When my partner and I are hired to provide external assessments for college and universities, we are asked to offer objective perspective on in-house organizational structures, expenditures and effectiveness –based on our many years of experience and knowledge of the industry.
It’s always interesting to see the way really smart university communications people design a campaign around a priority message or initiative for their campus. A colleague I have long admired is Heather Swain at Michigan State University, and it didn’t surprise me when our headline scanning picked up a series of announcements and news coverage about MSU programs and outreach across the state of Michigan. Continue reading →
Leaders across higher education have had a daunting task since the presidential election: How do you help your community navigate through deep anxiety, polarized views, acts of bigotry and, in some cases, physical threats?
Many expert communicators I know are fans of the “drumbeat” approach to communication: a steady stream of large and small actions and stories, over time, that help reinforce a consistent idea or theme. The reason drumbeats work so well is because we are all incredibly busy and great at filtering out information. That means the odds that any one message will break through are pretty low. Build up enough pieces of communication in different avenues over time, and the chances improve for getting your target audience to say, “Aha! Something is going on there.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has taken a creative approach to building public support for its budget request, launching an advertising campaign to promote the contributions of its alumni across Wisconsin’s 72 counties. If executed well this can be a smart approach, and I’ve seen it work for other institutions.