Strategic Plan FY16 – FY21

The University of Georgia
The Division of Marketing & Communications

FY2016 – FY2021


Strategies guiding our plan
This strategic plan outlines those objectives and activities that will assist the University of Georgia in making progress toward its strategic directions as outlined in the institutional strategic plan:

  1. Building on Excellence in Undergraduate Education
  2. Enhancing Graduate and Professional Programs
  3. Investing in Proven and Emerging Areas of Research Excellence
  4. Serving the Citizens of the State of Georgia and Beyond
  5. Improving Faculty Recognition, Retention, and Development
  6. Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure
  7. Improving Stewardship of Natural Resources and Advancing Campus Sustainability

The overarching objectives of this strategic plan are to create, strengthen, and preserve support of UGA among key university stakeholders by demonstrating the university’s commitment to academic excellence, research, and lifelong learning, and by establishing the impact of the university on the community state, nation, and world. That support will manifest itself in positive behavioral outcomes to further the primary institutional goals and directives of the university.

To aid in the development of an optimal strategic communication plan, in support of the university’s goals and priorities, the Division of Marketing & Communications has spearheaded a market research effort, which lays the foundation for developing and executing such a plan. One of the most immediate outcomes of that effort was the development of the university’s brand positioning statement, which briefly describes and differentiates the institution. It embodies both the institution’s reputation and its promise to key stakeholders. The University of Georgia’s brand positioning statement is as follows:

As the nation’s first state-chartered university, the University of Georgia offers a premier learning experience in an exceptional environment, led by world-class faculty.

The mission of the Division of Marketing & Communications as the chief communications and marketing organization for the University of Georgia is to develop and strategically manage a program of communications that enhances, protects and strengthens UGA’s institutional brand and reputation; reinforces the university’s relevance in the lives of key target stakeholder groups; encourages community engagement; and plays a catalytic role in advancing and fulfilling the mission and goals of the university.

The Division of Marketing & Communications is an adaptive, high performing, innovative, reliable, responsive and sustainable organization with strong leadership, shared values and employees committed to advancing the goals and priorities of the university. As a trusted partner and reliable resource in service to other university divisions, the Division of Marketing & Communications will operate a comprehensive, coordinated program of marketing and communications that will enhance the University of Georgia’s recognition as one of America’s best public research institutions of higher education. This will be achieved by:

  1. Providing professional expertise, services and resources of the highest quality to support the development and implementation of mission-critical institutional policies and programs.
  2. Taking steps to initiate an intentional coordinated marketing program aimed at cementing the university's position as a leading national research institution.
  3. Gathering and disseminating accurate, timely, intriguing information that will help create and build positive attitudes and actions regarding the university among its various audiences.
  4. Striving for a level of excellence in all operations and products that other marketing and communication offices will want to emulate.
  5. Creating a comfortable, supportive working climate for Marketing & Communications staff that encourages and rewards creativity, diligence, cooperation, enterprise and shared responsibility.

The Division of Marketing & Communications identifies these overarching goals to fulfill our mission and realize our vision. We will strive to attain these goals through the work of the division’s units and other functional areas: Vice President's Office (administration), News Service, Publications, Broadcast/Video/Photography, WUGA Radio, and the Visitors Center.

Goal 1. Be the central and most reliable information resource and communication link to the University of Georgia, the unit through which all other marketing and communication efforts on campus are coordinated.

Assist the university administration in policy formulation and in articulating clear messages about institutional priorities and goals for dissemination through Marketing & Communications channels.

Consult and advise the senior administration and other campus leadership regarding policy formulation, marketing strategies, communications and media relations.

Emphasize customer service in all interactions with those to whom we provide service, information, and assistance.

Develop and disseminate a variety of high-quality products including, but not limited to news promotions, feature stories, annual reports, publications, marketing and advertising programs, television, radio and video productions, photographs, web, social media, digital channels and other electronic communications to:

  1. Communicate the university’s high quality education; environment of excellence; distinguished faculty; rigorous, innovative academic experiences; supportive environment and dedication to student success.
  2. Enhance the visibility of the research, scholarship and creative activities of students, faculty and professional staff.
  3. Brand and differentiate the university as a leading land-grant, research-intensive university.
  4. Illustrate the contributions of students, faculty, staff and alumni to the creation of knowledge that solves the complex problems of today and contributes to the cultural, social and economic well-being of the state, the region and the world.
  5. Promote excellence and tradition, and university pride, and encourage participation in university celebrations, and educational, cultural and intercollegiate athletic events by alumni, faculty, staff, students and other constituents.

Work with all unit-based public information officers to coordinate efforts, meeting regularly with the group collectively to discuss mutual needs and priorities.

Meet routinely and intentionally with other vice presidents, deans and appropriate directors to determine needs and priorities.

Research best practices at peer institutions and in the private sector and interact with peers at conferences and individual meetings to exchange successful strategies and establish benchmarks.

Continue to meet or exceed industry standards with all products, setting new levels of excellence through award-winning efforts to highlight institutional messages. This includes internal and external publications, news distribution,, social media, photography, video and broadcast productions, Columns, Georgia Magazine, and Visitors Center services.

Make regular contacts and in-person visits with media leaders around Georgia to promote awareness of UGA and build relationships for mutual benefit.

Goal 2. Create and execute a plan for a coordinated, intentional, integrated marketing program designed to brand the university as one of America's premier public research institutions.

In accordance with findings of market research conducted by and recommendations from Stamats, develop and execute an integrated, multifaceted, institution-wide brand marketing and communication effort designed to strengthen, promote and protect the university’s brand identity, value, programmatic excellence and accomplishments while enhancing the reputation of its academic, research, and service components.

Establish a separate marketing unit  to coordinate institutional marketing and branding efforts beyond our current core of media relations strategies.
Provide leadership through partnership, facilitation and consultation across the campus to help align and coordinate internal and external communications. This will efficiently unify UGA’s visual and narrative brand identity, multiplying the impact of communications.
Develop and implement comprehensive branding guidelines and a toolkit that offer direction and resources for all communications efforts (with subsections for the comprehensive campaign and social media).

Assess communication materials and establish implementation plans for incorporating brand positioning. This includes an initial inventory and continual assessment.

Offer training workshops with senior administration, leadership, trustees, Alumni Association, student organizations, faculty, staff and campus communicators to create a cadre of ambassadors to build brand awareness among larger stakeholder groups internally and externally.

Goal 3. Leverage new technology as it is adopted by our stakeholders.

Expand the use of new technology to enhance the gathering, processing and dissemination of information, including expanding Web technologies and social media, soliciting the most efficient and effective news management and monitoring support, updating hardware and software and staying abreast of current technological advances to optimize success in this area.

Intentionally target, both through messaging and the selection of delivery technology, an alumni base that skews ever-more toward a younger demographic, while still addressing older alumni.

Review, build, and invest in brand-aligned social media efforts as a push-pull strategy that fosters communication and collaboration within the social media users group for the best use of existing assets. Contract with a comprehensive social media analytics vendor that will supply meaningful reports on ROI as well as monitor conversations and engagement for potential issues.

Goal 4. Be an accurate and positive voice for the University of Georgia.

Adhere to the highest professional and ethical journalistic standards.

Provide important and complete information to university stakeholders on controversial issues as well as safe and positive ones.

Train Visitors Center staff to provide complete and accurate information about the campus and community. Provide staff with current information about developing university issues to help dispel myths and urban legends.

Regularly provide talking points to unit-based development and public relations coordinators so that they know the university's latest information on important issues of public interest and concern.

Position UGA as a national and global contributor of knowledge, innovation and talent in order to enhance awareness, understanding and appreciation of UGA in those markets.

  1. Show how UGA enables and advances the university’s brand promise.
  2. Ensure that those stakeholders who have the most contact with and influence over national and international audiences, including out-of-state alumni, international students and faculty, understand the brand and are ready to serve as brand ambassadors.

 Goal 5. Create and maintain a supportive and professional work atmosphere for the division staff to foster high levels of creativity, productivity and satisfaction.

Strive for a family-like, collegial atmosphere of professional and mutual respect and support.

Encourage each professional staff member to attend a conference, workshop or other professional development program at least every other year, but preferably on an annual basis.

Hold departmental team building programs or professional seminars conducted by outside experts.

Continuously improve administrative and operational efficiencies, effectiveness and accountability.

Support a mission-centered culture that encourages staff to function in interdepartmental and multidisciplinary teams dedicated to producing outstanding work products and providing division-wide and campus-wide service.


Goals and priorities for 2015-2016


University-wide goal for the coming year

  1. To use the findings of the market research conducted by Stamats and the resulting integrated marketing plan  to inform all UGA communications. This will rely on senior administration support to set speaking with one voice and message as an institutional priority and goal.

News Service

  1. Conduct proactive media relations activities with cultivation of key national reporters and regularly offer UGA experts and ideas about breaking daily news events/stories and national trends.
  2. Convert, Master Calendar, News, Columns and the Visitors Center sites to responsive design to effectively serve website visitors using mobile/tablet devices.
  3. Define editorial mission for Columns and complete a Columns readership survey to explore content and distribution effectiveness.


  1. Hire an assistant editor for Georgia Magazine.
  2. Provide ongoing professional design support for all major events involving the UGA president and/or visiting dignitaries and special events.
  3. Provide design support for all facets of the coming campaign and other development efforts, in close consultation with the VPDAR.


  1. Evaluate production priorities in support of units across the university, given limited resources, seeking to more efficiently support the campus in broader scope. Annual award banquet videos are particularly time-consuming for a limited audience – we need to seek wider use of those materials and concentrate resources in projects that will be more externally oriented. Produce short modules on news stories and general interest features useable across multiple institutional platforms. Produce long-form documentaries for syndication to commercial television stations and networks across the southeast region.


  1. Radio: Successfully manage market/audience research project and execute relevant follow up. Enhance station’s role as a community-development organization through planning and successful execution of meaningful events and local programs. Maximize Community Advisory Council participation. Increase student and faculty involvement in local program production. Complete buildout of master control automation system. Increase underwriting revenue and contributions. 
  2. Television: Coordinate with buyer and UGA legal to complete transfer of WUGA-TV assets to new ownership.

Visitors Center

  1. Continue to improve the experience of our increasing number of campus guests by upgrading our facilities in the Four Towers Building. The restrooms need to be renovated, and we plan to start the MRR process in the coming year.
  2. Through ongoing training, staff development, and a regular staff feedback system, increase the focus on the quality of the tour experience our student staff offers to guests. The aim is for the UGA tour experience to be among the best and most remarkable in the nation.