faculty and staff attend and present at a great number of academic and
professional assemblies throughout the year. Their presence provides a
substantial opportunity to publicize Auburn’s
academic, outreach and research excellence. OCM will develop a small, easy
to carry publication highlighting University facts, figures, and
outstanding achievements. The brochure, know as “Timely Facts About Auburn,” will
be made available in sufficient quantity to all schools and units for distribution
as appropriate. Additionally, the brochure will also be produced in a
large format, with more complete information on each of Auburn’s
schools and colleges.
produces, on an annual basis, a significant number of publications and
brochures for campus-wide use. These include the campus parking map and
regulations, the campus guide, a number of school-based magazines and
continues to monitor and maintain more than 200 of the University’s
by OCM staff members at regional and national conferences are encouraged.
The office will also continue to submit samples of its work in peer-judged
competitions because of the notoriety attached to winning entries. Staff
members of the office are also encouraged to seek leadership roles in the
professional organizations related to University communications and marketing.
Auburn University’s first
commitment is to provide its students with an exemplary education. Part of the
fulfillment of that commitment depends on the environment of the campus, and
the sense of community that must be established in order for students to have a
sense of belonging and engagement.
Two critical areas of student
communication must be managed effectively in order to create a receptive and
welcoming culture for Auburn students.
The first communications challenge relates to admissions communications –
telling prospective students and their parents about what Auburn offers. The
second challenge lies in maintaining a continuing dialogue with those young
people who choose to come to Auburn. Communication
with Auburn students
must provide information that has significant value to them, both individually
and collectively. The messages to students must reflect Auburn’s high
regard for them, but must also clearly relate the institutional values that make
Auburn a unique
management at Auburn University is a critical component of the
University’s success. The reputation of
the institution rests, in part, on the quality of the students the University
is able to attract and retain. OCM needs
to work collaboratively with the Office of Student Affairs on the brochures,
printed materials and websites devoted to the admissions and enrollment management
interdependence of content, design, distribution and documentation is critical
to this endeavor. Cooperative efforts
among Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Life, and OCM are essential if the
University is to attract and keep the quantity and type of students for which
the campus is known.
will provide support to the University’s enrollment management efforts and
assist in the communications and marketing messages to be utilized in the campus’s
enrollment management plan.
action items include:
In the interest of
maintaining the image of the institution, OCM must work with the communicators
at Admissions to develop and maintain consistent text, data and images that
depict the strengths of the University to prospective students and their
parents. This material must also be consistent with the language and images
used throughout the institution, especially when schools and colleges are
contacting prospective students individually. Inconsistency between the
centralized admissions efforts and those of the schools must be avoided.
of all University enrollment-based marketing communications between Student
Affairs and OCM will ensure content and graphic integrity. This cooperative production will assist in
ensuring that representations of schools and programs are complementary and
distinctly branded as Auburn
University. Admissions, yield enhancement and retention messages must
be consistent throughout the institution, especially among key offices that
interact with prospective students and assist in decision making.
OCM will provide Student
Affairs and Admissions with advice and support relating to website development.
Web development relating to the use of appropriate graphics and consistency of
message are integral to admissions success. It is also vitally important that
advances in database technology and website development be utilized to provide
prospective students and parents with a sophisticated interactive experience.
Communication with Students
- In cooperation with the Division
of Student Affairs and the Student Government Association, OCM has
established a weekly electronic e-mail “CAmpUs Connection” that is sent to
every student at Auburn. The news and informational items
are gathered from a variety of sources and assembled in a digest form. This
communications vehicle has proven to be very popular with students. In
order to ensure the project remains fresh, a survey will be included in a
mid-semester posting twice a year. Information received will be used to
adapt the e-mail as appropriate.
OCM will continue to be a regular participant in Camp War
Eagle and other opportunities to communicate with admitted students and their
parents. It is important to provide students and parents with information about
and access to the university’s communication vehicles. Participation in Camp
War Eagle activities and communications will ensure consistency of message and
language relating to the University.
The campus’s transportation system, Tiger Transit, provides
the University with a variety of ways to communicate with students. OCM was
responsible for the marketing plan for transit that included the redesign of
the Tiger Transit brand as well as map production and distribution, and an
advertising and communications campaign. An important component of the transit
redesign was the ability to mount transit advertising posters on the side of
all Tiger Transit vehicles. University cultural and sporting events have been
promoted on the buses, and this service will continue. Additionally, a campaign
that highlighted the Auburn Creed (drawn from the television commercial
produced by OCM and used during football telecasts) was another successful use
of transit advertising to communicate institutional values to students.
OCM will provide all Camp
War Eagle participants with a Tiger Transit Rider’s Guide and a digital watch
that includes the Tiger Transit logo and the phrase “Ride on Time.” The
promotion of the use of transit is a key element in changing student’s
perception about parking, driving and transit use.
Students who use Tiger
Transit are on the buses for five to ten minutes for each trip. OCM is working
with Dr. Richard Chapman in Computing Science to develop a wireless
communication system in all Tiger Transit vehicles. The system will consist of
an LED sign mounted in the front of the interior of the bus. Brief messages,
created and controlled by OCM, will be sent via wireless technology to each
bus, and will appear on the LED. The message content will be of interest to
students, relating to academic deadlines, cultural events and athletic
schedules and results.
A web-based University-wide events calendar was created by OCM
last year. Usage by student groups and the Student Government Association needs
to be expanded and refined. During the summer, the calendar’s format and
performance will be evaluated, with any changes incorporated by the beginning
of the fall semester.
In order to enhance the flow of information to students
through the student newspaper, radio station and television station, OCM will
schedule meetings with the senior staff of each news organization at the
beginning of each semester.
Auburn University’s community is made up of many
different constituencies including faculty, staff, students, football fans and
alumni. OCM is the primary source of information to the campus. Recent surveys
indicate that individuals on campus are increasingly dependent on OCM for
receiving news and information about Auburn. It is a vitally important
administrative function to provide timely and accurate information to these
will continue to refine and improve its information and communications services
to Auburn University’s internal audiences.
action items include:
- OCM created AUDaily last year in
an attempt to centralize e-mail-based news and information and reduce the
number of broadcast e-mail messages being sent on campus. The effort was
successful. Currently, information and news about the University reaches
97 percent of faculty and staff with e-mail addresses through AUDaily.
Survey data also indicates that the format and content meet with
overwhelming approval by its recipients. The office will continue to send
AUDaily and will explore refinements to provide improved service to the
- The University’s faculty and staff
newsletter, AU Report, was recently redesigned and its printing schedule
was accelerated from once every two weeks to once a week during the
academic year. This change was precipitated by the need to provide the faculty
and staff with a more timely and attractive news package. AU Report will
continue its increased printing schedule and will maintain its high
standards for graphics and readability. OCM will expand the scope of the
newsletter’s content, with an emphasis on more in-depth feature articles
and an expanded number of opinion pieces by the University’s senior
- As referenced in the section on
student communications, OCM will continue to produce “CAmpUs Connections”
for AU students.
- The University’s web-based campus-wide
calendar will be promoted to all members of the University community as
the primary source for information regarding campus events.
- OCM will expand its use of
“Briefing Notes,” a one-page informational sheet for senior
administrators. The service provides for the rapid dissemination of
important information regarding issues or problems facing the University.
The “Briefing Note” format contains first, a statement providing the
institutional perspective on a particular matter and second, four or five
key messages pertaining to the issue. The document also includes the name
and contact information for the University spokesperson on the issue.
Distribution of “Briefing Notes” to the University’s deans and vice
presidents puts accurate information into the hands of administrators who
need to know the institutional viewpoint and can quickly communicate that
information to their staffs.
- “AU in the News” was created last
year to inform senior administrators of significant news clippings about Auburn and higher education. The fax
service met with approval from senior staff, and has been cited as a
useful tool in keeping up to date on Auburn’s profile in newspapers across
the country. OCM will continue to refine the product and make improvements
of the popularity of “AU in the News” a link to the web version is now included
in each AUDaily mailing. Auburn’s news coverage is available to the
- One of the University’s most
important internal audiences is the more than 150,000 alumni who continue
to have a great interest in the campus. In the recent past, most of the
campus’s communication with alumni was through the Alumni Association,
whose members represent a small segment of all living alumni. In order to
provide the larger group of alumni with news and information from an
administrative viewpoint, OCM created Auburn
Commons, a presidential newsletter sent quarterly to the entire
mailing list of alumni.
Commons newsletter supplements Auburn
Magazine, which is published by the Alumni Association. While the magazine
focuses on stories and profiles of successful and influential alumni, the Commons spotlights events on campus,
academic programs, faculty and students. The newsletter will continue to be
published and mailed in January, April, July and October.
success of the Commons led to the
development and implementation of e-Commons,
a web-based e-mail newsletter. The inaugural issue in May was sent to
approximately 55,000 alumni with e-mail addresses. The intent of e-Commons is to increase the number of
University contacts with alumni throughout the year without incurring cost. OCM
will work with Alumni Affairs to produce e-Commons
eight times a year -- May, June, August, September, November, December,
February and March.
- The tradition and excitement of an
Auburn University Game Day is an important and eagerly anticipated event
for scores of thousands of people. The image and public perception of the
University are often greatly affected by the experiences people have when
they come to Auburn for a football game. The significant
logistical issues of such a large event must be dealt with effectively in
order to ensure positive experiences for Auburn’s football fans. An important
component of the planning for Game Day revolves around communications and
public relations matters.
will continue to take the lead in providing communications services and counsel
to the Game Day Committee. These matters include website development and
maintenance, writing, editing, printing and distributing the Guide to Game Day
and being the University’s point of contact with the public and the news media
for answering question about Game Day rules and regulations.
- The Auburn Creed is a familiar and
beloved touchstone for many generations of the Auburn faithful. Last year, OCM developed
a major advertising and promotional campaign featuring the Auburn Creed.
The campus’s television commercial that airs during regional and national
football telecasts featured students, faculty and staff reciting the
Creed. This campaign was specifically designed to underscore Auburn’s core values at a time of crisis
for the institution. The theme was also presented to students through a
transit advertising campaign utilizing Tiger Transit buses.
will adapt and expand on the theme of the Creed in its advertising and
promotion in the coming year.
Auburn University significantly enhances life in Lee County and in the state of Alabama. It is a major employer in the area,
contributes inestimably to the cultural life of the community and provides
stabilization and growth potential to the local economy. The people who come to
the area to work and study on the campus invigorate the community with
diversity and vitality. The University
also provides an important contribution to the hundreds of thousands of
volunteer hours spent in service to others in our region and state.
the community tends to focus on the stresses and difficulties inherent in
sharing space with a university. OCM will
work with other University offices and appropriate community and state
organizations to ensure the University receives the publicity and recognition
it has earned as a major contributor to the quality of life in the region.
action items include:
- OCM will develop and distribute a
brochure highlighting the University’s many contributions to the state of Alabama.
- The Auburn Chamber of Commerce
provides the University with an excellent opportunity to reach the city’s
business community. A staff member of OCM sits on the Board of Directors
of the Chamber. Each month, the Board receives an update on events on
campus and matters of mutual interest to the University and the Auburn business community. Items to be
addressed in the coming months include the use of the Tiger Club Card,
working to make the campus pedestrian friendly and the impact of road
closures on the business community.
- OCM will continue discussions with
the Auburn-Opelika Convention and Visitor’s Bureau regarding a joint
effort to provide visitor information at a downtown Auburn location.
- A clear understanding of the
relationship between the University and the City of Auburn is necessary if OCM is to be
responsive to opportunities for cooperative efforts between the two
entities. In order to appreciate the issues that face the City, a member
of the OCM staff will attend all City Council meetings to observe and
report back on areas of mutual concern.
- OCM will reinvigorate the University
speaker's bureau. Many opportunities exist for the University to tell its
story to the community. Through the reestablishment and promotion of the
Speaker’s Bureau, Auburn faculty and administrators can be
scheduled to speak before civic and service groups. This “grass roots”
approach to public outreach also provides ample opportunity for building
relationships among University representatives and community leaders.
will prepare collateral material focusing on AU’s mission, strengths and
service initiatives for University speakers, including videotape, DVD and
PowerPoint programs that can be easily transported and used to augment
presentations to civic groups.
- As part of a cooperative effort
with the City of Auburn and the AU Athletics Department,
OCM will develop a plan for the presence of pole banners in areas
throughout the campus and the City. Banners provide the University with
the opportunity to promote events and to provide a festive and colorful
“sense of place” of the campus. Possible events appropriate to the hanging
of the banners include welcoming new students, Camp War Eagle, or
significant athletic events.
- Civic groups and fraternal
organizations provide an important platform for positive messages about
the University. Membership in a variety of local service and civic groups
on the part of OCM staff members is seen as a positive and appropriate
venue for engaging the leadership of the local community.
Auburn University is the
largest institution of higher education in the state of Alabama. Its
programs and outreach efforts touch every corner of the state, and it would not
be an exaggeration to say that every Alabamian has received, at one time or
another, a tangible benefit from the work and research that takes place at Auburn.
Despite this, Auburn’s value to
the state is not always clearly understood by the members of the executive and
legislative branches of the state government. Auburn has not
focused a great deal of attention on working with the legislature to create an
appreciation for the University’s contributions to the people of the state.
Additionally, Auburn has not consistently
presented the legislature with a prioritized strategy for the funding of
specific initiatives or programs. Like many other state universities, Auburn’s approach
to the legislature has been sporadic and extremely decentralized.
If Auburn is to be
successful in Montgomery, it is
vitally important that legislators understand the significant contribution the
University makes to the state. Prior to the University asking for funding, it
is important for legislators to know that Auburn is a good steward of the
state’s dollars, and that money for AU is funding for the state’s greater good.
OCM will create and implement an
informational campaign directed toward the state legislature. The cornerstone
of the campaign will be “AU Day in Montgomery,” a day-long
event of informational visits to legislative offices, culminating in an evening
reception for legislators and their staffs. The day, if successful, will become
an annual event on Auburn’s
action items include:
interdisciplinary project team, including staff members of OCM,
Governmental Relations, the President’s Office, Alumni Affairs, Parking
and Transit, and Student Affairs will be charged with creating the event
and organizing the effort.
materials, such as invitations, brochures, CDs, appropriate gift items
will be developed for the event.
officials and administrators across the country are increasingly being drawn
into very public discussions of issues and problems on campus. The combination of energetic news
organizations, a public expectation of disclosure, active students and
frequently politicized issues can produce a public relations debacle for
the issue is the source of manufacture of University merchandise, myriad
discussions surrounding diversity and its effect on the University community or
crime on campus, Auburn University needs to be seen as a responsive
organization. OCM provides strategic
counsel regarding impact assessment, audience identification, and message
development and distribution. Key OCM personnel
are available at all times to work with University administrators and
departments to provide communications expertise to issues management and
action items include:
- OCM will lead the effort to
establish a Crisis Response Team (CRT.) This team of administrators,
representing Public Safety, the President’s Office, General Counsel and OCM,
will be the “first response” team in the event of any crisis that
threatens the security or reputation of the campus. Working in conjunction
with the University’s Office of Risk Management and Safety, the CRT will
ensure the University’s Disaster and Crisis Plan is up to date and
effective. Additionally, the CRT will organize and brief “second-tier”
experts, who will be called upon for their expertise in response to
- As referenced earlier, OCM will
expand its use of “Briefing Notes,” the one-page informational sheet for
senior administrators. This service provides for the rapid dissemination
of important information regarding issues or problems facing the
University. In a time of crisis, it is vitally important that the campus’s
senior administrative team be aware of and conversant with the
University’s viewpoint and key messages. Use of “Briefing Notes” places
timely and accurate information into the hands of people who most need to
have appropriate material to pass on to their staffs.
- A Crisis Communications Plan specific
to the internal operations of OCM will be developed and implemented.
Addressing issues such as staff availability, locations for large-scale
media events and the office’s general preparedness for crisis communication,
the plan will be specific in its level of detail, while at the same time
provide sufficient flexibility for a wide range of applications. OCM’s
ability to reach audiences quickly and to disseminate accurate information
means it is imperative that the office play the pivotal role in this
- Requests for information through
the Freedom of Information Act or the state’s public record law can
provide insight into areas of probable controversy in the future. Working
with the Office of the General Counsel, OCM will review and analyze
requests for any indication of potential matters of crisis.
- OCM will provide counsel during
policy and programmatic deliberations by University administration and
officials to encourage understanding of the potential public relations
implications of decisions.
Identity and Branding
Auburn University is an active
and productive organization. Its schools and colleges, programs and projects,
offices and departments all take pride in their work, mission and identity. At
the same time, the University is also tremendously decentralized, and the work,
mission and identity of its diverse parts are neither necessarily coordinated
Nowhere is this clearer than in the disparate home pages for the websites of Auburn’s schools and colleges. All
of the pages employ distinctly different fonts, colors and nomenclature. A
number of schools and colleges have developed logos that either do not
incorporate, or incorporate incorrectly, existing Auburn University marks. One of the colleges
employs a home page that does not identify it as having any relationship
whatsoever with Auburn University.
At colleges and universities across the
United States, efforts are
being taken to bring the control of the institutional identity under the
supervision of a single unit, usually within the external affairs or
communications area. A
strong, consistent image is an essential component of any institution’s
strategic direction and communications policy.
Universities that are successful in crafting and preserving identity
enjoy a substantial competitive advantage in public relations and promotional
activities. Successful branding reflects
not only a consistent graphic image, but also reinforces and reflects the core
values of an institution.
Auburn University continues to be decentralized
in a number of areas, but especially in the realm of communications. Desktop publishing, ease of website
development and communications staff housed in discrete units of the institution
all encourages independence in communication. Unfortunately, the convenience of
these communication technologies and personnel is instrumental in the
deterioration of the Auburn brand, nomenclature and message. It is imperative that OCM be positioned and
empowered to provide clear guidance to the entire University community in these
action items include:
- OCM will continue to
organize and host meetings of the University’s Campus Communicators group
throughout the year. These meetings provide communicators with a forum to
discuss marketing and communications on the campus. These meetings also
foster a sense of interrelated goals and common approaches to the
University’s communications issues.
- Prior to the adoption of
an integrated brand identity, OCM will provide guidelines for voluntary
compliance of graphics standards in publications, web pages and other
- OCM will make
recommendations to the President’s office regarding a graphics standard
and integrated brand identity for Auburn University. OCM strongly urges the campus to adopt
an integrated brand identity.
- The integrated identity
effort will provide the campus with comprehensive communications and
visual identity manuals, or “style guides” governing how the University
represents itself in written and graphic materials.
- OCM will work with the
University’s schools, colleges, programs, and units to assist in
understanding and implementing the integrated brand identity.
Auburn University’s explicit
commitment to the mission and activities of the Multicultural Diversity Committee
will provide the University with significant opportunities to reflect diversity
in its communications and marketing strategies.
Two approaches to diversity
communications are needed in order to bring this core University value to the
attention of the campus community and the University’s external constituencies.
The first strategy provides the community with information about the MDC and
the University’s ongoing commitment to the mission, goals and activities of
that group and its related allies on the campus. The second approach is more
fundamental. Diversity, as it is experienced on the Auburn University campus,
should be reflected in the use of inclusive language, photography and images in
all University brochures, releases and web pages.
action items will include:
will review current University communications vehicles to ensure an
appropriate global and inclusive perspective is present in terms of
content, graphics and images.
- New publications and communications should
present an accurate and consistent depiction of the University’s
commitment to diversity. In order to provide guidance to campus
communicators who need to have their materials reflect inclusion and
diversity, OCM will develop a campus-wide diversity communication strategy.
- It is important to indicate to the
University’s many audiences that the institutional commitment to diversity
has support throughout the organization. When appropriate, articles or
messages from the President will be drafted to include statements relating
dedication to providing an inclusive, civil and diverse environment for
everyone who comes to the campus. An OCM staff member will be assigned to
sit on the MDC.
- OCM will produce a brochure that will focus
on the successes and benefits of the University’s adherence to the
principles of diversity and multiculturalism.
Research and Outreach
Auburn University remains
committed to its land grant mission and to bringing the people of the state of Alabama the best of
its ideas, innovations and discovery.
- OCM will
work with communicators in the areas of outreach and research to better
identify important and newsworthy items for story development and for
pitching to news organizations.
- In order to find a wide audience
for stories about Auburn University research initiatives, OCM will develop
national science media lists and will cultivate contacts among appropriate
science and research writers at newspapers and magazines across the
- Working in conjunction with Research
Communication in the Office of the Vice President for Research, OCM will
solicit ideas for stories about Auburn University research and researchers for
inclusion in the Auburn Commons newsletter, both print and electronic
versions. Auburn alumni are an important audience for information about
the significant work underway on the campus.
- OCM will assign a writer to work
extensively on feature-length stories about the University’s many research
and outreach initiatives and the faculty members who work on them.
Production of these stories will allow the staff to find multiple uses for
the information, including internal and external printed newsletters,
e-newsletters, news releases and website publication.
Auburn University’s 150th
anniversary provides the institution with an important occasion to celebrate
its past and reflect on its role in the future. OCM will coordinate the
University’s observance of the Sesquicentennial Year.
action items include:
in conjunction with the President’s Office, the deans and vice presidents,
OCM will create a Sesquicentennial Planning Calendar for the year of the
150th anniversary observances. All events regularly planned for
the campus that year will be examined for potential value as a
Sesquicentennial event and will be marketed appropriately.
- OCM will
develop a distinctive word mark or logo to be used in conjunction with
Sesquicentennial activities and publications.
University will sponsor a signature affair, such as a black tie dinner, as
the culminating event of a year of lectures, performances, concerts and
other appropriate observances of the University’s 150th
- OCM will
produce a 100-130 page book featuring approximately 150 artistic
photographs of the campus as it appears in the sesquicentennial year. The
last such “Auburn
photograph” book was produced in the late 1980’s and is still being
marketed in the University Bookstore. The book will be used as a
commemoration of the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
- OCM will
develop a distinctive logo, type treatment or other graphic element to
identify and symbolize the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
the Sesquicentennial year, pole banners commemorating the 150th
anniversary will be situated throughout the campus, alerting both visitors
and members of the AU community to the significance of the observance.
The University’s Capital Campaign,
currently in its quiet phase, has begun important preparation for its public
announcement and roll-out. OCM will assist the Development Staff in the
production of printed materials, web pages and other collateral materials for
action items include:
OCM will assist the Development office in the production of the school, college and
unit-based case statements. These materials will be complementary to the Case
Statement, which was developed as a joint effort by an agency, OCM and
OCM will assist in the writing and
coordination of news releases related to fundraising in general and significant
campaign contribution in particular.
Planning will soon begin for both a print and
electronic Campaign newsletter. OCM will assist in the planning, design and
writing of the two projects.
A representative of the OCM staff will be
assigned to be the liaison to Development office and will provide advice and
counsel on Campaign communications projects.
decentralized communications environment unfortunately provides opportunity for
printed matter to be produced at every level of the institution. The
implications of this lack of centralized control are numerous and include: the
proliferation of logos and graphic representations that do not reflect the
identity and values of Auburn University; poor
quality printing, writing, and design; unnecessary and non-strategic
publications; and finally, the waste of resources.
OCM has recently begun to monitor
the use of printing services by the campus community. Continued vigilance by
the office will help to ensure better compliance of content and graphic
guidelines, timely reporting of actual dollars spent on printing and improved
stewardship of resources by eliminating redundant or unnecessary materials. OCM
will also continue to look for economies of scale by promoting shared purchase
of printing services.
action items include:
- OCM will
continue to monitor the activity of the specific budget codes assigned to
printing and will issue quarterly reports on revenue expended by campus
Designers and creative staff will work with schools, colleges and programs
to ensure that the printed materials being produced reflect the best in
content, design and production values.
University publications are expected to meet minimum standards: 1) the name “Auburn
University” should be prominent on the cover of the publication; 2) any
logo used in the publication should be one of those approved by the
University; 3) colors used in the publication should be appropriate to
Auburn University; 4) when appropriate, a statement reflecting the
University’s non-discrimination policy should appear on the publication;
and 5) if possible, the URL for the University’s webpage should also
appear on the publication. OCM will continue to monitor all campus
publications for these minimum standards until the adoption of a complete
graphic standard for the entire campus.
- OCM will
work with purchasing and local print vendors to encourage good pricing and
high quality in the purchase of printing services.
office will monitor and process requests for business cards, letterhead,
and envelopes, promoting consistency and efficiency.
campus units are unaware of the complexities and potential pitfalls in
buying printing services. OCM will provide advice on finding the right
vendor and the right price for projects.