In The News

Get Perspective

Get insights on public relations and strategic communications from Pitzer Relations.

Reconnecting Old Friends

College of Engineering at the University of Illinois

University Of Illinois

The Challenge
One of the world's leading engineering schools was not connecting with its largest pool of supporters — Chicago alums. Post graduation, the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois lost connection with alums and often lost them to other graduate schools.

The Approach
The Pitzer Relations team viewed the assignment not as a traditional communications challenge, rather as a one-to-one and one-to-many social marketing effort. First, the team established an "advisory" group made up of prominent business leaders/former alums. This group helped the Dean create a roadmap and connect with large groups of alums in Chicago to start conversations. The team surveyed key targets to develop communications vehicles (newsletters, collateral, web properties) that would be used for outreach. The team also drove a Chicago media blitz with the Dean to get alums to re-visit their school, culminating with a weekend-long event dedicating new facilities and featuring alum Tom Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, as honoree.

The Results
The COE created a better bond through "brand ambassadors" who worked to create a tie between COE and other alums in Chicago; established a consistent flow of communications; and leveraged the dedication as a way to get alums to re-connect — creating a new appreciation for this outstanding engineering school.