A Best in Class Example of Higher Education Marketing: University of Nevada, Reno

The Office of Marketing and Communications at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) recently gave a presentation to the Reno-Tahoe American Marketing Association about the University’s brand. Established in 1874, UNR is a Tier 1 University located in Reno, Nevada that recently hit record enrollment in 2014 at 19,934 students. UNR is a vibrant institution, currently witnessing not only record enrollment, but record diversity, a record number of national merit and presidential scholars, and a record number of academic national championships. Below is a brief video overview about UNR:

During the presentation, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Thomas White, Director of Creative Services, David Branby, and Content Strategist, Michael Brown talked about key initiatives of the University, the University’s brand, and how UNR works to build its awareness and reputation through a variety of strategies and tactics. In addition to maintaining the University’s brand and helping to drive enrollment, the MarCom department also works with various school/colleges across campus to help execute various marketing initiatives, which they view as partnerships. (Download a copy of UNR’s brand guidelines here.)

A Best in Class Example of Higher Education Marketing: UNR

UNR’s MarCom department is a best in class example of higher education marketing. Key takeaways from this presentation included:

  1. Higher level goals inspire purpose and direction. Clear, higher level goals have been established for the MarCom department’s purpose, which is to ultimately build UNR’s reputation and drive enrollment.
  2. Branding guidebook establishes consistency in look, tone, and feel of UNR’s marketing deliverables.  A branding guidebook has been established to guide marketing initiatives at the University.
  3. Well-executed creative efforts drive results. The team is executing a variety fresh, creative projects that not only capture attention, but drive results.
  4. PR & targeted communications underscore marketing efforts. A strong PR effort that includes clearly researched, defined, and targeted communications underscores everything that they do.
  5. A data-driven approach drives digital strategy. As digital marketing efforts become more necessary and complex over time, a data-driven approach is key.

Two other points that stood out to me, include:

  1. Customer research informs strategy: The team recently spent the better part of a week surveying students to understand their thoughts, and from this customer research initiative, produced a video summarizing key thoughts and ideas. (Video not yet available)
  2. UNR’s MarCom team is agile and adaptive: The team talked about the fact that they don’t just recycle campaigns from one year to the next, but rather seek to understand what worked and what didn’t, and then they tweak as necessary.

To view the full presentation, please click the link below.

To summarize, not only is the marketing approach clearly defined and understood at UNR, but the collateral, creativity, and quality of the initiatives coming out of this group’s efforts are top notch. The team discussed many examples of the work they are doing (referenced in the presentation above), including everything from a multi-tiered campaign directed at prospective local students, prospective returning students, scholars, and other target groups, to digital strategy, to the creative ads in the bottom of airport bins at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Airport Bins

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