UND to address marketing woes


Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

President Mark Kennedy speaks at the ND Champions Club fan luncheon at Alerus Center on Friday, September 16, 2016. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

President Kennedy proposes solutions for lack of identity at UND

One of the most consistent messages that I have received in recent months as I have intensely listened to a broad cross section of the University of North Dakota Community is the need to better market to prospective students, define our brand, communicate with the UND community and get our message out to the media, public officials and the general public. As we take steps to address these priorities, it is essential that we leverage the benefits of One UND.

In response, I am initiating several steps that will bolster our marketing and internal communications focus directed by Sol Jensen, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Services, while simultaneously redoubling our media and public affairs efforts directed by Peter Johnson, Interim Vice President for University and Public Affairs.

Marketing and Creative Services. Sarah Nissen, Director of Marketing and Creative Services, a key member of Sol Jensen’s team, will lead a centralized marketing team to serve the strategic marketing and creative needs for UND. This team of professionals will provide direction and vision for the institutional integrated marketing and communication plan, along with managing UND’s brand and identity guidelines.

Website Upgrade. Sarah Nissen will be spearheading an effort to upgrade the UND website, including making it responsive/ platform aware (adjusting screen content depending on whether accessed by a computer, tablet or smartphone) and enhancing online landing pages designed to encourage prospective students to complete their applications. Rapidly developing these important capabilities is essential for UND to ride the digitization wave washing over higher education. Students today are more likely to use their smartphones to research universities and apply. To ensure that UND continues to attract the best students, it is imperative that we make it easy for them to do so using these devices.

Branding. As we move to upgrade our shared web site and other marketing collateral, it is essential that our brand be sharply defined and consistently executed. Toward this end, Carrie Huwe, Marketing and Creative Services Art Director, will be assisting Sarah Nissen in administering brand and identity guidelines and compliance for UND. Carrie and her team will recommend and create visual designs and communications promoting UND’s brand. Derick Stoulil, Assistant Athletic Director, Marketing; and Breanna Linert, Licensing Coordinator, will have a dotted line reporting relationship to Carrie as it relates to branding. UND Today. To ensure that the UND community is better informed as to the President Kennedy proposes solutions for lack of identity at UND many positive things that are happening on campus, the rationale behind campus decisions, the positive impacts enabled by support from the State of North Dakota and donors, and the extraordinary scholarship of our faculty, I have asked Sol Jensen to form a team to develop and deliver a bi-weekly digital publication called UND Today. My goal is that the journalistic quality of the articles contained in this newsletter will rival that of any other publication.

To spearhead this effort, David Dodds will be serving as its Interim Editor. Brian Johnson, Richard Larson, Kaylee Nesdahl, and Jan Orvik will also join the team as writers. University and Public Affairs. Peter Johnson, Interim Vice President for University and Public Affairs, will work closely with me to intensify our efforts to raise UND’s profile in the media, not just here in North Dakota, but also nationally.

With the approaching legislative session, we will also be working closely to make the case for UND in Bismarck and in Washington. Susan Caraher will be assisting Peter with media and public affairs matters. The Ceremonies and University Events staff and the TV Center will continue to report to Peter.

Weekly Messaging Meets the above marketing efforts. During these times of restricted budgets, it is imperative that our remaining resources be focused on actions that will bring more students to the UND family and to do so with optimum efficiency.

Successfully executed, our investments in marketing will generate more funds for all in the form of increased tuition dollars, while our investments in communications will address the information deficit so many have brought to my attention.

Thanks to all those engaged in helping us to enhance our overall messaging – to Sol, Sarah, and Carrie for taking on added responsibility, to David, Brian, Richard, Jan, and Kaylee for taking on new challenges, to Peter and Susan for their intensified focus on external audiences, and to all those who will be asked to participate in the Marketing Council.

Working together, these changes can take us closer to realizing our vision to be the premier flagship university in the Northern Plains that is the chief opportunity engine for North Dakota and its citizens.

-Mark Kennedy, UND President