CASE District I Conference live blogging: March 11, day 3

Below is part 3 of Studio-e’s CASE conference live-blogging series.

A little before 9:00 a.m.: Liz and Julie arrive at the booth.

9:00 a.m.–10:15 a.m.: Liz attends a session, “Leveraging Open Social Networks and Gadgets in Advancement.” More to come on that.

9:00 a.m.–10:15 a.m.: Julie mans the booth. One person stops by. The exhibitors are restless and bored.

10:15 a.m.–11:45 a.m.: Julie attends an awesome session, "Developing a Strategic Communications Plan," led by Ann Carter, CEO of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, and Melodie Jackson, associate dean for communications and public affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. While Carter outlined the elements of a strategic communications plan—different from an institution's strategic plan—Jackson illustrated these elements with a concrete example: Harvard Kennedy School. Jackson offered helpful tips for getting the higher-ups at your institution on board with your communications plan, and Carter stressed the importance of making sure the administration knows what you're doing with regard to communications (most higher-ups, she said, don't know what the communications department does). Other helpful pointers: Pick two or three messages that you want to convey about your institution, do them well and repeat them over and over again. According to Carter, if you're getting bored with your brand or your key messages, you're only just beginning to get your message out there. So stick with it. She also recommended the book, Brand Warfare.

12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.: Liz and Julie dismantle the booth.

1:45 p.m.–3:00 p.m.: Julie attends a session, "Strengthening Alumni Connection Through Communication," led by Eric Norman, a strategist at Sametz Blackstone Associates. He used one of his clients—the alumni association at Tufts University—to show how alumni relations departments should go about getting their messages out there to reach their audience most effectively. Some of his tips included: Find a metaphor or chief value proposition for your alumni community; meet your alumni where they are: be a member of their community, not just a service provider (in other words, don't just twitter, respond to alumni tweets as well); distill your messages and connect alumni passions to your priorities.