The path to success continues

Leadership Mar 19, 2014 The path to success continues

Communications VP Melinda Church shares an update on efforts to raise Ohio State's national profile.

Align strategy with structure and staff, and we will leapfrog.

That’s my premise, my starting point for leveraging the university’s marketing and communications work to enhance Ohio State’s national profile.

We’re working on the strategy, creating a national marketing and communications plan that includes feedback from thousands of alumni and friends–generated as part of the Advancement Framework effort–and distills it into a powerful external expression of our brand.

To execute that strategy, we need the right people in the right roles with the right rules of engagement across campus. We must focus on structure and staff, both those who are part of University Communications and those who are not. Ohio State is uniquely decentralized, with more communications and marketing staff reporting outside of the central communications organization than within it.

How do we align ourselves to make the strongest impact?

Mike Eicher and I are seeking to answer that question with a communications review that uses McKinsey as a partner. A couple of weeks ago, the consultants began interviewing our key stakeholders, assessing the university’s communications functions and structures and reviewing the same for a handful of peer institutions. The outcome of this work will offer suggestions for enhancements to strengthen our capacity to help the university achieve its strategic objective of being recognized as a top 10 public university by 2020.

The data-collection phase will be completed by the end of March; then, we’ll transition into planning “future state” recommendations in April.

As we look forward to these recommendations, I’m also reflecting back on an important anniversary: One year ago, in March 2013, we implemented “University Communications Reorg 1.0.”

The past year has been a busy one. We’ve made fundamental changes to communications delivery, becoming a more collaborative, innovative and data-driven team. We have given staff more opportunities for career growth and professional development. And we have strengthened our relationships with communications talent in the colleges and units.

I'm convinced that implementing Reorg 1.0 has helped us more effectively tell Ohio State's story during major moments for the university–from the recent announcement of President-designate Dr. Michael Drake to Ohio State alumnus and current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s visit to campus. We’re also continuing to develop ways to share our expertise. In addition to UC Academy, new professional networking groups focus on brand and on social media.

As communicators, we have a critical role to play in advancing Ohio State. We’re moving forward in new ways, but there is always more to do. I will share more information as our strategy and structure work take shape. As always, thanks for your energy, creativity and partnership.

About the author

Melinda Church -
Vice President
Melinda Church

Melinda's communications background includes journalism and fiction writing. She is leading the university's new national reputation-building branding and communications strategy.

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