Taking Over a Marcomms Division Mid-Pandemic at Miami University of Ohio

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jaime Hunt, Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Miami University of Ohio joined the podcast to discuss both the challenges, opportunities, and positive constraints of taking over a Marcomms division mid-pandemic.

When I think about e sentialized model,I think about creating centers of excellence where there's people with alot of expertise available to help generalists. I think in a lot ofdesentialized models, you have people who are a mile wide and an inch deep, you're listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to enromant growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network, I'm EricWolson with helick education and were here today with Jamie Hunt VicePresident and chief marketing and Communications Officer at MiamiUniversity of Ohio, Jamie welcomed, thes show. Thank you. I'm happy to behere really excitedg to talk wic you today about the challenges andopportunities of taking over a Markom division mid pandemic. But before wedik into that, can you go listeners a little bit of background on both MiamiUniverseiy of Ohio and your new role? There yeah? Absolutely so MiamiUniversity is, as the name suggests, in Ohio, although the name also suggestedsin Florida. It is not. I started here in September, so truly mid pandemic. Wewere you, know, six months in and now it's six months past, then Miami servesabout twenty two thousand students across four campuses and we have aLuxemburg campus as well, and we're really focused on providing a strongundergraduate education, but we have some exceptional graduate programs aswell and we're having a growing footprint of online masters degreeprograms that are coming on board in the next couple of years. So that'sreally exciting. My Role, I Oversee University Marketing CommunicationsOffice. We have a D centralized communications model here, but we'reworking on developing a plan for better...

...coordination of communications acrossthe university, because it's on the scale of sentralized to decentralize,it is very, very, very, very, very desentualized. It was the fifth there het. Maybe thankyou might not love that too much. No, I'm and I was told in the interviewprocess that that would be a challenge I would be tackling. So I'm excitedabout that Jamie to kick us off, maybe from the optimist side. Is there anyupside to taking over that role that hyperhyperdecentralized markingdivision a already hard challenge during normal times in the middle of apandemic? Yeah, it's funny, because nobody ever asks me that everybody asksme what the challenge is hard. How hard is it an so I like that we re framedthis as a positive question. The Way I look at it you know higher ad isexperience in this crisis that most of us have never seen it this scale, andhopefully we'll never see again between the pantemic and the economic followetof all the lockdowns and restrictions, and then we've also had this growingreckoning around bacial injustice that has been really amplified over the lastyear and kind of coming into all of that in the middle of the torm meantactually that I was joining a team that has had to be incredibly nimble, whichis so unusual, and higher education and they've had to be really innovative andthink outside the box and turn on a dime and get used to pivoting and sotaking the lead when the team's already in that mindset has really beenbeneficial. It's also giving us a opportunity. They were sort of midrebrand before the pantemic hit, and what this is allowing me to do is giveus an opportunity to me frame a little bit and then come out of the pantemicreally strong. With the strong brand message, that's informed by some of thechallenges that we've had to face in the past. What are we at now elevenmonths, four hundred years, something...

...like this yeah yeah thos all makes somuch sense as the pandemic. Also ppotentially, given you an opportunityor even an excuse, to shut down some of the perhaps good but lower value comsactivities that the institution used to engage in prior to you in order to nowfocus on only the truly critical yeah wel. I think the big thing we'veshifted away from is doing things that support in person tactics and there wasa lot of stuff travel pieces, materials for college fairs, but also the displaydesigns for those exhibits and all of that, that's all really time consumingand supervaluable. I think under normal times, but o obviously have no value.Now we actually invested more this year inprint to try to rise above the noise in the digital space. I would say ifanything were adding more to our tool box, but that's a this sort of rethinkeverything. Space is a great place to be. I think in higher ed we aredistinctly structured to maintain the status quo and there's this academicyear and there's a track that rinds around it and our tires to t slip intothose ruts, and we do things the way they've always been done. We dust offwhat we did last year and you know, make a few tweeks and spit it out againthis year, and this gives us an opportunity to say what needs to change,because right now everything does and I'm hoping that some of these thingsstick that we are able to, even if we go back to producing travel pieces andand exhibits and stuff we're able to think about it differently and morecreatively, instead of going back to the wo Thwousad and nineteen travelpiece and dusting that off and just doing that over again yeah in terms ofthinking more creatively. Let's talk about creativity and this kind ofcreative team that you're over all of our teams have had to get used to a lotof new virtual collaboration tools. This year, you to me surprisingly, have found thoseconstraints and technologies to...

...actually be a creative boon for yourteam. How so, absolutely for me, they're, not just unlocking our abilityto work together, but they're, also unlocking creativity when we're facedwith a challenge that would have been handled by walking into someone'soffice fere now having some mcgi for a solution that takes into CCOUNTcolleagues that might be in a totally different state. What excites me aboutthat is that there's a lot of possibility to take that muscle, memoryof collaboration and that muscle memory of creative thinking and apply that toour marketing efforts going forward. We've had to rethink everything that wedo and how we do it. My team previously was working with a lot of print piecesin terms of taking a proof and physically handling a physical proof toa person and marching that back and now that's entirely digital, and that savesup so much time and energy and effort, and it's just a much more effective wayof doing things. But beyond that, just the having to come up with a new way ofdoing things. It gets the wheel spinning in your head and I think,that's going to help us identify new communications channels and creatematerials that answer the new questions that we have in this post covid worldand I think about what else. Can we wipe board into reality with these,this new muscle memory and these new skills that we've developed and if welook at all these marketing challenges that we have with fresh eyes and with afresh perspective? What can me create that takes us to the next level? And soI think that that's what excites me about everything that we've learned. II'm one of those people that hates we've always done it this way. I despise that, and- and we can't Imean we're- not doing anything that we've always done anyway. Now andthat's I'm excited that that people are learning that that's not so bad Jame,your six months into this new role. How are you, or are you balancing bothshort term and long term prioritization,...

...maybe specifically for my branding andpaid marketing strategy right now, I'm guessing the panemic has likelly forcedyou, and all of us do focus very strongly on the immediate, but isfuture Jamie going to be mad at current Jamie that you're not doing more five,your planning right now, I love. I talk all the time about not screwing overfuture Jamie, and I thought I think I am in that that space now Iam really looking to the future. Still and part of that is empowering thepeople who work for me to be focused on the immediate pulling people in that.Don't necessarily have as much immediate things they need to focus onand having those people join me and thinking about the future, ourtrademark and licensing office, as had a huge dip in workload, because nobodywas buying things for for much of the year. And so we've been able to kind ofdraw her into a rebranding effort into thinking about rolling out our newbranding. The time that we're saving on creating some of the print pieces wereable to redirect our designers to focus on designing for Ur, updated, visualidentity. And so I think it's you have to direct resources toward theimmediate. But where can you find resources that you can direct to thefuture? And I am not going to get caught flat footed when I was at atWinson Salem state. Before this I told the chancellor before we left on Covidon one of our last days. I said we can't forget the future. We have tothink about where we're going to be when we come out of this, and I want usto put a steak in the ground that when we come out of this, we're going to bein a better place from a band position, and I carried that over to Miamibecause I just think that's one way you can differentiate yourself in thismarketplaces. If you don't just sit and think about the urgent things that arein front of you, but instead think about you know what the future is goingto look like and where you're going to be, then I think people who think likethat are going to be ahead of the game when we're finally done with all ofthis, you mentioned walking into this very, very de centralized communicationstate. How do you think about that from...

...a short term and long term, privsationstandpoint? I know it can be compelling to say brand police nowwe're all centralized, but then you have to do all of that as well. Sothere's a huge load in order to create that centralization. What is yourprocess or or what do you? Assuming or or you know, strategizing that processto be and and what is your idealized and game of what is centralized, whatis not yeah, so my plan right now, my I have a roadmap for court, BetterCoordination of communications and I'm meeting right now with all of thedivision heads and talking to them about what gaps they see between whatwe have and what is ideal. It's been interesting to talk to people aboutwhat their idealized situation would look like, and I've been given a littlebit of a blank slate to so o draw up what I think we need and where I thinkwe need to go, and so, when I think about a sentralized model, I thinkabout creating centers of excellence where there's people with a lot ofexpertise available to help generalists. I think in a lot of desentralizedmodels, you have people who are a mile wide and a inch deep, because it's asmall shop and they have to be able to write a press release in the morningand do a social mediographic in the afternoon and do all of these differentthings and they not able to spend the time to become an expert in any onething. So, when I think about a more centralized or more coordinated optionfor our campus, I think more about providing these centers of excellencewhere people can tap into experts in those areas and harness their skillsetsand knowledge to improve their efforts in those areas. But we'll see, I thinkour plan is to try to have something sort of sketched out on the back of aNapkin and get something into actually concrete terms by the end of thisfiscal year. I love that idea beautiful way to look at it Jamie. What are you doing now that youhope continues post pandemic either new...

...ways that you are communicating andengaging with your audiences or new ways and practices that you're engagingwith your internal team? That's a really good question when I think aboutwhat we're doing now that I'd like to continue my day is full of meetings. Iam in meetings generally seven to eight hours a day and if I were crossingcampus for all of those meetings, it would not be possible to cram all thoseinto my schedule, and so I hope that we still do zoommeetings for the quick phone calls and the quick checkins and things like thatand have the imperson meetings, be things that are real opportunities toconnect and have dialogue. And maybe you go out for coffee and engage on amore social level. But I'd like us to retain some of that efficiency that wehave with the zoom meetings that we're having, and I think that I also hopethat we lose that out of sight out of mind, I think in higher education. It'seasy to not involve people and things if their office is way over on theother side of the campus and you're, not thinking about it right and duringcovid. That's just O outof sight out of mine is just not possible unless yourdog happens to have an excellent head for marketing and her pulse on themotivations of dency. You are forced to reach out to people who aren't inproximity to you, and I hope that that experience is something that we carryinto a post pandemic world. By the way, mydog calls that barketing she's looking to you know, hire anintern or something to help her out with her efforts. She's got somingthere, I'm making a lot of money on game staff this week, so probably theobbeer first Beci Fense get Jamie. I remember when I saw you had taken thenew role. I instantly thought well what an amazing higher for Miami Universityand then about two seconds later. I thought, but now she's taking this nowany next EPS advice for those who have an opportunity are considering a moveright now, but thinking now it's just...

...too scary yeah. Well, I think back towhen my husband went back to finish his bachelor's degree. He said I'll bethirty five, when I'm done like why. Why would I do this and I told thimhe's going to be thirty five either way he might as well be thirty five withthe bachelor's degree yeah. So I see a move like this is kind of in the samelight. If the opportunity is something that you would have seized before thepandemic go ahead and sees it now, there's everybody is sort of puttingtheir lives on, holds and, and I'm not saying just ignore safety protocols atall. I I'm a mask where I'm a stay at home person, but there's ways torelocate ways to start news, jobs that don't require you to be unsafe and whylet an opportunity pass you by if it's perfect and exactly what you're lookingfor and based on the number of applications that I have for my vacantpositions, people are still trying to seize opportunities. Right now think wehad two hundred for one of my positions: Wyeah big shoes, to fill good luck,future jamies Jamie! Thank you! So much fof your timetoday. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if theyhave any followup questions absolutely so, I am on twitter at Jamie Hunt Imcan when you look for me. Remember that I'm named after the bionic woman, soit's Jaime and not the more common spelling of Jamie, I'm also unlinked inhappy to connect there. I will say that I spend a lot more time on twitter thanUnlinkedon, though she's very friendly, helpful, andformative untwitter so gogive her a follow. Friends, thankyou thanks so much for joining us today,Jamie I'm so happy to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me attractingtoday's new post, traditional learners means adopting new enrolmant strategies.helics educations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helex has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook, with fifty...

...percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing enromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Heloc, Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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