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UB holds first communicators conference

Erin Burk and Carolyn Kent (from left, at the podium) of Ologie, a branding, marketing and digital agency, talk about communicating across generations during a workshop session. Photo: Kate McKenna

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published March 24, 2017

Communicators, marketers and enrollment leaders from across UB came together on Tuesday to share expertise, untangle challenges and learn best practices during “Telling Our Story Together: Communicators in Conversation,” the university’s inaugural communicators conference.

The daylong event, organized by a committee of UB senior communicators, welcomed 140 UB staff members from more than 50 departments, units and schools, as well as several of the university’s communications partners, to Kapoor Hall on the South Campus.

UB communicators led workshops, breakout sessions and lunchtime roundtables that spotlighted the university's wide range of expertise in communicating topics critical in higher education. Those topics included, but were not limited to, social media storytelling, issues management and strategic planning.

In addition to UB communicators, leaders from Ologie, Marshall Strategy, protocol 80 and Eric Mower + Associates spoke at the event.

The keynote address, which uncovered emerging trends in higher education and highlighted the success of UB’s recent branding initiative, was delivered by Ken Pasternak, managing director of Marshall Strategy, and Nancy Paton, UB vice president for communications.

The conference comes a year after the launch of UB’s new identity and brand strategy, a unified effort to tell the university’s story and distinctiveness worldwide in a more compelling and cohesive way.

“Bringing together our university’s communication professionals created a platform to discuss a wide array of topics and, at the same time, gave participants an opportunity to network and build relationships.” says Paton.

“This event was developed by UB communicators, for UB communicators, and is part of a strong commitment to our staff’s professional development and continued learning. I am thrilled with the level of insight and engagement, and we’re looking forward to building on our success for next year’s conference.

The workshops and breakout sessions included:

  • AARP to Gen Z: Communicating across generations — An exploration of the attributes and characteristics of a wide range of generations as well as the newest identified group, “Generation Z,” and how to best communicate with them.
  • The Socia-Bull: Telling our stories through social media — A panel discussion of UB’s social media strategy, content planning and assessment, as well as social advertising strategies and tactics.
  • Metrics that matter — A guide to using key performance indicators to support goals and objectives, and better understand audiences.
  • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: Identifying and responding to issues at UB — A discussion on how to prepare, react and reflect on issues, and how social media has altered the crisis management landscape.
  • Don’t break the bank: How to make the most of your marketing dollars — Tips and best practices for organizing a large-scale event on a tight budget.
  • Show, don’t tell: The strategies behind effective storytelling — An exploration of the theory and principles of effective storytelling, including creating an inclusive atmosphere, building empathy and encouraging positive action.
  • Lights, camera, action: Readying faculty experts for broadcast media — A presentation on enhancing the visibility and reputation of UB by shining a national spotlight on faculty experts using state-of–the-art broadcast capabilities and media-training.
  • Telling UB’s philanthropy story — A guide to promoting the university’s philanthropic goals and sharing success stories through communications channels to garner support from donors.
  • Plan your work, work your plan: The importance of communication planning — An outline of the types of strategic communications plans and key components of the planning process that are key to successful marketing and issues management.