Strategic Plan Update: Creating a Communications Plan

We’re happy to announce that we’ve fulfilled a number of the objectives that were laid out in our Strategic Plan. Teams of staff members from across the University Libraries have worked together to bring the objectives to fruition. We’ll be sharing updates of our progress in the weeks ahead.

Objective accomplished: Establishing a strategic communications plan for producing campaigns and materials that raise awareness of our resources and that better engage students, faculty, staff, and the Washington University community.

A task force composed of a broad range of University Libraries staff members was created in 2019 to develop an initial Communications & Marketing Plan. The group evaluated the current communications landscape, determining that the University Libraries’ signage and promotional materials varied widely in terms of look, feel, and tone, and that our overall messaging was inconsistent. The group’s evaluation also revealed that students and faculty seemed unaware of the wide range of services we provide.

After this preliminary review and related research, the task force identified five overarching strategies that would be part of the new plan and improve library communications:

  1. Branding and Identity: Develop a consistent set of communications tools to be used throughout the University Libraries.
  2. Digital: Develop a suite of engaging digital communications tools that help our audiences find the resources they need, support our goals of openness and accessibility, and promote our unique brand and offerings.
  3. Print: Design and produce print materials that embody our brand and tell our story.
  4. Networks and Events: Support the University Libraries’ ability to leverage key networks, build partnerships, and take a strategic approach to events and other programs.
  5. Internal Communications: Create and/or enhance systems and tools to support information sharing within University Libraries, empowering staff to communicate effectively.

As the strategies were refined and the plan finalized, a list of 45 tactics emerged. The tactics will be tracked going forward.

Next Steps

  • The Communications & Special Events unit will refer to the new plan to shape their priorities and work.
  • The project team will evaluate the overall plan and its metrics.
  • Now that a strategy-development system has been established, the University Libraries’ Director of Communications will continue to take this approach to marketing and communications work.

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