The Vice President for Global Marketing and Communications is responsible for advising Northwestern’s President, senior management, and Board of Trustees on top-level communications and for driving the University’s global marketing and branding strategy.
The Vice President is responsible for developing global marketing and communications strategy for the university, and advancing and protecting the reputation of the university, both proactively and reactively. S/he coordinates all crisis and emergency communications efforts and manages the university spokesperson. The leader will be a highly experienced senior executive who is passionate about the university and its mission. S/he will manage, lead, and inspire the Office of Global Marketing and Communications (OGMC) team, in addition to matrixed resources, including communications and marketing officers in various schools and units to communicate effectively across a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders, using a broad range of traditional and social media. The successful candidate will collaborate with the other members of the cabinet to advance the goals of Northwestern University.
The Office of Global Marketing and Communications is a newly combined team of 70 professional and support staff. They include designers and digital developers who integrate strategies for telling Northwestern’s story and strengthen awareness of Northwestern’s excellence across its core audiences. This includes development, integration, and implementation of: Marketing Strategy, Creative, Digital and Social Media, Publications, Northwestern Magazine, Media Relations and International Communications, Brand Tools and Assets, on a global level. The team will be tasked with promoting faculty research through press releases, video, and other outlets; managing the design and implementation of northwestern.edu; overseeing Northwestern University’s social media presence; managing the Northwestern brand program; and providing communications assistance and support for web design, messaging, events, video, photography, media training, and related activities. The Vice President will play a key role in crisis communications strategy and will prepare for a diverse spectrum of potential communications scenarios.
This leader will ensure that all delivery mechanisms for the university’s brand, both traditional and new/emerging, are aligned, synchronized and consistent in messaging and voice. The focus will be around creating and bringing to life clear, consistent and compelling brand messages while creating integrated, targeted marketing campaigns that drive stakeholder loyalty and engagement. The Vice President advises the president on how best to develop, refine, and disseminate messages about the university’s key initiatives. Working closely with staff in the Office of the President, s/he will provide strategic direction for a coordinated suite of presidential communications, including speeches, opinion pieces, media appearances, and campus communications.
The Vice President must be committed to the mission of Northwestern University, understand the unique university culture, embrace its values, and be dedicated to its brand and advancement. S/he will be responsible for helping to create, carefully tune, and communicate messages to its global internal and external stakeholder base.
Critical operating relationships include the Chair of the Board of Trustees, President, Provost, Senior Vice President for Business and Finance, Vice President and General Counsel, Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development, Vice President for Athletics and Recreation, Vice President, IT, Deans of all 12 schools, Research center directors, Associate Provost for University Enrollment.
Key responsibilities include:
Guide the development and implementation for global marketing, branding and communications strategies by leading a newly-integrated 70-person office.
Refine and continue developing Northwestern’s overarching strategic marketing and communications plan, including a compelling positioning and media relations strategy, taking advantage of print and digital mediums, marketing, advertising, and press relations efforts to increase the visibility, understanding of, and support for Northwestern University.
Create and implement an ongoing reputational analysis program, and establish the means for measuring the overall success of communications initiatives.
Managing the marketing budget; ensuring appropriate marketing investment level based on university objectives; continuously improving effectiveness and the ROI of marketing investments.
Maintaining awareness of best-in-class marketing strategies; implementing best practices which are aligned with the university’s goals.
Demonstrating commercial acumen and an ability to build, evaluate and maintain relationships with key strategic clients (e.g., media partners, agencies and marketing technology providers).
Manage the official university spokesperson to media, and serve as spokesperson when appropriate.
Collaborate with international stakeholders throughout Northwestern’s campuses in Chicago, Evanston and Doha, Qatar, as well as site stakeholders in San Francisco, New York City, Washington, DC and Miami.
Be a key member of the university's crisis management and emergency response team. S/he will oversee a state-of-the-art crisis and emergency communications effort, including digital and social media monitoring to ensure a proactive and effective response to unforeseen scenarios.
Promote widespread recognition of Northwestern’s contributions to the world. Develop proactive initiatives that are designed to advance and elevate Northwestern’s standing, prestige, and reputation.
Identify a core messaging and branding strategy for the university which leverages and emphasizes Northwestern’s unique strengths and excellent academic programs, differentiating the organization from institutional peers; and convey comprehensive and cohesive messages related to the university's strategic initiatives.
Build upon the current internal communications foundation across the Northwestern community, with particular focus and sensitivity to students, faculty, and staff. Manage and coordinate the university's internal communications policy, major announcements, and practice changes, with a focus on education and engagement of the campus community.
Build robust, positive, and collaborative working relationships with various constituencies, including 300+ communications personnel across the university, to ensure consistency of communications. Ensure that OGMC is seen as a collaborative partner able to address opportunities and concerns, and an office whose opinion on all marketing, branding, and communication matters is valued.
Align the current array of messaging, communication activities, and brand identity for greater impact and consistent messaging across all channels; ensure the appropriate direction and coordination of key communications that reflect the highest degree of quality, consistency, integrity, and effectiveness.
Demonstrate extraordinary leadership, strategic vision, innovation, creative energy, collaborative spirit and proven skills for conveying both internal and external messages.
Develop and enhance the OGMC team's capabilities, especially in marketing, branding, and strategic communications.
Create aligned and proactive media relations and internal communications programs that deliver consistent messages; develop an outreach strategy to disseminate information, research, culture, and institutional values to targeted audiences, including internal constituencies, prospective students, alumni, the general public, donors, and others.
In support of Northwestern’s strategic initiatives, work collaboratively with the Office of Diversity to promote inclusiveness on issues of diversity.
Proactively promote members of the faculty in the media (e.g., publicize their research and connect them to relevant media and think tanks as experts and leaders in their field).
Supervise 225,000-circulation alumni magazine and alumni e-newsletter.
Assist in community relations efforts.
YEAR ONE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
Continue to build and implement an overarching marketing and communication strategy that creates clear, compelling, and consistent messages about the university and its mission, its resources/assets, and its leadership.
Continue the function’s efforts in aligning global marketing programs and brand efforts across the university.
Increase awareness of Northwestern University’s reputation, raising the brand and image on a global level, with measurable results.
Establishing positive working relationships with the faculty and administration to understand core assets and to be an active contributor in the long-range strategic planning process. Earning trust.
Building and better leveraging internal communications to inform and inspire employees as well as deploying new tools such as social media for greater impact.
Creating a strategy to best position the university in general, and the President in particular, as an innovator and leader among peers, and a wide array of global internal and external stakeholders. Build a successful working relationship with the Director of Presidential Communications to drive a proactive Presidential communications and thought leadership program.
The Vice President will be an experienced professional who understands that communication is more than a process of providing information: it is a critically important strategic function. Accordingly, this person must be a persuasive advocate for higher education and for the ideas, images, and approaches that best promote and enhance Northwestern’s outstanding reputation.
The ideal candidate will have served in the chief marketing and/or communications officer role, or held senior academic, organizational, or government roles such that s/he has the breadth of both strategic and leadership experience required to achieve critical success factors. S/he will be a strong and confident leader, with a minimum of 20 years of integrated marketing communications experience in a large, complex organization with a diverse stakeholder base. The Vice President will have a strategic viewpoint around managing a newly integrated team, to promote continued growth and development within the function.
Required professional experience and qualifications include:
Significant experience as a seasoned marketing and communications executive with expertise in marketing strategy and branding, emergency and crisis communications, and leadership in large, complex organizations, on a global level.
A demonstrated capacity to envision, develop, and implement a successful and comprehensive marketing and communications program across an organization with multiple constituencies and wide variety of audiences, ideally in higher education.
A thorough understanding of, and specific experience in, developing and implementing branding and strategic communications plans in both traditional and new media.
Extensive knowledge of higher education issues.
Experience in integration and change management efforts; A track record of creative and entrepreneurial management; the ability to build, lead, mentor, and motivate staff to function as a strong and collaborative team; the ability to support growth and change in both people and programs, provide direction, understand resource capability and successfully drive outcomes working with direct reports, dotted line, and / or internal or external resources.
Experience providing strategic communications counsel to senior leadership.
Superb organizational and written/verbal communications skills, and demonstrated experience in managing communications during crisis situations.
Exceptional judgment, a reputation for integrity and discretion, and the ability to think strategically and deliver tactically.
Highly experienced at using data and logic to inform decisions and strategies.
Strategic Orientation: Experienced at defining strategic roadmaps and architectures across a portfolio of brands.
Collaboration and Influencing: Demonstrated high-level of capability in building strong multi-functional and cross-organization relationships that are the enabler for getting things done.
Results Orientation: Demonstrated ability to grow iconic brands through executing marketing plans that have consistently delivered above category performance levels.
Visionary Leadership: Articulate and inspire visions and planned outcomes and then taking an organization through the journey.
Northwestern University seeks candidates with superlative interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to work well with a diverse range of stakeholders at all levels of an organization. Candidates must have strong personal integrity and work ethic; demonstrate equanimity and humor; be flexible and adaptable; and possess the self-assurance and confidence needed to inspire trust and gain acceptance in an established organization. Candidates should be personally well-grounded and steady under pressure, responsive, and highly professional.
Candidates may be employed in any of the following professional environments:
The successful candidate must possess a B.A. or a B.S. An advanced degree is preferred.
To be considered for this position, please click apply and follow the steps to submit an application. After submitting your application, all interested parties should also contact Peter McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org. Korn Ferry has been engaged as our search partner for this position.
As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check. Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.
Internal Number: 33421
About Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.