Projects Recognized by National Organization as Well as Local Professional Associations
The 2015 academic year proved to be a banner year for the C. T. Bauer College of Business, from being named among the top programs across the country in entrepreneurship and supply chain management to winning national titles in sales. And, the unit responsible for sharing the news of these accomplishments was itself the recipient of many accolades this year. Bauer College’s Office of Communications (OOC) earned a total of nine awards from three professional organizations in recognition of its outstanding achievements.
Led by Director of Communications Jessica Navarro, the OOC oversees all of the college’s internal and external communications, marketing and branding, and public relations initiatives. The staff of eight manages a wide variety of communications outlets, including advertising, web development and media relations, in addition to providing event coverage and promotion through videography, photography and social media.
The national chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awarded the Office of Communications a Bronze Anvil Award in recognition of its public relations tactics. Specifically, the office entered and was recognized for the bi-annual publication Inside Bauer magazine.
This is an especially noteworthy achievement when looking at some of the other brands recognized alongside Bauer College, including P&G and Coca-Cola. But, despite having a drastically smaller budget and creative team than brands like these, the college’s OOC was able to excel in its own right, thanks to a strategic focus and plan for the publication.
As Navarro explained, “We differentiate ourselves by not just taking an academic approach, but also looking at publications like Inc. and Time. We want to be able to put Inside Bauer next to any other magazine in the newsstand and have it be just as engaging to an audience.”
Inside Bauer magazine was also recognized by the Houston chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for the second consecutive year. The OOC was recognized by IABC Houston with five Bronze Quill Awards. The office earned two awards of excellence for the magazine as a whole, as well as a feature story in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of the magazine, “It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It).”
Navarro attributed the success of the magazine to the creative energy and passion of her entire team. “It would be easy to maintain the status quo,” she said, “but we are always looking for ways to challenge ourselves to tell the Bauer story better.”
The office also received three awards of merit from IABC Houston for brand communication, advertising (specifically the “We are Houston, We are Bauer” campaign) and websites (for the recently launched whereawesomehappens.com).
Many of these accomplishments were also recognized by the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, from which the Office of Communications received three Bronze Excalibur Awards for websites (whereawesomehappens.com), internal communications (“Bauer and You”) and social media.
Each of these outlets responded to a need of specific stakeholders within the Bauer College community, Navarro said.
The WhereAwesomeHappens.com project aimed to create an online space of curated content for current students, contributing to student success and retention by cultivating and supporting pride and community on-campus through a digital initiative, she said.
The “Bauer and You” campaign was a reaction to the needs of Bauer faculty and staff, who Navarro said “wanted a resource to use when advocating for the college, emphasizing a consistent message and brand.” And, the college’s social media efforts, bolstered in the last year by the addition of a full-time social media coordinator to the team, shifted the focus from simply garnering “likes” to becoming a strategic platform to meaningfully engage with a broader Bauer College audience.
With nine awards to add to the OOC mantle this year, it is only natural to imagine what might be in store for the upcoming year. According to Navarro, “We are able to have great content for our projects in the Office of Communications because we always have great stories to tell about the college. We have a range of projects planned for the coming year, but it is always exciting for us to listen to our stakeholders and tailor what we do to what’s happening in the college.”
By Sarayu Sundar