UM-Flint Brand, Marketing, and Communication Update | January 2010

“UM-Flint is the fastest-growing public university in the state!”

While researching ways to better tell UM-Flint’s story through quick facts and revealing stats in an improved version of the annual “At a Glance” brochure, University Relations (UR) discovered and verified that we are indeed the fastest growing public institution of higher learning in the state of Michigan. That claim is based on the percentage increase in enrollment over the last three years, as compared to the state’s other fifteen public universities.

This is a powerful attention-getter, perception-changer, and conversation-starter. The most important aspect of this truth is that it begs the question our brand promise is built to answer: why? We know from our marketing research and focus groups that what sets UM-Flint apart in the minds of our key stakeholders is our reputation as the University of Michigan’s premier urban center for learning, research, and civic engagement. We offer a truly unique, truly appealing educational experience. Our growth over the last three years suggests that these messages and reasons are, in fact, being received and acted upon by potential students.

University Relations Website Redesign & Brand Toolkit

Over the last several months, UR has set about redesigning the entire UM-Flint website. That process has included campus-wide evaluations of our current site; strategic planning and coordination with Information Technology Services (ITS); holding preliminary meetings with campus units for whom the web is particularly critical to providing student services, recruiting, and delivering the brand promise; and developing working concepts that synthesize the needs of external users with those of internal users to create an overall user experience that reflects the quality, integrity, innovativeness, and personality of UM-Flint.

UR thought it best to put ourselves through the full department website redesign process first. There were a few reasons for this. First, to familiarize ourselves with all the details and considerations that will be required of other departments. Second, to create a template/layout that other departments and stakeholders could react to and give feedback. And finally, to provide the campus with a practical “brand toolkit” that is easy-to-understand and utilize. The process of identifying and fully articulating the UM-Flint brand has been going for about two years now. The aim of the brand toolkit was to distill that entire process down to its most meaningful and actionable elements. We feel confident that the toolkit we’ve created will help campus marketers and communicators understand and implement the UM-Flint brand with more certainty, clarity, and consistency. The new UR website is at

We are now ready to work with other departments across campus to redesign sites. The process began in January with the College of Arts and Sciences, and we have scheduled several meetings with other departments to begin this work. We will keep the campus updated on our progress through these monthly reports.

More Research, More Refining

This month, UR will be conducting focus groups with high school students to get their feedback on the undergraduate recruitment materials developed and utilized last year. Those materials were the first to integrate the marketing research and subsequent brand strategy developed with the help of Educational Marketing Group (EMG), a national leader in higher education communication strategy.

UR sees this year’s marketing research and focus group testing as an opportunity to evaluate the success of that initial effort to “bring our brand to life.” We look forward to discovering where we were successful, where we might need to tone it down, and where we might need to place greater emphasis.

As is the case with most things, “brand” is an ever-changing, ever-shifting, ever-evolving animal. We embrace the challenge of ensuring that UM-Flint’s brand is something we fully understand, control, and make useful to the rest of campus.

Changes in UM-Flint Logo Policy

The University of Michigan Logos Group that represents all three campuses has issued a new policy requiring trademark symbols. UR has updated information regarding this policy, and it can be found in the brand toolkit of the UR website. Also, all logos have been appropriately updated for your use in MediaBin.

Media Buys for Fall 2010 Enrollment

February through August is a time of heavy marketing for fall recruitment. To reinforce the good work of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, as well as the Office of Extended Learning and various academic units who are involved in recruitment, University Relations is investing heavily in an image awareness campaign of the university. Our primary media buys are in television, billboard and print across southeastern Michigan, as well as Facebook and Google Adwords.

To reinforce the brand of a premier urban center for learning, research and civic engagement, the messaging will focus on the University of Michigan-Flint as the fastest growing public university in the state. The television commercial that will be in rotation is the award-winning spot that was created last fall and is still relevant to the university brand. The :30 commercial can be viewed at

Google Analytics and the UM-Flint Website

Since March 2009, UR has deployed Google Analytics across the university website. Google Analytics is a powerful, FREE tool that helps track the amount and source of the traffic, as well as the “stickiness” of the UM-Flint website. According to Google Analytics, more than 818,000 unique visitors came to the UM-Flint website between March and December 2009.

In future reports, we will share Google Analytics information for the month. You will find this information posted on the UR website. Noting the sizeable amount of unique visitors who come to the site on a monthly basis, UR has shifted its focus to becoming web-centric. Web-centric means we are focusing the majority of our marketing and communication efforts to the university website, doing all we can to improve our presence on the web. Clearly, the number of visitors to the site establishes the web as the university’s “front door.”

PDF of Full Report:
Google Analytics January-2010

Working Social Networks

The phenomenon of social networks has created a new two-way communication stream. The University of Michigan-Flint Facebook fan page has been active for well over a year. Currently, there are approximately 2,660 fans, and the number has grown steadily for the past several months, partly in thanks to a paid advertising campaign on Facebook to promote the page. It is our goal to reach 5,000 fans by the end of 2010.

We continue to experiment with the power of our social networking sites. Recently, we used Facebook as the venue to make major announcements. The two projects we piloted for this treatment were the campus bookstore remodel project and the 2010 Critical Issues Forum line-up. In yet another experiment to encourage a dialogue with the UM-Flint Facebook community, we released a series of T-shirt designs for feedback. We are continuing to explore this powerful new communication phenomenon, and we will continue to share our results with the campus.

In addition, we have new videos on the official UM-Flint YouTube channel. These videos were professionally shot by Palindrome Productions, the company that has produced other UR coordinated videos and commercials for the university. University departments are welcome to use any of the videos on their department pages as they see fit. This spring, we will be shooting a series of videos featuring the executive officers and deans of the University of Michigan-Flint.

Fun Facts about UM-Flint Social Networks

➢ The UM-Flint YouTube site has had 25,000 views of more than 45 videos about the university.

➢ This is a snapshot of the fans on UM-Flint’s official Facebook fan page, including the demographics and locations of the people who have joined the fan page:

UM-Flint Facebook Snapshot

Monthly Graphic Design, Media, and Community Relations Activity

The new year began with a multitude of projects to promote. Below is an overview of the activity for our areas of design, media, and community relations.


Graphic Projects
• Critical Issues Forum overhaul
• Scholarship Dinner redesign
• Development and Alumni Relations “Imagine” concepts
• Graduate Admissions brochure redesign concepts

Department Collaborations
• Graduate Admissions
• Undergraduate Admissions
• Development & Alumni Relations
• Counseling Services
• Student Life
• Academic Advising & Career Center


Media Relations continues to be an important component for promoting the university. Public Relations Manager Mel Serow is now employing a new social media tool called PitchEngine to help distribute university press releases across a broader spectrum of media around the country.

Media highlights from January include a very successful press conference announcing the acceptance of American Sign Language credits as foreign language credits, as well as extensive coverage of UM-Flint students, staff, and faculty volunteering on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Other media relations activities for the month include:

• Press Releases – 15
• Verified stories in media – 51
o Broadcast and/or websites – 19
o Print media – 32


Community Relations activity is a relatively new area for University Relations. Chancellor Person has asked our department to lead a university-wide committee to help identify and track all of the community activities that departments across campus engage in with community partners. We have established a form for outside entities to fill out to request university services or sponsorship for various events, and then the Community Relations Committee reviews such requests.

Currently, the university is collaborating on a variety of community events with 26 partners from around the area such as the Flint Institute of Arts, Crim Festival of Races, Back to the Bricks, Priority Children and a host of others.

For more information on Community Relations, contact Pamela Zemore, Community Relations Coordinator at 810-237-6570.

One More Thing…

The Flint Area Advertising Federation recently announced the nominations for the annual Flint ADDY awards. The nominations guarantee at minimum a silver award, and we will learn if we won any gold, first place awards at the ADDY Award ceremony on February 26. UR received six nominations for work from 2009:

• UM-Flint, Undergraduate Admissions viewbook
• UM-Flint, Undergraduate Admissions recruitment package
• UM-Flint, Undergraduate Admissions, We’re Coming to Your School poster
• UM-Flint, University Relations, UM-Flint limited edition t-shirt
• UM-Flint, :30 commercial
• UM-Flint, Chris Waters on Art and Flint video

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer Hogan
Executive Director of University Relations