The 2018 CASE District VI conference is officially off and running today in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. I’ve already reconnected with friends and acquaintances from past conference and from my work with them on the district board, and I look forward to making new connections with professionals in the world of advancement, alumni relations, and communications and marketing.
The marketing and communications sessions this year are weighted heavily, almost exclusively, toward branding and marketing — indicators of the growing emphasis in these areas. No crisis communications or media relations sessions on the agenda this year. But there are still some very good opportunities for all types of communicators to learn from the branding- and marketing-focused sessions, and from the many sessions devoted to development, fundraising, alumni engagement and leadership.
Here are my picks for sessions that should be of interest to marketers and communicators. For more information about these or other sessions, see the conference schedule.
- More Heads are Better Than One: Integrating Advancement and Marketing Communication. In this session, Megan Silvey, the director of marketing and strategic communication at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Health Professions, will talk about how she works with her advancement colleagues in the school to take a team approach to communications.
- Community Collaboration: The Launch of a Community Brand. In a new twist on addressing the old “town and gown” conundrum, Jomel Nichols, direct of public relations and marketing at Missouri Western State University, will talk about how the university worked with officials from its home city of St. Joseph, Missouri, the public schools, chamber of commerce, convention and visitors bureau, and the local hospital to create a cohesive brand identity for the community in which the university plays a prominent role. (Unfortunately, this and the session listed above both run at the same time. But in their wisdom, conference organizers have set aside time on Tuesday for encores of sessions that conference-goers deem best. So if you don’t get to attend both today, maybe you’ll get your chance on Tuesday.)
- Cohesive Marketing Within Your Organization. Who doesn’t want more cohesion in their marketing? Even if you think you’re doing a pretty good job, it never hurts to hear what others are doing to market their institutions, schools, departments or programs. Amy Nell, creative director at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, will discuss what cohesive marketing looks like at their institution
- Branding in Higher Education: The Importance of Positioning Your Institution. I was very happy to see some presenters from College of the Ozarks, the institution that has been successfully working its distinctive “Hard Work U” brand identity for more years than many higher ed leaders realized they needed a brand. In this session, we’ll hear from two CofO staffers whose titles don’t imply direct involvement in brand identity development or management: Natalie Rasnick, dean of development for the college, and Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education. This should be an interesting session
- Communicating a Brand. Jake Otto, our art director at Missouri S&T, makes his CASE District VI presentation debut in the final session slot on the final day of the conference. But stick around for this one, in which Jake shares how we’ve worked to refine, unify, simplify and amplify Missouri S&T’s brand identity over the past two years.
If you weren’t able to make this conference but want to follow along, check the #CASEVI hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, and follow @CASEVI on Twitter. And if you’re here in person and you see me around, please introduce yourself.
P.S. – I’m also moderating a panel on Monday afternoon titled “Emerging Trends in Advancement.”