University of Minnesota
University Relations
Our Brand: How to Convey It

Our Brand: How to Convey It.

September 2009 Archives

Are You on the List?

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If you haven't seen the list of sites that have converted to the templates lately, you should take a look. I added 20(!) sites today.

Some folks have been real good about letting me know when they make the switch, but I've had to hunt down a lot of you. Please send an e-mail to when your site launches with the new templates so we can share your work with the world!

Take a look at some of these site transformations (and get some ideas about what you could do with the templates):

Events Calendar Training Sessions

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We are offering two training sessions for the primary and alternate unit contacts. The sessions will go over how the event spotlight will operate, how to add users, and how to contribute to an event. The training dates are:

- Thursday, Oct 1st, 10:30am - 12:00pm
- Wednesday, Oct 7th, 10:30am - 12:00pm

The training will be held in Donhow 315. Please RSVP to as space is limited.

Mass Email User Group returns Sept. 29

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The Mass Email User Group (MEUG) is starting up again. Our first meeting of the new academic year will be:

Tuesday, Sept. 29
1-2:30 p.m.
Morrill Hall 238A

With the surge of internal communications to students, faculty, and staff, we're kicking off the year with an internal focus.

First up will be Matt Sumera, Internal Communications Manager for University Relations. Internal Communications group has been developing standards and guidelines for internal communications at the University, from content to branding to frequency and beyond.

Time permitting, we'll move into discussion on the text part of mass email, also with an internal slant. We'll look at how GopherMail renders messages for its users and some of the considerations you need to take into account when constructing your message. Have your own tips and tricks on how to deal with this? Bring 'em along.

This is a great opportunity to meet some of other senders of mass email at the University, learn from one another, and hear and feed back into central standards development.

No need to register or RSVP unless you'll be attending remotely. We've got three extra slots saved for the conference call and will do screen sharing over UMConnect. Shoot a note to if you're interested in attending remotely and we'll send you connection information.

We'll have some sort of afternoon treat, but it is BYOB(everage).

Is your email one big image blob?

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If you are involved with email at all -- below is a link to a great quick read on five no-no's for designing emails. All too often I see emails relying solely on images to convey the message. Sometimes I even see that the entire email is one honkin' huge image. Ugh! Not good.

Take a moment to read this article and start ensuring the time you are taking to send an e-mail results in someone being able to read it.


Email Design No-Nos Your Designer May Not Know

Mass e-mail webinar for opt-in list growth

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If you're currently using an opt-in list for marketing and looking to grow that list, you might be interested in an upcoming webinar, offered by Lyris HQ.

Title: Grow Your Email Marketing Opt-in List ... Almost Automatically
Date: Thursday, September 24, 2009
Time: 11:00 AM Pacific Time / 2:00 PM Eastern Time
Moderator: Ellis Booker, editor, BtoB Magazine and Media Business
Additional information and registration

Introducing Audio and Video Assets

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A wide selection of audio and video assets are now available on the Images Library. Working in partnership with the Office of Information Technology, we have produced assets that can be used "as is" or customized for your unit.

These assets were developed to complement the new electronic communications policy that is still in the works. The assets include all the components that will be required for University-produced audio and video.

Go to the Audio and Video Assets and Standards page to read about the standards and watch a video demonstration of ways to use the assets. Download the assets from the Images Library.

Events Calendar Preview Sessions

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We will be offering two sessions to the UofM community to preview the new Events Calendar and to answer any questions that groups may have.

Session #1
St. Paul Campus
Tuesday, Sept 22nd 1:30pm - 2:30pm
VoTech 285 (Map)

Session #2
East Bank
Friday, Sept 25th 10:30am-11:30am
Vincent Hall 207 (Map)

No RSVP is required to attend, if you have anything specific that you may want us to talk about in the session, please send an e-mail to

Social media outsourcing can be risky

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Just a quick note to let you know we are very close to completing the Social Networking Guidelines. We are waiting for a few final comments from the fantastic folks in OGC and then it should be good to go.

In the meantime, I hope you will read this great article by Jakob Nielsen:
Social Media Outsourcing Can Be Risky
--Hosting a company's content and services on 3rd-party social networking sites involves both tactical risks (lower usability) and strategic risks (less user loyalty).

Finally, don't forget to mark your calendars for the 2009 New Media Research @ UMN on Sept. 18. Should be a great event!

Make stuff scanable, skimable, usable

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Writing for the Web is a different beast. Those of us who live, breathe, eat, and sleep electronic communications must respect the differences and help others who are not as familiar with the online world.

For some great ideas on how to tame the beast and provide sharp, attention-grabbing content, check out "20 tips for writing for the web."


P.S I'd love to know if you think Web should be capped. Is it Web or web? Thoughts?

Interactive campus map update

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We're happy to report that the Twin Cities interactive campus map is on track for completion, though it will be a bit delayed. Some architectural and hosting issues are currently being sorted out, some design elements still need to be applied to the map, tile cache regenerated (we're just guessing but, it's logical to assume this), etc.

So, while you probably won't see the map go live by the first day of classes, we still expect it to launch in September, perhaps with the 'beta' moniker attached. Existing campus maps will still be out there and available when the interactive map launches.