Policy 34 - Mandate of the Communications Directorate

Approved Administration Committee 2211.4

MANDATE OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTORATE

The Communications Directorate (CD) enhances and protects the reputation of the University of Ottawa and supports its strategic vision. We collaborate with faculties and services to promote uOttawa’s values, image and brand.

Over the years, the University of Ottawa has developed a decentralized approach to communications; faculties and services have their own communications and marketing staff. The CD is the flagship of the fleet; we play a leadership and co-ordination role.

The CD tells the uOttawa story to local, national and international media; potential students; key stakeholders, including alumni and donors; opinion leaders; and the general public. We also communicate news and information about the University of Ottawa to faculty, students and staff.

We handle media relations, crisis management, advertising design and placement, brand management and strategic planning for the web, and we develop tool kits, social media strategy, guidelines and much more. To this end, the CD prepares an annual corporate strategy, so that faculties and services can make their strategies consistent with ours.

We offer advice as well as training and support on story-telling, strategic communications and marketing, and navigating the changing media and social media landscapes. 

As part of the External Relations team, we develop and execute communications and marketing strategies for the Alumni Relations and Development offices. We play a critical role in helping External Relations engage alumni, raise funds and create a culture of philanthropy on campus.

The Communications Directorate has three branches.

1.       INSTITUTIONAL COMMUNICATIONS 

The Institutional Communications team supports faculties and services by helping them create communication strategies to cover major institutional issues. This team is responsible for media relations, strategic communications and internal communications. 

Media Relations Office 

Media relations are a centralized function at the University of Ottawa.  The Media Relations Office acts as the primary point of contact between the University and local, national and international media, to ensure they get information about the University, and it coordinates day to day contact between the media and uOttawa experts. 

The office works with the University community to collect and disseminate information about research, publications, breakthroughs and other stories of broader interest to the public, through media releases and social media.   

It assists in planning and carrying out public announcements made by the University. The office also monitors media locally, nationally and internationally, and offers media relations and crisis communications support to the internal community. 

Strategic Communications 

The Strategic Communications team provides the University with general communications expertise, including the tools and training necessary to develop communications plans, key messaging and content strategy for faculties and services. It also provides strategic advice and  briefings, and develops communications materials for senior administration and for the Alumni Relations and Development offices. 

Internal Communications

Internal Communications’ distributes material to ensure members of the University of Ottawa community are well-informed about major University news, events and announcements in a timely fashion. The team works closely with the faculties to search for story ideas, personalities and events that convey the unique character of University of Ottawa and the contributions to society made by its professors, students and staff. It is responsible for two uOttawa publications: the Gazette and Tabaret, the online alumni magazine.

2.       ADVERTISING, CREATIVE AND BRAND (ACB) 

ACB assists University faculties, departments and services with their advertising, brand, design and marketing challenges. It carries out branding and marketing activities for senior administration, External Relations and the Office of the Registrar (domestic and international recruitment) and supports their communications activities.  ACB is also the brand authority at the University of Ottawa and is the central point of contact for the University community’s external advertising needs.  

Core services include the following: 

Brand management

ACB provides guidance and visual identity standards, brand guidelines, tools, templates and approvals to help those who communicate on behalf of the University support the brand.  For additional information on branding at uOttawa, visit our brand site or email brand@uOttawa.ca 

Marketing

ACB offers strategic and tactical marketing advice.  This can include conducting market research, and, for designated clients, full production and execution services.  For more information, contact marketing@uOttawa.ca

Design

As an internal creative and design studio, ACB offers creative advice and services from ideation, illumination and realization to coordination, production and measurement, across platforms that include print, digital/web, video/photography, broadcast, exhibits, advertising, merchandise, event collateral, books and more. 

Advertising

ACB offers all faculties and services a free advertising planning, design and placement service.  It also can advise on the content and approach for ads.

A misplaced or poorly designed ad is not only ineffective; it can be costly and even have a deleterious effect on the image and the reputation of the University or a department. 

For additional information on advertising or help with advertising needs, email advertising@uOttawa.ca

Photography and video production 

ACB has a photographer on staff to shoot major University events and assist with archival searches. If other photographic or video services are required, the CD can provide expert advice and referrals to approved service providers.

 Network of professionals

ACB maintains a comprehensive network of approved external suppliers that can meet our standards and provide cost-effective, graphic design (print, web and other) and photo/video services for overflow or specialized External Relations needs, as well for referral to faculties and other services. 

3.       WEB AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS

The Web and Digital Communications team plays a leadership role in uOttawa’s web and social media presence while also providing a full range of web services for key central clients.

Core services and responsibilities include:

Web presence

The team determines the vision, governance and action plan for uOttawa’s web presence, in collaboration with the Web Steering Committee and other key stakeholders. This includes setting the high-level direction for uOttawa.ca, the student and employee portals and the centrally owned social media channels. The team also contributes to the overall online content strategy for the University’s web channels.

uOttawa.ca

The Web Communications team works with stakeholders to determine the overall navigation of the site, and establishes performance indicators and templates for the University community. In collaboration with Information Technology, it maintains and continually improves the main uOttawa.ca site. 

Special project support — web

The team meets business development requirements and provides expertise for major web-based initiatives as needed, ensuring that CD web communications needs are met. 

Support of institutional sites

The web team provides the full range of web, email, and social media strategic, planning, execution and support services for External Relations and uOttawa’s senior administration sites as well as for the top-level uOttawa.ca pages. The team manages web projects for External Relations and senior administration, and provides first-level web support. 

Tools, templates and training

The team provides the University community with branded web and email templates, policies, best practices, processes and other guidance and documentation, as required.

It also determines University-wide training needs for web content creators and managers and provides training for key CD clients on web-based tools such as the University’s web content management system. 

Revised October 2, 2014

(Communications Directorate)

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