Last month I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote address at the University & College Designers Association annual conference in Seattle. The theme of my presentation was how to become an internal brand champion on campus. During the three days I attended the conference I had an opportunity to connect with a number of fellow attendees on twitter, Facebook and this blog. As an education brand consultant, I am always on the look out for best practices in brand development and effective use of digital media to deliver brand messages.
With keen interest I followed those schools who I thought had a sound social media strategy and discovered how they championed their school's brand through digital channels. The school that I was especially intrigued by was Eastern Illinois University. In Seattle I had the fortune of meeting Christy Kilgore-Hadley, Stacia Lynch and others from EIU. For their efforts I am recognizing them as the Brand Champions of the Day. Here is what EIU, graphic designer, Christy Kilgore-Hadley says about their approach to brand and social media.
"One of the things we consistently hear about EIU is how much people appreciate the
close relationships they form with others at Eastern, and how our work with social
networking has really helped to support that. In a way, I get to form a human
persona of Eastern Illinois University which is a great way to further our
brand promise of not only providing our students an education, but helping to
prepare them for the world.
"I am big on transparency. I think our future
and current students as well as our staff and alumni truly appreciate when they are
communicated with like actual people and not potential problems to be managed. That idea
has really guided what we have been doing with social networking at Eastern. I
give the audience a lot of credit. Communicating to the wide variety of
audiences you are dealing with at a University can be tricky, and we know
that social networking is not a silver bullet. But you can have honest
and personal conversations with people in a format that was never possible
before. It allows us to get our unique voice out into the world in an immediate
and conversational way.
"I also enjoy knowing that everyone uses their
social networking differently. Nothing can be one-size-fits-all any more. Some
people follow EIU on twitter for information, some people want to joke around,
some people want to complain - but all of these interactions provide an
opportunity for us to learn how Eastern is doing - if we are walking the walk.
Facebook is great for bringing a group of people together to cheer, mourn,
celebrate and otherwise rally. All of these tendrils out there provide Eastern a
chance to get our stories into the world - stories that we all knew, but didn't
always have a good vehicle for.
In the end, even online, we are
Christy, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your perspective and represent the EIU University Marketing and Communications Department. For all you do, you are the Brand Champions of the Day!