Chairs: Lisa Baronio, Vice President for Advancement and Director of Development of the UNT Foundation; Deborah Leliaert, Vice President for University Relations, Communications & Marketing
Members: Roy Busby, Regents Professor, Mayborn School of Journalism; Gilda Garcia, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity; Martin Halbert, Dean of Libraries; Maureen McGuinness, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs; Michael Monticino, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Derrick Morgan, Executive Director of the UNT Alumni Association; Kelley Reese, Associate Vice President for University Relations, Communications & Marketing; Jim Scott, Dean of the College of Music; Kenneth Sewell, Associate Vice President for Research; Rick Villarreal, Athletic Director; Celia Williamson, Deputy Provost
The President’s Public Relations and Image Council and its work groups demonstrate UNT President Rawlins’ commitment to facilitate a broad range of ideas and viewpoints to focus and advance the university’s image and reputation, engage our constituents, and build (internally and externally) broad understanding of and support for the institution and its goals.
The council is pursuing the redevelopment of the university’s brand with the goal of developing an image that’s congruent with UNT’s values, traditions, vision and mission, but also is reflective of UNT’s advances, new assets and aspirations. The process of developing a fresh brand will serve as a catalyst for unifying the campus in its commitment to excellence and systemic change, and its goals of achieving major research university status and greatness in academics and athletics. Opportunities created by the hiring of Dr. Rawlins as UNT’s new president, HB 51, the opening of a new stadium in fall 2011, and the hiring of a nationally recognized football coach provide the impetus for quickly advancing the image and reputation initiative.
The council’s members and some non-council faculty and staff members are working in groups to identify initiatives and develop associated goals/objectives, strategies and success measures. The work groups provide progress reports to the council (as a whole) for feedback and to determine which strategies of the working groups overlap and where greater collaboration is needed within this council and with other presidential councils. The work groups also present their initiatives to the President’s Public Relations and Image Council for approval and further action. The plans of the work groups will be consolidated in a council-level plan. The council’s work groups comprise the Brand and Image, Go-to University, and Inaugural-Year-of-the-Stadium groups.
The Brand and Image Work Group has several target outcomes, and chief among them is the development of a brand platform that becomes a rallying cry for the university – our authentic swagger. The messaging platform – operationalized campuswide and externally – will identify UNT as a national university with National Research University aspirations (rather than as a regional institution). To achieve this and make the best investment of limited resources intended to draw attention to the university, the group believes UNT needs to develop a unified institutional identity (aligning academics and athletics) and to more clearly define its branding hierarchy. In this process, how collegiate sports teams and Mean Green athletics currently brand must be taken into consideration. The council concurred that outside consultancy is needed to assist the university in developing a fresh brand platform, determining brand unity and hierarchy, and navigating the associated challenges.
The Go-To University Work Group is striving to clearly define what it means to be a “go-to university” and to establish its geographic target area for university initiatives involving residents, civic organizations, elected officials, and independent schools districts, among others. With a limited budget and time, the group is focusing on a trial group of towns in counties or towns within a 30-mile radius, making plans to launch activities in those areas, and to monitor the results to determine if and how to implement successful programs in other areas. The towns were selected for growth and diversity.
Among other considerations are the residential concentrations of alumni, students, faculty and staff members; university retirees; businesses owned by alumni; student recruitment targets; and the president’s circle of influence. The group also is considering data from UNT’s Institutional Research and Effectiveness that would help in the sound investment of initiative resources. This data also will be useful to the Inaugural-Year-of-the-Stadium Work Group.
The Inaugural-Year-of-the-Stadium Work Group is seeking to increase football ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, stadium donations, Mean Green memberships, and attendance at football games. The new stadium serves as a positive symbol of institutional progress and an opportunity to increase engagement with local communities, especially Denton. Accordingly, this group also is focusing on yearlong stadium activities.
The university needs to both “show and tell,” the new stadium with emphasis on “show.” Attracting individuals and groups to experience the physical stadium site is of critical importance in the remaining months preceding its opening and in its first year. On the advice of this group, Athletics is inviting UNT and civic organizations to host meetings in the Athletic Center and receive briefings on the stadium. The work group also is emphasizing the importance of a marketing schedule that lays out all of the important marketing and engagement actions that must take place between now and the opening of the stadium, during football season, and for the remainder of the facility’s inaugural year.
The council advanced a request to the President’s Finance Council for a) a soft encumbrance of funds to underwrite an inaugural-year stadium marketing plan and b) a request for additional ticket operation staff members. The Finance Council concurred with the need to set aside marketing funds and tentatively approved, as part of the budget cycle, the additional staff members.
The council is unanimous in its position that a broad request for procurement needs to be developed to identify a qualified group of vendors to assist the university with initiatives advanced by the Public Relations and Image Council and its work groups, including the branding and stadium activities. The development of a RFP is underway and will be posted in February.
The council agreed that a seminar/workshop is necessary to achieve a shared understanding of branding/image building and the role of university leaders in this regard. The seminar, which will be conducted by Educational Marketing Group, was held on February 7, 2011.
Other Councils and Council reports