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Communications Strategy

It comes down to telling the right story to the right audience at the right time, whether it is reputation management, building excitement, advancing a cause or moving people through change.

Restoring a college's
good name

As Pima Community College emerged from a series of difficulties that nearly threatened to close its doors, it needed to rebuild its good name and restore the community's confidence. With a news media accustomed to reporting only bad news about Pima, the College engaged other strategies. Eventually we won over the community and news media.

In-House News Coverage

Instead of relying on local news media, Pima created its own news stories about significant events and shared them with a broad mailing list and through social media.  In this example, the College announces a new training partnership with autonomous truck developer TuSimple.

Media Partnerships

To kick off its 50th anniversary, Pima partnered with a local business magazine to create a special section about the College's creation of Centers of Excellence and other positive changes.  The magazine reached 50,000 local influencers. The college printed 20,000 extra copies of the special section to distribute to legislators, partners and donors.

Chancellor's Reports

The college cultivated its own email list of area influencers and advocates and developed Chancellor's Reports, quarterly reports that provide concise information about College's activities, initiatives and people. The reports also are posted to the website and linked in other communications as appropriate.

Advanced Manufacturing and IT Center

Jefferson Community & Technical College's training labs were aging and couldn't not accommodate 21st century technology and learning. The solution was a new facility, but the College had to obtain funding - a mix of state and private dollars.  Success required a communications strategy that painted a vision, satisfied employers and convinced funders.  It worked. The ATIC opened in 2020.

EARLY COVERAGE

Case for Support

The first step was developing a Case for Support.  Securing a private donation allowed us to hire an architect who developed renderings and helped prepare a vision for the Center.  The College met with workforce leaders to determine training needs and the architect met with faculty to understand teaching needs.  There were print and online versions.

Media Relations

News media bought into the exciting vision for this facility and its promise to support job growth. They helped the College tell the story to a broader community. When funding was briefly in doubt, news media became an advocate for the college.

Legislator Communication and Meetings

Support from the Kentucky General Assembly was vital to success. They would need to provide at least 75 percent of the required funding.  The College created weekly fliers outlining the need and had them delivered to lawmakers' mailboxes.  More important, we organized key employers and advocates to attend routine meetings with lawmakers at the Capitol. Legislators understood the need and funded the project.

Confidence and continuity through the pandemic

Like many others in March 2020, Pima Community College closed its doors and transitioned classrooms and services to remote. A possible COVID-19 exposure led the College to abandon its planned closure procedure and close overnight.  Communication with the College community was now more important than ever.

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Daily Chancellor Emails

For the first six weeks, we created a daily update from the college Chancellor. The emails provided practical information but also provided comfort, confidence and connectivity to remote staff. The emails were complemented by a strategy to have all supervisors check on each member of their staff daily. The Chancellor Updates continue as needed.

All College Meeting

The College also developed a new communications format called the "All College Meeting."  We were able to bring presenters into our studios safely and air the presentation over YouTube.  Participation was significantly higher than in-person events, satisfaction with the meeting was higher and people enjoyed connecting in the chat.  These are now a permanent part of the College's communications toolbox.

ALL COLLEGE MEETING 5.6.20

Student Updates

Student communication was critical as they were scrambling to understand how to access classes, get technology needs addressed and connect virtually to services.  Soon they also needed information about how to find work and access community services.  The information we provided was so useful that "open" rates for student emails increased 25 percent.

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