Posted at 5 p.m. Feb. 6, 2017
Public relations undergoes revamp
Within the past couple of months, the Laramie County Community College Public Relations Department has had to undergo some changes that could affect on the campus as a whole.
Last year, this department went through a marketing audit that “evaluated the work we do for the college and how we serve the college,” Lisa Trimble said. Trimble is the interim associate vice president of Institutional Advancement at LCCC.
During this process, the department worked with Interact Communication to improve their overall marketing strategy.
In the past, the department did a lot of work internally, “which is great and so important but we realized we needed to focus more on working externally as well,” Lisa Murphy said. Murphy is the advanced planner and event coordinator for the department. Previously she was the vice president of the foundation, and facilitated the reorganization of public relations.
“We needed to do more research on strategic marketing,” Murphy said. Interact Communication conducted a survey at LCCC last year that got a response from about 600 students. This survey looked at trends in students’ interests such as music or social media.
“It was impressive to see what media the students look at and where they get their information from,” Murphy said.
This audit focused on how to enhance the service that the department provides to the college through recruitment and retention. “Part of that evaluation was to encourage us to focus and target our efforts into promoting the college as a whole collectively and all we have to offer,” Trimble said.
During the 2010-2011 school year, enrollment was at a high of 4,398 students. With enrollment from the 2015-2016 school year being at 3,465 students, the department noticed the need to focus on student enrollment and how make sure students are informed of what LCCC has to offer. The feedback helped public relations figure out how to help students “get good solid information from start to finish,” Murphy said.
The new structure of the department will include Internal Communications and Printing, and Strategic Communications and Marketing.
Internal Communications and Printing will be in charge of graphic design, content management and print services. This group will work strictly with the LCCC community in promoting certain college departments and programs.
The Strategic Communications and Marketing side will oversee recruitment and retention, community relations and outreach, and support financial efforts to bring money to the institution. The mission of this team is to promote, enhance and protect the image of LCCC.
As part of the audit, the department worked on how its staff could be utilized to meet the recommendations from Interact Communications with fewer staff.
“Some individuals wore one hat in the past, but now they are wearing many hats,” Murphy said. “That is what makes the public relations and marketing department interesting because now we have broadened the job descriptions where everyone is creative and helping out one another.”
In the department, employees used to do one task but now they all do a little bit of everything. “Everyone is now more of a team,” Murphy said.
Along with the audit, the department also had to reorganize because of the recent changes with the budget.
“We unfortunately had to make some tough decisions,” Trimble said. “With the loss of three people in our department, we had to go through reorganization and restructure.”
This department used to be the largest of all seven public relations departments within the community colleges across the state of Wyoming.
Now with it being smaller, “this is also an opportunity to allow the campus to do some of the tasks they relied on the PR department for in the past,” Trimble said.
In the past, the department made flyers for student group organizations or fundraisers. They also made templates to promote a specific class within a program that isn’t yet offered or promote a smaller program that fits into their integrated marketing plan. Now, “with fewer people, it just becomes a little bit harder to do everything for everybody,” Trimble said.
As far as changes around the campus, “if our goals go as planned and are achieved, then yes, you will be able to see changes,” Murphy said.
This department is still here to provide services for the campus and the college but with the reorganization, another change will be who to contact for certain projects.
Troy Rumpf will be the point of contact for the Strategic Communications and Marketing team. Stacy Shultz-Bisset will handle the Internal Communications and Printing team.
“Not only are we helping to bring students in to enroll with LCCC but to stay, to persist through their programs, and to graduate,” Trimble said.