Published: Feb. 28, 2019

Dear communications colleagues,

Frances DraperAs we move into the heart of the spring 2019 semester, I am pleased to share that our Strategic Messaging Alliance (SMA) working group has kicked off year two of our collective effort to build a more integrated approach to campuswide communications. The SMA includes representatives from each key college, school and major unit who work together in a “team of teams” model on key areas of focus—reputation/advancement, recruitment and retention/engagement—established by senior leadership one year ago this February. The working group met in late January to celebrate the progress made in year one and to set the stage for year two of our efforts.

Year one highlights include:

  • Recruitment: Seven SMA mini undergraduate recruitment campaigns built in collaboration with our colleges and schools ran from mid-September through the admissions application deadline on January 15th. A total of 653 unique advertisements were created, serving nearly 20.8 million impressions and reaching 2.75 million unique individuals. The ads garnered 130,196 clicks and over 300 information form submissions in supplement to our annual undergraduate admissions campaign model.
  • Reputation: The SMA reputation team worked in 2018 to develop unit-specific positioning/messaging documents that align with our campus strategic imperatives and Be Boulder. messaging platform and to develop complementary media plans through our Strategic Media Relations team. The year culminated in the launch of a pilot national distribution model for college and school-generated content that kicked off at the end of November. To date, we have run 14 different pieces representing each college/school, as well as athletics, University Libraries and outreach and engagement. The distribution model has driven a more than 30 percent increase in year-over-year traffic to our CU Boulder Today website—much of which has come from first-time visitors to Moving into year two, we are excited to deepen our engagement in this area in collaboration with the newly formed CU Boulder Advancement marketing communications team.
  • Retention/engagement: Our retention/engagement team helped establish significant updates to our CU Boulder Today distribution model in 2018, including the adoptions of “New Buffs” and “Graduate Student” editions of CU Boulder Today (CUBT)—each with an average open rate of over 50 percent. This fall, we also updated our daily delivery times and CUBT newsletter formats and laid the groundwork—in partnership with colleagues in the Program in Exploratory Studies (PES), the Office of Information Technology, Student Affairs, the Office of Data Analytics and Enrollment Management—to launch a new pilot model for the end-to-end engagement (E3M) of PES students that will be our signature retention/engagement project in 2019.

At the kickoff, a brainstorm session was conducted to generate ideas for additions to year one recruitment and reputation efforts based on unit goals (rankings, etc.), advancement opportunities, campus strategic initiatives and other ways to scale our collective efforts. The 2019 “team of teams” leads were announced, and membership in each team is now being established. Invitations to participate on these teams are being sent out by team facilitators, as listed below, and we will seek to broaden our engagement of communicators across campus in the scopes of work we establish as the semester progresses:

  1. Recruitment: Jennifer Schufer/Jen Constable
  2. Reputation/Advancement: Julie Poppen/Bea Steiner
  3. Retention/Engagement: Erin Harrell/Jon Leslie

Thanks to our special E3M guests Marin Stanek and Shelly Bacon, and to all who braved the snowstorm to attend this important planning session. 

We look forward to an exciting and productive year ahead! : )