NIU’s Division of Marketing and Communications has ended its chargeback system for labor.
“We heard pretty loud and clear from a lot of the Program Prioritization narratives that our chargeback system was a barrier to working with our creative team,” says Abby Dean, senior director for University Marketing & Creative Services. “We wanted to take away any obstacles to provide better access to the talents and expertise of our professionals.”
Jeannine East, a member of the Creative Services team, will serve as a liaison between clients and Marketing & Communications staff. East, a certified Project Management Professional, also will oversee creative jobs to make sure that compelling materials are created efficiently and effectively.
“She will be pulling it all together, whether it’s a print piece, video or photography,” Dean says. “She is the intermediary between our clients in assessing their needs and bringing that to our team, where we can brainstorm how to best achieve the goals the clients want and to consider all of the communication channels at our disposal.”
Clients should know that production costs – such as printing for a brochure – may or may not fall under that new policy, Dean says.
The discontinuation of chargebacks comes as two separate operations of the Division of Marketing and Communications merge and align resources to better promote the university to prospective students, their families and key stakeholders.
Dean, who had been overseeing the university’s marketing efforts, now oversees University Marketing & Creative Services. Jennice O’Brien, who previously led Creative Services, has been named senior director for Web & Internal Communications.
“Our focus in University Marketing for the past year has been on working to strengthen and support the university’s brand,” Dean says. “It made sense to combine these two areas to better align our division’s creative products in support of this effort.”
Dean, who now leads a staff that includes photographers, videographers and graphic designers, is already employing NIU’s process reengineering initiative to make Creative Services more efficient, a process that began before the reorganization.
She is similarly examining Brand Management, including the clearinghouse, which enables the division to review internal and external communications and marketing materials prior to distribution. The process ensures consistent brand and message integration and, when necessary, generates recommendations of appropriate distribution mechanisms – providing an opportunity for campus communicators to achieve greater exposure for their events and programs through many different communication channels, like mass emails, NIU Today and digital signage, to name a few.
“My goal, first and foremost, is to make sure that all of our processes are streamlined and that we’re maximizing our resources for the benefit of the university,” Dean says. “I want to make sure that we’re strategic, planful and purposeful when we’re thinking about communications, and that we’re helping all university communicators by providing more communication channels and tools like templates and examples. We’re excited by the opportunity to work with more university departments.”