IMSA has a busy and bustling department called MarCom — industry standard shortening of Marketing and Communications — though not many students seem to know what it is. Where do all the IMSA brochures come from? Why does the IMSA logo always look the same? The Acronym set out to learn a little bit more.
On IMSA’s website, MarCom has posted all of its style guides and templates for official IMSA flyers, brochures, shirts, logos, books, coffee mugs, and pretty much anything you can think of. The rules for these range from general — “Please do not create Twitter or other social media accounts or pages for IMSA” — to the minute — ”An open space of ⅓X must always surround the logo when included with the academy name spelled out” where X is the height of the letters in the logo. All of these regulations, though, are necessary. A consistent brand identity is a vital asset to marketing anything, and IMSA is no exception. It’s through this marketing that many people discovered and applied to IMSA.
With little knowledge of the rules and regulations of MarCom, The Acronym set up a meeting with Mike Abrahamson, the Digital Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for IMSA, to talk about what MarCom actually is. In a nutshell, he gets “the outside world to learn about, understand, and appreciate what our impressive students, faculty, and staff do here” in addition to “writing and sharing more of IMSA’s stories through our web and social media channels.”
Our conversation began with some highlights from the last few years. A big piece for Mike was the WIRED Magazine article (http://www.wired.com/2013/05/hogwarts-for-hackers/) that profiled IMSA and some of its students. Mike tried to “create a good agenda, have them get a feel for our academy, and get to know our students,” when the WIRED reporter arrived on campus. Though that was one MarCom’s accomplishments, he described it as one of the most stressful parts of recent years, too. After all, WIRED could have written anything; Mike and his department helped ensure it was a positive piece.
Another facet of MarCom is helping advertise for various programs on campus and off. IMSA’s outreach department recently ran an online course called RISE for Illinois high schoolers. MarCom helped design its advertisements and called attention to some of its most successful students with articles on IMSA’s website and Facebook page.
The final area of conversation for us was MarCom’s increasing interactions with the student body. Over the past year, MarCom held its first focus group, tried to advertise more student initiatives, and saw students begin to come to them to share their personal stories. They are also investigating having a student service learning opportunity within the department. On this subject, Mike claimed that “the next step is to further involve students in helping us tell the story of our academy.”
All in all, MarCom’s job on campus is to help advertise IMSA and to make sure people outside the “IMSA bubble” know what we’re up to. This is done through social media, the press, and many other channels, going well beyond the brochures and pictures typically associated with marketing. With increasing importance being placed on the student perspective, MarCom hopes to increase awareness of all IMSA activity for years to come.
For more information, follow these links:
Summary of the interview (written by Mike): http://goo.gl/kOMkWt
Some of the brochures designed by the MarCom team: https://www.imsa.edu/discover/publications
For other information, or to contact MarCom, email firstname.lastname@example.org