Blogger: Kim Livengood, Central West Coast Chapter
During the breakout session with Chad Binette, UCF Assistant Vice President of News and Information, and Patrick Burt, UCF Assistant Vice President of Marketing, we learned how PR and Marketing worked seamlessly together to create some amazing results.
Together they presented an overview of their integrated campaign for UCF Downtown. This new campus plan is located on 68 acres of city-owned land. According to the website:
…stimulating downtown Orlando and providing a true college experience means having a critical mass of students. Approximately 5,400 UCF students and 2,300 Valencia College students could attend classes at UCF Downtown when the campus opens in Fall 2019, with opportunities for future growth. With approximately 7,700 students, UCF Downtown will bring a vibrant campus to the heart of downtown Orlando.
The team knew the impact on the city would be huge and the focus should be on creating jobs and pushing the positive economic impact.
UCF Downtown faced major hurdles starting with the need for 60 million dollars. Originally the government approved the funding and later it was vetoed. The team was prepared for answering approval, vetoes, and other options. While Chad and Patrick remained positive, the media continued to cover the veto.
When the funding model was revised it completely changed their messaging. While the primary message was still about creating jobs they updated to include students from the local nearby impoverished neighborhood and how the campus would improve student lives. They developed three pillars and marketing materials for each pillar.
“We thought we had a good chance for approval,” said Chad, “when they scheduled the vote to be on our campus.”
Once again, the team was prepared and the media was on their side. They worked early on with the events team to develop media opportunities. Their suggestion to present a scholarship to a future deserving student ended up being the lead story for more of the outlets. They used every opportunity (and space) to brand with banners and billboards. The logo was consistently displayed in the background of television interviews.
Teamwork internally and externally was important for the project’s success. When they reached out to involve the community, it opened a lot of doors for others that wanted to be involved and help with resources.
The big takeaway from this presentation was having solid teamwork and being prepared. Chad could attest to that firsthand as he wasn’t even at the ribbon cutting due to being on paternity leave. Congrats!
Assistant Vice President
Assistant Vice President