Conferences & Training
Program - Annual Conference on Marketing and Branding

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Day 1, Monday, April 29

NOON-1:00 PM
Conference Registration

Welcome and Introductions / Setting the Stage
Join Conference Chair, Bill Campbell to meet your conference faculty and learn how to get the most out of your time at the conference.

Trends & Challenges in Higher Education Marketing and Branding (Speed Sessions)
Kick off the conference with the faculty as they share a series of short, engaging presentations highlighting some the biggest trends and challenges (and the opportunities they create) that higher education marketers face today. From digital marketing to changing student demographics to branding, we will kick off the conference with a birds-eye view of the market and industry we share.

Panel Discussion: Case Studies Showcasing Branding and Marketing in Today’s Higher Education Landscape.
What do we stand for? What does our audience want? How can we best drive enrollment? New ways we can increase fundraising and engagement? What's the best way to reach our audience? Marketers are increasingly being asked to answer a myriad of questions and solve an ever-expanding portfolio of problems. Join the faculty as they present a series of case studies on problems they've faced and the solutions they've implemented across a variety of topics. Each case study will share easy tips and takeaways, and we will wrap up with moderated panel discussion for additional Q&A and problem/solution sharing by the group.

Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • People Support What They Help Create: New perspectives to achieve brand alignment
    Who owns the brand on campus? Marketing? Enrollment management? Advancement? Presidents and chancellors? Athletics? Everyone owns the brand. Or should. But to marketers in higher ed, that can be a daunting proposition. Because while higher ed marketers may be responsible for managing the brand, they don’t exist in a “command and control” environment that is common in the for-profit business world. .Bill and Mike will explore a wide range of ways to create greater alignment around a brand strategy – from broad based participation in strategy development to mass consensus building to training and continuously collecting feedback, they will share examples within and outside of higher education and lead participants through some exercises that will help them create greater alignment on their own campuses.
  • "We Need to Talk" (The Four Scariest Words in the English Language)
    What is the solution to apathetic alumni, skeptical parents and declining civility among students (not to mention the rest of society)? Wake Forest University President Nathan Hatch believes the answer is meaningful conversation. After conducting more than 250 moderated, small-group dinner conversations from Hawaii to Copenhagen, we're ready to share why the key to addressing societal ills also sits at the core of our capital campaign and alumni engagement strategies. If you're seeking a way to engage campus stakeholders, including your own Advancement team, this is one conversation you don't want to miss!

Networking Reception
Join conference speakers and your colleagues to network and unwind after the first day of the conference. Drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres will be provided. Don't forget your business cards!

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own OR optional small group dinner; sign-up required

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Day 2, Tuesday, April 30

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast

Branding In A Digital Age: Every Touch Point Counts
It used to be that a well-designed logo, a strong television spot, and perhaps some print or outdoor advertising-coupled with a healthy media budget-had to do most of the heavy lifting for your brand-building efforts. While those still play a unique role in the modern day marketing mix, the proliferation of digital media has created a fresh slew of opportunities to influence perception of your brand and to build connections with your target audience. In the higher education space, you can multiply that out by the number of academic and administrative entities that communicate across audience segments, and you've got a whole lot of touch points that can help-or hurt-your branding efforts. In this session, we'll discuss quick (and low cost) ways to capitalize on digital branding opportunities, along with longer-term goals to aspire to, all in the interest of ensuring a consistent expression of your university brand.

Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Reaching All Audiences: Integrating Inclusive Design In Your Marketing Strategy
    Now, more than ever, your university’s website is your most valuable marketing tool...but are you reaching the largest possible audience? In this panel, Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid communications director Victoria Marzilli, web developer Shaun Baer and accessibility consultant Sina Bahram will discuss the importance of integrating web accessibility and inclusive design into your marketing strategy. Using the soon-to-launch Harvard College admissions website as an example, the panelists will discuss the steps involved in making an accessible website that can reach all audiences and explain how inclusive design is better for everyone.
  • How to Create Successful Content Marketing Strategies Using Real Time Analytics
    With millions of messages and shorter attention spans, it has become more important than ever to market with intent and build relationships with potential students and parents. See how Augusta University uses real time analytics to create content marketing to stand out in the crowd by understanding the target audience, researching content and SEO, monitoring content performance and delivery, observing competitors and companies to emulate, and employing social listening tools and identifying major trends. Attendees will learn the following:
        1. Determine the right analytics sources and resources
        2. Use real time analytics to be able to pivot and make tactics fluid
        3. Develop actionable dashboards
        4. Share results

11:45 AM-1:15 PM
Lunch on your own

Marketing to Recent Alumni On Their Own Terms
The first ten years after graduation are a critical period for engaging alumni consistently and successfully. After that time, it becomes harder to reestablish the connection that alumni had with their alma mater as students. Today's recent alumni include both Millennials and Gen Z, very diverse groups with a wide range of interests and mindsets. A one-size-fits-all marketing approach is not effective with this important audience segment. This session will explore ways to market to recent alumni with the goal of inspiring deeper engagement, increased volunteering and sustained philanthropic giving. Discover how to stay relevant via social media, authentic storytelling, peer influencers and the smart use of analytics. We will pinpoint marketing strategies, channels and tools that can drive meaningful engagement among recent alumni and keep your institution at the forefront of their hearts and minds.

Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • How Athletics and Academics Can Team Up to Tell a Bigger, Better Brand Story
    When people think of your institution, what’s the dominant takeaway: The Mascot or The Message? For many higher ed marketers, this question produces daily headaches and constant stress about shaping the high-level brand. But in our experience, it doesn’t have to. Instead of allowing the assumption to persist that athletics pride brings down the academic side of the house, ask: How can we use those traditions to elevate our reputation? From the Butler Bulldog to the Loyola-Chicago Rambler to the UAM Boll Weevil, we’ll share a few of many examples where institutions are successfully tapping athletics to support — and strengthen — the larger brand story.
  • Enhance Your School's Brand by Engaging Employees
    Employee engagement and organizational culture are two of the hottest phrases in business today. But how do they relate to higher ed and how can communicators leverage their skills to enhance their school's brand from the inside out? Traditionally, improving culture and engagement has been perceived as HR's job; however, communicators have the experience and relationships to gain internal buy-in. This session will lead attendees in a jam-packed session focusing on how higher ed communicators can develop programs to engage employees from day one, subsequently building a stronger campus culture and brand.

Refresh Your Social Media Strategy
By now, we've all accepted and embraced social media as a valuable tool for communications and marketing. For most of our institutions, social media accounts have been around for at least a decade, and because of the day-to-day investment it takes to manage many don't take the opportunity to step back and evaluate what's working on the platforms or what's being said by your institution. This presentation will walk you through ways to quickly and effectively look at social media content from your institution on social media and set strategies to allow for more focused and strategic content creation and social media management moving forward.

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own OR optional small group dinners; sign-up required

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Day 3, Wednesday, May 1

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast

Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • How to Build a University-Wide Brand With Buy-In Across Campus
    This session leads you through the key steps for a successful brand launch—from project funding and early consensus-building to eye-opening research and fresh creative in the marketplace. Learn about getting support from the top, being relevant to multiple audiences, establishing trust with your agency partner, and creating a campus culture that embraces research over opinion and bold directions over safe ones. The lessons learned with John Tyler Community College can apply to any college or university across the country.
  • The World Needs New: Reimagining the University's Story
    Faced with increased domestic and international competition, the University of Newcastle, Australia embarked on a comprehensive 12-month process to develop a powerful and differentiated brand. Initial brand health research indicates our ‘The World Needs New’ campaign has significantly improved the University’s reputation and our enrolments have increased. This presentation will share insights into developing a compelling positioning that resonates with your audiences and is aligned to your strategic vision. The presenter will offer lessons learned and recommendations for working with creative agencies to develop a distinctive brand, methods to test ideas and how to gain buy-in from stakeholders. Methods for bringing your new brand to life, measuring its impact and strategies to help your brand to stay relevant will be discussed in this interactive session.

Closing Session – To Be Announced

11:45 AM-12:15 PM
Takeaways and Wrap-Up

Conference Adjourns

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Day 1 Day 2 Day 3