August 6, 2014

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Those of us who work at CU see firsthand the wonderful things that happen at our university. We change lives through teaching and research, we drive the state economy, we prepare a highly skilled workforce and serve our state and its citizens in myriad ways.

We engage in many activities to promote those wonderful things, but often those efforts happen in isolation from one another. Historically, CU has not taken a collective, coordinated approach to system-wide marketing. We intend to change that with a broad-based, sustained marketing effort aimed at increasing support across our constituent base.

A number of forces related to our key revenue streams are converging that make it imperative for us to effectively engage our constituents. State funding increased this year, but several analyses (including our own) project sharp declines in the coming years. Student enrollment will become more important to our financial health. We have been successful recently in fundraising, but we need to substantially increase contributions in coming years to add value to our activities. We must diversify our research partner base to offset federal funding uncertainty. Additionally, our competitors in Colorado and beyond have been aggressive in their marketing.

The marketing project has three primary goals: conveying CU’s value, contributions and challenges to key constituents; providing common threads to augment existing marketing efforts across our campuses (which will continue based on each campus’s marketing priorities); and supporting our advancement efforts in all their forms (fundraising, constituent engagement, research partners). The project will be financed by initiative funds, which are interest earnings on CU investments that can be used for strategic university initiatives. No state funds, tuition revenue or donor contributions will be diverted to the project. We expect a significant return on our investment.

Marketing will build on the success of our branding initiative, which has allowed us to present a unified face externally, led by the interlocking CU. We have hired a Colorado firm that we have worked with previously to guide the marketing effort, and we also will enlist internal resources. The project will have three phases: extensive research with our key constituents (you will be asked to take part in a survey), generating a strategic marketing plan and developing a creative concept. The research and planning work will take place through the fall. The result will be a focused multimedia campaign that will soon follow.

We will keep you apprised of progress. In the meantime, please let me know if you have comments or questions at officeofthepresident@cu.edu.


Bruce D. Benson President

A message from President Benson
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