Progress Report (FY 2015) and Action Plan (FY 2016)

Students cheer on the Redhawks during a sporting event at Miami University.

Highlighted Measures of Success in Each UCM Functional Area

  • RECRUITMENT / PRINT PUBLICATIONS DESIGN AND EDITING: Miami goals for early decision, applications, incoming class quality and quantity, to which UCM makes a significant contribution, were achieved. UCM web team members were also instrumental in the development of the One-Stop website and the service system kiosks in the One Stop location.  Higher Ed Marketing awarded UCM the gold award for both the Visit Look Book and the Travel Cards used by recruiters.
  • BRAND / AD CAMPAIGNS: The Public Ivy brand, which has been a core message in advertising for two years, was further corroborated as an ideal market position by a pricing and positioning research study. The Public Ivy ad campaign and messages increased visitors to the website by 70% from last year (25,363 total page views Jan-May 2015, compared to 14,881 from Jan-May 2014). Total impressions for the spring ad campaign in 7 markets reached 34,444,771 compared to 29,026,698 in the fall, an 18% increase.
  • MARKETING RESEARCH: Research in fall 2014 indicates that marketing materials and messages continue to be appealing and meaningful to most prospects; minor suggestions for improvement are being incorporated.
  • WEB: Website analytics show visitors are finding information easily; have few complaints; are spending time exploring the top tier sites; and engaging with the digital assets. Focus group/brand research indicates visitors like the site overall. Equally important, 395 faculty and staff have been trained in the new CMS (170 were trained in FY15), and 17,419 pages have been transitioned into the new CMS (including all academic divisions).  The internal sites are moving more slowly, and some prospects have indicated they would like to see even more digital resources, such as an interactive campus map. Search results for Miami among major search engines indicate Miami has moved to the top three spots, overtaking the University of Miami and alternating with the City of Miami.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA & DIGITAL ASSETS: Social media engagement has grown exponentially: 24.6% increase in Twitter followers, 33.5% increase in Instagram followers, and 19.6% increase in fans of our Facebook page.  Several posts reached more than 130,000, and posts with UCM video or photography resulted in 57% more engagement.  Miami produced the first “SnapChat” newsletter for current student engagement that we know of:  an average of 1,500-3,000 opens and shares were achieved per weekly “issue,” generating national recognition for Miami’s social media efforts.
  • NEWS / COMM: Despite negative press locally around stand-out issues, publicity has been overwhelmingly positive – 92% is positive/neutral, up 4% from last year. Overall placements nationally grew at a minimum 191% to 14,985 news placements due to strategic staff use of MERIT and VOCUS software tools and improved tracking. Alumni, athletics and untracked news add 11,000 hits. “Hometown” student success news appearing around the country grew an astonishing 261% (5,095 stories for newspapers and student Merit websites).
  • MIAMIAN: Alumni are the top branding champions for universities and the single most important audience after prospects. The re-designed Miamian Magazine earned a “Pride of CASE” Silver Award and positive reaction has been unprecedented in its first year. Each issue goes to all living alumni (170,000+). Positive letters have been received for every story in every issue, and one issue resulted in 539 readers sending in a crossword puzzle. A survey of alumni showed they are highly engaged and “love” their magazine.
  • EXTERNAL RELATIONS / TRADEMARKS & LICENSING: Miami is now recognized as a core partner in Regional Economic Development Initiatives (REDI-Cincinnati) and a Greater Cincinnati Consortium of University Presidents. More than 30 meetings with Cincy leaders were arranged with Miami faculty and staff. Trademarks and Licensing, part of External Relations, created a promotional “Tee Tourney” to coincide with March Madness that resulted in 7,100 participants and in Dick’s Sporting Goods and ESPN signing on to sell the resulting “official 2015 shirt.” T&L also launched a Miami Traditions line for the Online Photo Store.

Other UCM 2020 plan achievement highlights from 2014-15

  • UCM has integrated all major functions, so that digital messaging extends the impact of news and traditional marketing, and vice versa. Freedom Summer is one example: web, social, print, digital, video, publicity, photo worked to augment staff and faculty efforts to garner national visibility.
  • Restructured staff/faculty news delivery complemented by social media led to a 15% increase in click-through rates to stories, with the feature-oriented Miami Matters on Fridays drawing the most readers. UCM now partners with HR, IT, CPAC, and PFD to feature regular columns to share information.  The 25 LIVE calendar system has completely revitalized the university calendar; UCM has trained dozens of communicators on its use. 
  • Miami’s branding efforts overall achieved recognition among peers with the president’s presentation at ACE, the national conference for higher education. Internally, the BAM professional development program has more than 100 participants striving to earn the designation of “Brand Ambassador of Miami,” acquiring skills critical to a unified advancement of the brand for decentralized communicators.
  • In External Relations, PNC, Biologic, Queen City Angels, REDI, and Cincinnati Chamber leaders were among those who visited campus. ER also facilitated student interaction with the Cincy City Council as part of an Institutional Relations program; connected AIMS with Cincy to produce immersive videos (featuring Miami) for the MLB All-Star game; and partnered with OARS to showcase biohealth and bioengineering to REDI.
  • Athletics has been successfully integrated into the Miami brand through environmental graphics and print materials; UCM now produces all major athletics branding material. UCM also completed the design of the Oxford Trolleys and Buses as part of its environmental graphics efforts.


    • Twitter Followers / Favorites: +24.6% / +41.6%
    • Instagram Followers: +33.5%
    • Facebook Fans: +19%
    • Video and Photo posts: Avg. 55,400 reach
    • Top Post: Oxford is #1 College Town 158,800 reach
    • Top Photo Post: Rainbow Photo 130,400 reach
    • Top Video Post: Love & Honor Video 133,900 reach / 48,313 views
    • Aerial Campus Tour (Drone Video)
    • Love & Honor
    • Public Ivy (25,363 pageviews) +70% vs. Spring '14
    • Fall '14 Ad Campaign Impressions (total): 29,026,698
    • Spring '15 Ad Campaign Impressions (total): 34,444,771
  • WEB
    • Trained in CMS (170 during FY15): 395
    • Pages migrated into CMS (to date): 17,419
    • Projects Produced/Managed - EMSS: 80
    • Projects Produced/Managed - ICA: 47
    • Projects Produced/Managed - Other: 145
    • Visit Look Book - Gold Award
    • Travel Cards - Gold Award
    • National Placements: +191% / 14,985 track-able placements
    • Hometowners/Student Success News: +261% / 10,000 current students/ 5,095 stories / 1,880 news outlets
    • Positive / Neutral News Nationally: +4% / 92% overall
    • News Website Pageviews: +1% / 404,000 overall (very high #)
    • Click-through Rates for Faculty/Staff News: +15%

What's Next? 2015-2016 FY Actions

All of UCM

  • Integrate areas internally even more strongly to ensure augmented reach of messages using all of our functional areas to “duplicate” efforts
  • Determine ways to promote Miami in national markets, especially recruitment markets
  • Strive for 100% of staff involvement in a campus area outside of UCM and 100% following professional development plans
  • Graduate the first class of “BAM”-certified Miamians and offer higher level courses (not just introductory) for those with more experience
  • Continue to provide professional, supportive expertise and creative solutions to our internal partners/clients
  • Support the Year of Creativity and Innovation through all departmental functions
  • Develop an enterprise solution for mass emails, newsletters, e-commerce
  • Support the Board of Trustees and PEC with communications strategy and resources to help transition to new presidential leadership


  • Refresh Public Ivy brand in all material and upgrade top tier websites and CMS templates to incorporate
  • Increase media purchases with the new ad campaign to be in national media eight months of the year
  • Produce a new television spot
  • Update to the Love and Honor Video and Divisional Videos; add College 101 Video Series and test MiamiXperience gaming concept
  • Increase national visibility through ad campaign running for a minimum of 8 months, and for an extended time in Columbus to aid in legislative relations
  • Implement a new project management tool to enhance support of all campus areas
  • Continually update new strategic communications flow for EMSS and provide full brand support for Athletics
  • Establish a Web Storefront – even if we have to do it independently
  • Update PowerPoint templates and University “presentation” facts for campus-wide use
  • Complete College 101 Videos and MiamiXperience gaming test for prospects
  • Add entry-level design and writing positions with the goal of reducing external agency fees


  • Add multimedia to more stories to drive engagement
  • Invest in software upgrade to increase news placements nationally and share students’ successes with their high school counselors and high school social media sites
  • ALL news team members to engage in social media and build a following to share news, Miamian, and university social media highlights to media, campus followers, friends
  • Increase focus on placements in top recruitment markets; increase news placements nationally by 5%
  • Orient writing more toward “public relations” and “influence marketing/social news style” to better attract attention from today’s audiences
  • Respond to nationally trending stories more quickly and state stories where Miami can provide additional expertise; increase focus especially on Columbus
  • Finalize plans for a university call center (with IT assistance) and work with IRT to continually update crisis plans
  • Build internal audience with more features and profiles
  • Coordinate (with marketing) a potential e-commerce and campus mail solution (with IT assistance), a gap created with the elimination of the university secretary position – possible LEAN solution? Utilize Slate CRM tool?

 Web/Digital/Videography/Photography/Social Media

  • Re-do/refresh of the Miami home page and CMS design and rebuild the Virtual Tour in an accessible format
  • Complete the major internal websites most important to current students
  • Design custom-built, searchable web databases for faculty and students to help all divisions showcase successes
  • Build an integrated majors/minors website for use by all divisions; complete academic and non-academic personnel web pages and other major internal websites
  • Implement new photographic asset management system (PhotoShelter) to allow better search and easier access
  • Investigate an enterprise solution to mass emails/eNewsletters and eCommerce solutions
  • Form an internal Web Accessibility Group to help concentrate accessibility efforts specifically related to
  • Overhaul EMSS and Admission websites
  • Build an online interactive campus map
  • Build, improve, support, and contribute to MiamIdeas site and overall Year of Creativity and Innovation efforts
  • Complete new online identity standards tool kit to leverage identity and branding resources campus-wide
  • Provide ongoing support and training for CMS users and sites
  • Map out a web plan for the remaining websites to be converted to the CMS and share with divisional leaders
  • Use HootSuite to more strategically manage and measure social media and increase engagement; train key leaders around campus (EMSS leaders and national recruiters, deans, key faculty) in helping to promote Miami by sharing posts and building their own following in Columbus and by state media
  • Build custom social media widgets to replace Storify on the homepage
  • Continue SnapChat “newsletter” for students

External Relations

  • Provide presence and leadership in new Cincinnati presidential consortium
  • Increase Trademarks & Licensing revenue to $450,000 from $388,000
  • Partner with Career Services to help facilitate Cincinnati immersion programs for CAS, CCA and CEC students and faculty
  • Work with OARS to identify partnership opportunities and help build the retention of our graduates in Ohio.
  • Work with Institutional Relations to utilize social media and videos to improve communication with statewide elected officials
  • Work with IMG and the Alumni Office to finalize the Fanatics Alumni Online Store and with Alumni and Athletics to provide merchandise onsite at chapter/athletic events where there has not been a physical presence.
  • Expand retail presence in the Greater Cincinnati by analyzing where the largest concentration of alumni are


  • Identify more women and minorities as the focus of feature stories
  • Strive to excel so that survey responses continue to indicate strong engagement between readers and the magazine
  • Increase all departmental leaders’ sharing of Miamian stories and highlights on social media; young alumni are a major challenge and social media is the best way to engage them