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COMMUNICATION a campaign proposal for Abilene Christian University




executive summary research & strategic planning creative brief & plan public relations & events media plan summary

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY the problem With academic, athletic and artistic events happening on and off campus every day, it is crucial and expected that students receive information that guides them throughout their college career. The university must constantly communicate with over 4,000 students who have busy schedules and commitments. Despite our highly-esteemed technological advancements, ACU students still say they receive unclear, decentralized messages about campus life. Students are constantly bombarded with emails, letters, postcards, advertisements and announcements concerning university life and academics. They often find themselves overwhelmed and would rather ignore the given information than attempt to sift through it to all to find what applies to them specifically. Conversely, some activities and events are not publicized enough, so few people know about them. Effective communication between ACU and its students is essential for a thriving academic atmosphere and growing college community.

our purpose For the ACU campus to be a connected community, students need to know what is going on. Our goal is to find a way to gather all student life information in a centralized location, so that students can quickly learn information that pertains to their academic and personal interests. Aside from basic information, we want students to be well-informed about campus life: who hit the home run at the game last Saturday; when the next chapel forum will be; how to become involved in a club of their interest. To accomplish this goal, we propose to introduce an improved version of the current myACU landing page. The myACU2 page would feature the login box that takes them to their student account, as well as organized information about student life on campus. Our plan focuses on introducing myACU2 and explores how this website revision will effect the way the university communicates with students.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY creative strategy

advertising/media strategy

Our aim is to capture a simple, clean look throughout all of our creative elements. Emulating Apple’s stark but visually appealing theme, our creative campaign involves a website and advertising plan that is simple, yet quirky. With white backgrounds and smooth, simple text, we plan to draw our target’s interest through a modernized creative approach. Our advertising, public relations and media plans will follow this approach while maintaining a light-hearted tone. With short, simple messages and bright but clean visuals, we present design and humor that students appreciate.

The media strategy will include a variety of internal advertising methods on the ACU campus including online, place-based and outdoor advertising. Both student and overall awareness of myACU2 is essential, so advertisements allow for this campaign to not only reach our core audience, but also encourage discussion of myACU2 among faculty as well.

public relations

the big picture

The public relations plan will involve hiring a student to represent the myACU2 campaign as “myACU2 Man.” myACU2 Man will maintain an active presence on campus at athletic and other ACU-hosted events. He will serve as the face of myACU2 and promote the new page through the @myACU2man Twitter account, as well as with t-shirt giveaways in chapel.

ACU has the people, resources and desire to be a school with excellent communication. We have created what we believe is an efficient and attainable plan to give students the knowledge they need to be active members of the school. As students ourselves, we are excited to see this strategy unfold and become a part of everyday life at ACU.

Our advertising strategy has been fashioned to best meet the needs of our audience by providing a smooth transition to myACU2.

Another element of our marketing communication campaign is to host an “Unlock the Chalk” party to petition the return of chalk as a means of advertising on campus.



PRIMARY RESEARCH communication survey

target ACU undergraduate students.

objectives Determine which current ACU communication tools work Find out what forms of communication students like Improve communication with students

methodology We intercepted students on the ACU campus (Library, Campus Center, Mall Area) and distributed the survey through email. The intercept survey reached 122 people. The university sent out our communication survey via e-mail to all students. A total of 414 people responded. We combined the results of the two surveys to develop our plan.

summary Data was obtained through the use of online survey programs and collected by iPads and email responses. Our target audience was students just like ourselves. Students on campus were interested in helping us in our efforts to improve ACU’s communication with its students.


RESEARCH RESULTS communication survey

what we learned Most students are generally pleased with ACU’s communication, but many have comments and suggestions on how it can be improved. QR code awareness has gone up 50% in the few weeks since ACU started its QR code initiative. Email is currently the most effective and most often used form of communication between the university and its students. Students want a central website for all ACU events and news.




male || 34.8


female || 65.2

ethnicity african american || 3.6

freshman || 22.9

senior || 27.2

asian || 3.6

other || 3.9 native american || 3.9

hispanic || 5.8

sophomore || 22.6 junior || 22.1 caucasian || 81.6


RESEARCH RESULTS grade ACU communication

overall opinion


4.1% 20.3% 23.2 20.0% 12.6% 12.1% 2.4% 2.2% 0.7% 1.2% 1.2%

“I receive enough information from ACU” neutral || 15.3

disagree || 9.7 strongly disagree

strongly agree || 18.2

agree || 55.2



Do you have a Facebook account? Are you “friends” with ACU on Facebook?

If yes, how actively do you follow ACU? daily || 5.08 weeky || 10.65

no || 44.9 yes || 95.9

monthly || 13.77

n/a || 5.08

never || 30.12

no || 4.1 yes || 55.1

Do you have a Twitter account?

If yes, do you follow ACU? yes || 10.5

no || 71.5

yes || 35.6

If yes, how actively do you follow it? daily || 4.6 weekly || 3.6

monthly || 2.6 never || 6.2

no || 24.2

n/a || 65.3


n/a || 83

RESEARCH RESULTS mobile/online

Do you use ACU’s intramural sports app on your smartphone?

Do you use ACU mobile?

Would you be interested in a central website for all ACU events?

no || 24.6

no || 10.9

never heard of it || 75.7 n/a || 4.8 n/a || 1.5 yes || 1.5 yes || 70.6

yes || 89.1

no || 15.6

Do you receive ACU Police Dept. text alerts?

Would you like to? yes || 11.79

no || 18.2

no || 7.86

yes || 81.8


n/a || 89.1

RESEARCH RESULTS existing tools

How often do you visit the ACU homepage na || 10.9

rarely || 10.9

sometimes || 41.6

frequently || 31.6

Do you usually know where chapel is going to be located? n/a || 8 no || 3.6

yes || 88.3


RESEARCH RESULTS existing tools

How often do you read the Optimist? never || 17.2 frequently || 35.5

rarely || 32.4 sometimes || 35.5

In what form do you prefer to read the Optimist?

no preference || 28.8

ipad || 2.4 print || 60.5 online || 8.3


RESEARCH RESULTS existing tools

what forms of ACU communication do you use?


RESEARCH RESULTS existing tools

how effective do you find these tools to be?



Do you know what QR codes are? (before QR Code Initiative)

yes || 12.3



Stop this QR business. It is simply worthless. Stop censoring students and let them advertise with flyers, chalk, or whatever means they want.

no || 87.7

Do you know what QR codes are? (after QR Code Initiative) no || 34.1

Have you scanned a QR code on the ACU campus since their release a week ago? n/a || 9.5

no || 72.5

yes || 65.9


yes || 18

RESEARCH RESULTS sidewalk chalk

Was sidewalk chalk an effective means of communication? no || 22.7

yes || 55.3

n/a || 22



Sidewalk chalk needs to make a comeback for student life activities... when I toured ACU as a prospective student I thought it was so cool.


RESEARCH RESULTS student opinion

for what purpose do you visit (An open-ended question)

(Write-in answers are listed below in order of most-to-least popular.)

Degree plans Phone numbers (directory) Library Campus store Schedules

Campus/Abilene Events Campus News Local/World News Finances Personal Departments and Interests

what do you want to hear more about? Campus events Campus news Academics Intramural sports Athletics Social clubs

84.3% 71.3% 62.8% 39.1% 38.2% 37.9%

how could ACU improve communication? (An open-ended question) Email Sidewalk Chalk Central website Student freedom to advertise Information overload Make emails and advertising more concise


PRIMARY RESEARCH in what ways has ACU successfully communicated with you about events? ACU email account, ACU alert, the intramural Twitter account, department blogs, chapel and the ACU career link. Campus banners and television screens around campus and signs located throughout dorms.

in what ways has ACU failed to communicate with you about events? The kiosk is a good idea in theory, but no one uses it for information. Communication about local events in the Abilene community. Print mail (with the exception of coupons) Snow day notifications, sports games. Few people read The Optimist religiously, but the police reports bring in an audience



focus groups

if there was a central website for students, what would you like it to include? Social club announcements ACU events Service opportunities Athletics Abilene community events Free opportunities Campus organization information

how do you think ACU could improve communication? ACU’s Twitter account could be a great tool if maintained properly, but they need to keep a good balance of tweets – not too many; not too few. The library entrance would be a good place to advertise, as well as the dorm entrances.


SECONDARY RESEARCH competitor analysis

what are other schools doing? We contacted students at competitor universities, including Pepperdine, Harding, Lipscomb, Texas A & M, Texas Christian University, University of Houston, University of Texas, Palm Beach Atlantic University and Penn State University to find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to communication.

successful communication methods Flyers, printed banners, bulletin boards Email, text alerts, Twitter, Facebook, Web calendars 24-hour inclement weather hotlines

unsuccessful methods Unorganized web pages, unappealing web pages Student mailboxes Student newspapers





“The Rock” – A fun tradition and important place on campus Online Layout is appealing Online Alumni Account in addition to original account after graduation Flyers everywhere

Pipeline – Similar to myACU, but has noticeable icons for Harding’s Facebook, Twitter, Blackboard, and the Harding catalog.

Lengthy Emails Departmental Emails Class Emails


Texas A&M

U. of Houston

Email Text Alerts Facebook Twitter 24-hour hotline for weather conditions

Website with calendar for all events Email

Email Website



Flyers Emails from specific organizations that one is involved with Texting

Well organized Visually appealing Central website


Information kiosk Chapel slides Digital screens on campus Twitter Print mail The Optimist


Email ACU Mobile ACUPD texts Outside banners Students want effective communication






Central location Facebook Twitter QR codes Chapel Announcements

Information overload Decentralized communication

THE SPECIFICS target audience The ACU student population, faculty and staff. Although our plan is designed to reach and accomodate student needs, we must have equal participation from ACU faculty and staff to make communication effective.


Increase student awareness about campus life and activities Create interest among students regarding campus organizations Enhance student knowledge through better communication Reduce information overload and clutter


Develop a central location on the web to communicate with students Utilize current campus locations with a lot of student traffic, such as chapel, the Campus Center and The Bean as places to physically advertise. Develop an eye-catching logo Introduce a character to represent the new central location Create a student-friendly Twitter account



CREATIVE OVERVIEW brand image creative Our main creative work is focused on myACU2, the redesigned myACU website. myACU2 will of the current landing page when students visit The page will feature a login box that takes students to the internal myACU website, as well as organized information and visuals regarding student life. Information will be categorized under tabs titled Athletics, Student Life, Arts and Spiritual Life, with drop down menus that allow students to choose between subcategories. Each page and sub-page will be organized in an appealing way. The main page will follow the simple, clean theme we are striving for throughout the rest of our campaign. One main visual will be visible when visitors open the page, which continually changes as students submit photos and approved advertisements. Smaller photos beneath will link to featured stories on each of the sub-pages on the website. All of these pages will be focused on ACU students and partially student-supplied. Students can submit information and photos to the myACU2 web master, who is in charge of maintaining and updating the website.



The campaign’s theme is fresh, clean and simple - yet quirky. We believe this modern look, combined with a lighthearted tone, will connect with students aesthetically and emotionally.

design Each of our creative elements will follow the same clean, simple theme. Every advertising and creative piece presents mainly white backgrounds and a modern, sans-serif typeface. myACU2 advertisements will feature the myACU2 logo and three short, descriptive words underneath. This resonates with ACU’s “Exceptional. Innovative. Real” tagline and echoes the simplicity of Apple’s advertising.


Our belief is that these fresh elements will capture students’ attention by providing a stark contrast to other advertising that is cluttered and heavy. This creative approach will connect with students through humor and contemporary design that our peers appreciate. resonates with ACU’s “Exceptional. Innovative. Real” tagline and echoes the simplicity of Apple’s advertising.



clubs chapel STUDENT LIFE ARTS




LOGIN username password Remind me before logging in to other websites


Tiffany Hambrick and Lacy Stone, Hardin Simmons University sophomores, enjoy a Cajun Cone Thursday.


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used macbook est non ligula pharetra interdum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Vestibulum tincidunt lobortis nisl. free to good home Aliquam erat volutpat. Erat volutpat. Vestibulum tincidunt lobortis nisl. Aliquam erat volutpat. Erat volutpat. Ves. apartment for rent Aliquam erat volutpat. Erat volutpat. Vestibulum tincidunt All Rights Reserved Š ACU


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CREATIVE banner/chapel slide

myACU2 simple. fresh. you.


CREATIVE banner/chapel slide

myACU2 new. awesome. uncanny.


CREATIVE banner/chapel slide

myACU2 clean. organized. better.


banner/chapel slide

myACU2 brand. spanking. new.


CREATIVE banner/chapel slide

myACU2 different. cooler. newer.



PUBLIC RELATIONS objectives & strategies

This plan will generate awareness of the new and improved myACU landing page. We will accomplish this by using many of ACU’s current advertising mediums as well as other promotional approaches.

overall Our goal is to inform students about the “upgrade” to the myACU landing page. If the students understand how the changes will benefit them, they will be more likely to use the landing page as a daily resource and as a tool to communicate their activities and events to the ACU campus. Give away t-shirts Create myACU2 Man Develop an @myACU2man Twitter account Stage an event


PUBLIC RELATIONS T-shirt giveaways

goal To promote the new and improved myACU2 landing page through T-shirt giveaways. A QR code will be located on the T-shirt that will take you directly to the myACU2 website. It will be another way to get students excited about the new implementation of QR codes on campus.

for The ACU student body


T-shirt giveaways will take place during Welcome Week and the first week of chapel, with the exception of Opening Assembly. Giveaways may also take place in The Bean and Campus Center after chapel during the first week of school.

we need myACU2 T-shirts myACU2man T-shirt launchers QR Code



goal To enhance visibility of the new myACU2 landing page through the active presence of a student on campus, known as “myACU2 Man”.


A male ACU student willing to work flexible hours. He will be hired as a student worker and will be knowledgeable about the new landing page and give it personality.


He will take on his role of “myACU2 Man” during Welcome Week and will continue to work during the first week of school.

we need

A @myACU2man Twitter account myACU2 Man, himself.


Meet Trevor your new best friend.

@myACU2man 34

PUBLIC RELATIONS Twitter account

goal ACU will develop a Twitter account for “myACU2 man”. His tweets will mainly include promotion for the improved myACU2 page, information about activities on campus and ACU news. The myACU2man Twitter account will be promoted through the @ACUedu Twitter account, as well as by student leaders on campus. The Student Association should play a large role in this promotion. Student leaders will help make @myACU2man’s presence known by “Welcoming @myACU2man to Twitter.” Our goal is for @myACU2man to become a popular Twitter account for students to follow, so they learn to rely on myACU2 for informatiom about happenings on the ACU campus.


PUBLIC RELATIONS Twitter account

who ACU Students


The Twitter account will go live on the first day of Welcome Week. Students will be encouraged to follow @myACU2man throughout Welcome Week.

we need

Student workers to write tweets for @myACU2man. A HootSuite account for @myACU2man, so his tweets are scheduled to go out several times a day during the duration of our campaign.


PUBLIC RELATIONS Twitter account

sample tweets @myACU2man: Wondering when the Wildcats are playing this week? Check out myACU2 to learn more about your favorite team! @myACU2man: Spotted: Phil Schubert telling YOU to check out the new and improved myACU2. Do it! @myACU2man: Siggies, Kojies and GATA galore, myACU2 has their schedule, so life won’t be a bore. Check out myACU for rush schedules! @myACU2man: Wanna learn more about the upcoming art show? Check out myACU2 for details. You know you want to. @myACU2man: Where is chapel today? Find the answer at myACU2. @myACU2man: Getting a little nervous about your chapel credits? Find out how many are left at myACU2. @myACU2man: Did you know? You can submit an ad to appear on myACU2 by emailing for approval.


PUBLIC RELATIONS Twitter account


PUBLIC RELATIONS unlock the chalk

goal ACU students have expressed the desire to have sidewalk chalk allowed on campus again. We believe that chalk is an effective means of making the ACU campus an exciting and continually enriching place for students to be involved. After being approved by the university, we recommend an event called “Unlock the Chalk” to reintroduce this form of advertising on campus. Students can come and learn why chalk is back and engage in drawing on the sidewalks during the event. Sidewalk chalk will be available to students who want to advertise a campus activity or organization. The event will be a relaxed, unstructured, come and go activity. Our goal is to increase student’s awareness that the use of sidewalk chalk on campus is back for use to advertise upcoming events and will bring a fun, casual, collegiate atmosphere to our campus.


PUBLIC RELATIONS unlock the chalk

who Students and members of campus organizations The Student Association involvement to promote party Art students hired to produce art chalk on sidewalks


August 31, 2011

we need Chalk Refreshments Art students SA involvement Drinks Popsicles

where The party will take place outside the Don Morris building and extend out to the sidewalks located near the entrance to Moody Coliseum. ACU management will designate sidewalks around campus that are “chalk friendly� zones. We recommend the sidewalks around the campus center (by the kiosk) as well as the sidewalks leading up to Moody Coliseum.


press release




unlock the chalk. bring color back to campus



MEDIA STRATEGIES online Advertising online is a very cost effective, crucial part of this campaign, as students will need to be educated and guided through the MyACU2 upgrade. The proposed online mediums will directly target students so they are fully aware of the upcoming changes on myACU.

place-based on campus Physical advertisements will achieve exposure and familiarity on campus through the use of effective current channels of communication (campus banners, QR codes, etc.)

billboard To create a lasting impression, we propose to utilize the billboard on Ambler Ave. that faces ACU. The billboard’s simple message will spark interest and curiosity about myACU2. It will redirect our audience to the web, and from there they may take advantage of some simple instructions and FAQs regarding the new look and feel of myACU.




We recommend email and myACU ads. Our research indicated that email is one the most successful communication tools with students. Although not highly effective with the current myACU layout, we also recommend the use of myACU ads to communicate the upgrade of the landing page.

what we need Simple means of communication such as email blasts, banner ads on the current myACU webpage.


The advertisements for myACU2 would go up one week prior to the beginning of school for the Fall 2011 semester and continue through the first week of school.




We propose to permeate the ACU campus with our message via place-based, campus-wide advertisements. ACU’s current channels of communications such as banners, QR codes, digital screens and napkin holder mediums will be used to create a campus buzz regarding myACU2. Additionally, the Ambler outdoor board will broaden reach and increase frequency.


Beginning August 21, 2011 to September 21, 2011. August 29 kicks off the 2011 fall semester.


Lamar’s billboard’s services cost approximately $700 for every four weeks.


SUMMARY media flow chart




acu/student a campaign proposal for Abilene Christian University THE TEAM TABLE OF CONTENTS summary executive summary media plan research &a...


acu/student a campaign proposal for Abilene Christian University THE TEAM TABLE OF CONTENTS summary executive summary media plan research &a...