Message header graphic

Dear Colleagues: 

As you know, President Young and Provost Cauce have demonstrated tremendous vision by committing to the full development of an integrated marketing operating model and brand strategy for the University of Washington. As we develop this model and shape a brand marketing campaign, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with all of you in my new role as chief marketing and communications officer.

After working with the UW team—including with many of you—as a consultant over the past year on the brand strategy and campaign visioning process, I look forward to diving deeper as we develop a long-term, university-wide communications plan.

We will continue to work with Hornall Anderson, the marketing and branding firm that was unanimously selected by a cross-departmental review committee, on the brand and integrated marketing strategy. Many of you have heard Hornall Anderson describe the “one thing” that characterizes a brand. As we gather ideas and feedback to create a clear brand promise, unified messaging framework and a shared strategy, we will also work with Hornall Anderson and all of you to bring the UW brand to life with one cohesive voice.

There are also changes from a structural standpoint. University Marketing, Trademarks and Licensing, and Advancement Communications have joined forces into a single dynamic organization housed in University Advancement. This new team is called University Marketing & Communications. While these teams have always worked closely together, bringing them under the same umbrella in a truly integrated advancement model will strengthen our ability to tell the UW’s story while supporting units across our campuses. 

I am thrilled to be joining the UW during this exciting time when we have an opportunity to share the University’s story with the world in greater and more compelling ways.

Please contact me if you have questions or concerns. I look forward to working with you.


Mary Gresch
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
University Marketing & Communications


Best Practices

Featured Unit: Student Life

The challenge: The results of a survey sent to the families of UW students in February showed that UW parents were not feeling as connected to the University as they’d like to be. After identifying this information gap, President Young tasked the Division of Student Life with increasing the UW’s engagement with parents and families.

The approach: “The UW has never had anything like a Parents Program, and there’s never been a Parents Weekend,” notes Leigh Tucker, marketing and communications manager for Student Life, highlighting the need for increased communication with parents. As one component of their overall strategy to engage parents and families, the team developed a monthly e-newsletter sent out by Parent and Family Programs, a new arm of Student Life.

The first issue posed a challenge in terms of content. With minimal evidence to help determine the content that would most appeal to parents, Parent and Family Programs decided to just jump right in. The inaugural newsletter, which was sent in September, featured a welcome letter from Dr. Denzil Suite, VP for Student Life, and an article about the UW from a student’s perspective.

Parent and Family Programs e-newsletter header

The results: When the metrics came in, the results were better than expected: The first issue had an open rate of 72% among the 1,737 parents who received it. Parents also contacted the team directly, expressing their happiness at the helpfulness and tone of the newsletter. Despite the challenges of creating a content strategy initially, Parent and Family Programs is taking full advantage of performance data to tailor their future e-newsletters.

As Parent and Family Programs looks to the future, the team hopes to provide parents with content they’re interested in and create an ongoing conversation with all UW parents.

For more information on this project and Parent and Family Programs in general, contact Amanda Lobsinger at  


Now Available

W Day 2013 Results

Photo of balloons at W DayA huge thanks to everyone who helped make the third annual W Day such a success! On October 25, Red Square was filled with excited students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members who showed their purple pride while helping to celebrate Homecoming and the UW’s 152nd birthday. Check out the short recap video and Tagboard to see some of the highlights. Here are a few other notable results from the event:

  • Love Purple, Raise Gold: During the 48 hours from Wednesday, October 23, to Friday, October 25, the UW received gifts from 1,253 donors for a total of $165,585.66.
  • During Dollars for Dawgs, 1,451 donors gave $2,134.95 to the Husky Pride Fund—a resource created by students for students.
  • 3 million impressions through our paid media campaign—raising awareness and Purple Pride across the whole state.
  • 5,000 W Day T-shirts were given away in 45 minutes.
  • 1,000 people voted in the W Day online photo contest.

New “UW|360” Episodes

UW 360 logo

The October 2013 edition of UWTV’s “UW|360” is now available, as are these individual segments: 

“UW|360” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on UWTV, channel 27.

Questions? Contact Harry Hayward at


Question of the Month

Q: How can I increase the reach of the posts on my unit’s Facebook page?

A: Here’s one counterintuitive thing to try that seems to work very well: When you post a link to a website, remove the link preview (image thumbnail and page description) entirely and just leave the text and URL.

Screen shot of Facebook post
Screen shot of a Facebook post
Try this...
(Click to view larger image) 
...instead of this
(Click to view larger image)  

Posting compelling images is still an effective tactic, but doing so works best when the image is interesting in and of itself and not just as a way to amplify the text of your post.

If there are great comments, be sure to like them—or even reply to them (as your page) with a comment of your own; if there are questions in the comments, answer them as soon as possible.

Finally, asking questions can be effective but the questions need to be very timely or something that allows people to show their expertise or unique perspective. And the questions ideally should have some relevance to what your unit focuses on. A couple of examples of questions from the main UW Facebook page that have worked well are:

  • “Hey Husky fans: Tomorrow is our first Pac-12 matchup of the season. What are your predictions?”
  • “Unscientific poll: What do you guys think of the use of hashtags on Facebook? Do you think it makes posts more annoying, more interesting or something else?”

Social Media Tips and Trends

The Most Retweetable Words 

Twitter-related graphicCrafting an engaging tweet may seem like an art form, but Dan Zarella of HubSpot has broken it down into a science. By examining the 10,000 most retweeted tweets to date, Zarella was able to compile a list of the 20 most retweetable words. It includes such words as “you,” “post,” “blog,” “media,” “10” and “top.”

So what can we take away from this list? Don’t be afraid to ask for retweets or clicks to your content, but make sure that you do so selectively and without sounding desperate. Also, create a conversation with your followers by including the word “you” in your tweets so they feel more personal.

The Ultimate Guide to “Twetiquette”

In the world of Twitter, there’s a set of unspoken rules. The team at Mashable recently put together a handy list of these silent guidelines for maintaining etiquette on Twitter, or as it is popularly referred to, “Twetiquette.” The guide includes advice on how frequently you should tweet, the many ways to attribute a tweet to another user, appropriate interaction with followers and more. Check out the complete guide to “Twetiquette” for more Twitter tips.

Handling Negative Comments

With social media such a prominent part of marketing strategies these days, the wall between company and consumer is virtually nonexistent. While direct communication with the public has opened many positive doors, it’s also made criticizing a company, organization or brand in front of a large audience much easier. While these highly critical users are usually few and far between, it’s important to be prepared to handle negative comments. To help guide organizations, Addvocate outlines several steps to deal with negative comments. You know, just in case…


Peer Review

University of British Columbia

Should I go back to school? How would I do it? Where would I go? These were the questions facing the admissions team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as they sought to increase awareness for their continuing education program. The answer they found was simple: Let the program’s participants speak for themselves.

The key part of their plan was a website re-launch, which included a new interactive feature called “Continue Your Story,” starring current and past Continuing Studies students. As website users select a story, they’re taken through highlights of that student’s journey, beginning with the decision to go back to school. Each feature includes short text, photos and videos that highlight how UBC changed the student’s personal life as well as his/her professional life. By putting people’s stories at the forefront, “Continue Your Story” is genuine, engaging and inspiring while appealing to a variety of prospective students.

Photo from UBC's Continue Your Story website

Did You Know?

  • Best Husky Moments promo graphicEach year, the University sends a year-end message to the UW family. This year, you have the opportunity to be a part of that message! We’re asking all Huskies to share their best moment from 2013 in a video of 10 seconds or less. A selection of the submitted videos will be featured in the UW’s year-end message. There is a toolkit on the marketing website with social media graphics and messaging to help promote #UWBestOf13. Help spread the word and send in your own video by November 30. 
  • The new all-purple UW license plate will be available at any Washington State Department of Licensing office beginning next Monday, November 25. $28 from each plate goes to support the UW General Scholarship Fund for UW students—just like the old W license plates did, which generated $1.2 million in donations. Stay tuned for some communications tools to help your unit share the word!
  • The Office of Planning and Budgeting and UW Information Technology Enterprise Data & Analytics recently unveiled UW Profiles, a data visualization tool to help users access and understand basic university statistics. Dashboards allow users to aggregate and explore data at any level of the organization, from entire colleges to individual departments. The ultimate goal of UW Profiles is informing UW staff and encouraging further data analysis. Get more details at (UW NetID required).

Nov. 2013

Table of Contents

Best Practices
Now Available
Question of the Month
Social Media Tips
Peer Review
Did You Know?

Pride Points

Times Higher Education ranked the UW 25th best university in the world.

The UW, along with partners Berkeley and NYU, received a $37.8 million grant to accelerate the growth of data-intensive discovery.

3 UW professors were honored by the NIH for their innovative biomedical research.

At the Green Washington Awards, the UW received the Silver Award in the Academia category.

The UW was ranked by the 2013 University Business Incubators Global Index as one of the world’s top business incubators.

Events to Promote

November 23–March 9
Elwha: A River Reborn (exhibit), Burke Museum

November 26 & December 3
SAL U lecture series with Cliff Mass: “Reading the Northwest Sky: Understanding Our Weather and Climate” 7–8 p.m., Kane Hall, Room 120

December 4
CarolFest, 7:30 p.m., Meany Hall

For a full list of upcoming events, visit the UWAA events page and the UW Events and Calendars page.

Key Contacts

University Marketing & Communications
Mary Gresch,

Brand Styles & Standards
Gerald McRobbie, x30828,

E-communications & Social Media
Elise Perachio, x68923,

Web Communications
Gina Hills, x32561,

Other Topics

Key Links