Policy AD61 UNIVERSITY MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS (Formerly University Communications Through Advertising, Publications and Media Relations)


  • Purpose
  • Background
  • Policy
  • .....Staffing
  • .....Logos and Unit Identity
  • .....Social Media
  • .....Councils and Committees
  • .....The University Marketing Council
  • .....Philadelphia Branding Council
  • .....The Social Media Council
  • .....Health Communications Council
  • .....Research Communications Council
  • .....University Editor Representatives
  • Cross References


    The purpose of this policy is to establish the lines of responsibility for the University's branding, marketing, and communications efforts. It applies to all colleges, campuses and budgetary units of the University.


    Effective communications are central to the success of any enterprise, and Penn State is no exception. Whether it is through paid advertising, media relations, brochures and other printed publications, promotional videos, TV commercials, web pages, direct mail or other means, the consistent application of strategies to promote and protect the Penn State brand is of vital importance to the institution.

    The decentralized structure of University management creates dozens of administrative areas with communications needs, but this can also lead to conflicting and inconsistent messages about the University. Successful marketing strategies and communications efforts cannot ensue from isolated or ad hoc tactics. For the University to properly communicate with a consistent voice, it is essential that the communications activities of Penn State be coordinated through one central office.


    It is the policy of the Pennsylvania State University that the development and application of marketing and communications strategies across the breadth of the University rest with the Office of the Vice President for University Relations.

    The Office of the Vice President for University Relations is charged with oversight for the development of marketing and communications strategies, and for coordinating the external communications activities of the entire University. No marketing consultants, marketing research firms, social media consultants, advertising agencies or graphic design firms may be hired without the prior approval from the Office of the Vice President for University Relations.

    All external communications activities of the University will be coordinated through, and approved by, the Office of the Vice President for University Relations. These activities will include, but not be limited to:


    The hiring of staff responsible for marketing, publications or media relations will be done in consultation with the Office of the Vice President for University Relations. The Vice President for University Relations, or his/her designee, will participate in the interview of the final candidates for such positions.


    Individual unit logos not part of the graphic identity system are generally not permitted. Exceptions and special needs for unit identity will be handled by the Office of the Vice President for University Relations.


    The Office of the Vice President for University Relations will monitor and coordinate the use of Social Media by all University units. Guidelines for the use of Social Media are available from University Relations that discuss best practices to use these forums effectively, protect the University’s reputation, enhance the University’s image, and to help units and staff follow University policies.



    To facilitate the integration of marketing activities across the University, the University Marketing Council will include representatives from Intercollegiate Athletics, Enrollment Management, Outreach, the Alumni Association, Hershey Medical Center, a campus location, and an academic college. The council is convened and chaired by the Associate Vice President for University Relations.


    The Philadelphia Branding Council will serve to coordinate the marketing and branding of Penn State in the Philadelphia area. It will include representatives from Penn State Abington, Brandywine, and Great Valley campuses, the Philadelphia Recruitment Center, University Outreach, Undergraduate Admissions, the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and the Smeal College Executive program in Philadelphia.


    University Relations will convene a council of those units with a large social media presence. The Council will discuss coordination of effort and the maximization of audience use of the most popular social media.

    The Council will not only explore new technologies but also will look at ways to help effectively integrate social media platforms across the University as a way to protect, manage and strengthen the Penn State brand.


    The University Health Communications Council exists to enhance Penn State's reputation in medicine and biomedical science through effective cross-collaboration among the communications offices of Penn State's various health and life sciences colleges and campuses.

    The Council also strives to increase awareness of Penn State managed health services available to members of the Penn State community and the public at large.

    Health Communications Council membership includes representatives from the Colleges of Medicine, Health and Human Development, The School of Nursing, University Health Services, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, University Relations and the University's Research Communications Office.


    The Research Communications Council is formed to achieve a coordinated approach to communicating information about Penn State’s research enterprise. The council brings together communicators who represent major research units to achieve more national and international visibility for the University's research and creative activities.


    The University Editor Representatives group are the contacts within each unit used to disseminate changes to the visual and editorial style of University.


    Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

    AD03 - Conducting Educational Programs Using the Name of the University,

    AD07 - Use of University Name, Symbols and/or Graphic Devices, and

    AD08 - Purchase of Advertising

    AD25 - Video Productions (Formerly Audio/Visual Productions for Public Relations and Information Purposes)

    AD54 - Web Page Design and Image

    Effective Date: June 8, 2011
    Date Approved: June 6, 2011
    Date Published: June 8, 2011

    Most recent changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

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