Our researchers are leading a multi-institution project to create a universal flu vaccine. We created a marketing plan to highlight our university’s role in the National Institutes of Health-funded project.

Opportunity

UGA faculty are leading one of the National Institutes of Health’s prestigious Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers to develop a new, more advanced influenza vaccine designed to protect against multiple strains of influenza virus in a single dose. Our goal was to raise awareness of UGA’s role in leading the 14-institution contract worth up to $130 million to develop a universal flu vaccine.

Solution

We developed four key messages to frame our promotional efforts:

  • UGA is leading 14 institutions in a fight against the flu.
  • The NIH grant is worth up to $130M over the next seven years.
  • This new broadly protective vaccine will make significant strides toward developing a reliable vaccine that will protect millions of Americans against potentially deadly flu infections.
  • UGA is committed to developing a broadly protective flu vaccine focused on protecting vulnerable populations in addition to the general public.

We identified five target audiences: internal (faculty, students); academic peers; civic thought leaders; industry leaders in Georgia (focusing on the childcare, eldercare, and general health care industries); and the general public (ranging from parents of young children to prospective UGA students). We then determined which of our key messages were best suited to each audience and what channels would get the most return on investment for individual groups.

We crafted a news release that was pitched to a variety of media, along with a video interview and audio assets produced with PI Ted Ross in his lab. The story was also featured on the UGA website as a top feature; on UGA Today, the university news site; in the UGA Today email newsletter and in email banners designed by our office. We also promoted the story through our social media channels and in Columns, our faculty and staff newspaper, and Georgia Magazine, our donor and alumni magazine.

We developed a one-page fact sheet to be used by Government Relations, digital and print advertisements, and direct mail pieces to further promote the grant.

Impact

Our promotional efforts resulted in more than 420 media hits, reaching an estimated 12 million people; more than 3,700 pageviews on UGA Today; and nearly 3,000 social media engagements and 75,000 impressions in the first week after the story was published.