Laurier recognized for marketing initiatives

MarCom Awards, an international competition for marketing and communication, recently awarded Wilfrid Laurier University 16 different awards within the 2012 competition. Eight of these awards were at the platinum level and the other eight at the gold level. Laurier was also given six honourable mentions.

Three of the platinum awards were given to the school’s recent “Inspiring Lives” campaign that has been used over the past year to rebrand Laurier and give it a new reputation. Two of the other platinum awards were for some of Laurier’s centennial initiatives, including a book by Andrew Thomson, a history professor at Laurier.

The majority of the gold awards were given to campus publications, such as the Inspiring Lives advertisements that were featured in the Globe and Mail.

“We were really excited and a little blown away,” said Jacqui Tam, assistant vice-president of communications, public affairs and marketing (CPAM). “[It] was a significant number [of awards].”

Tam went on to explain that it was the CPAM office that went through Laurier’s recent work and submitted it to the MarCom Awards competition.

“We really looked at the work that had been done over the past year around the new brand, as well as some of the centennial items,” she explained. “We selected the work that we thought was strong.”

CPAM knew about the awards because Laurier had won some in the 2011 competition, so they were asked by MarCom to once again submit material for this year’s competition.

While there are many other post-secondary institutions that submit to and win MarCom awards, it is an international competition that also recognizes world-class companies for their marketing and communication projects.

“You look at not just if you won, but the other institutions who have won,” Tam said. “So it allows Laurier to be seen on a stage by organizations that we wouldn’t necessarily deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

“So from an awareness and reputation perspective about the institution, it gives us another avenue to tell people about Laurier,” she continued.

CPAM selected a large amount of material from the “Inspiring Lives” campaign because it had been received so well within the Laurier community. Because people at Laurier expressed positive reactions towards the campaign, CPAM wanted to see if it could also compete on an international level.

Tam also explained to The Cord that she believes Laurier stood out from other submissions because of the compelling story the school’s marketing brand tells.

“[There’s] a story told in the Laurier materials about this institution and what kind of institution it is, the stories that are reflected in the various pieces are really very strong and tie directly to what this institution is all about,” she said.

Thomson, who wrote Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University, echoed Tam’s statement that Laurier has a unique story to tell.

“I was pleased,” he told The Cord. “The nature of the prize suggests that it did what I wanted it to do, it said ‘this is a good place with an interesting story.’”

His centennial book, which won one of the platinum awards, was in part inspired by his time spent at Laurier, which included both his undergraduate degree, and current teaching position.

“I hope that if something comes out of this whole thing [the awards], it is the resilience and the adaptability of the institution,” he concluded.

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