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‘A perfect example of cross-sector collaboration’

Concordia snags gold – to Harvard's silver – for best practices in communications and marketing at the CASE District 1 Awards

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The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District 1 has awarded one of its top prizes to Concordia. 

The university received the 2016 Gold Award for Best Practices in Communications and Marketing for its publicity campaign surrounding the Webster Library Transformation Project. The honour is one of seven in the district's platinum categories, which recognize the best programs and practices in educational advancement.

Harvard University received silver and the University of Massachusetts Lowell received bronze.

University librarian Guylaine Beaudry says it was vital to relay the significance of the ongoing renovation and to make sure users and the community were well informed about its progress.  

“There are a lot of people to thank for this, at University Communications Services (UCS), the Digital Store, Facilities Management and the Libraries,” she says. “Everyone was on board with the vision for the campaign and worked tirelessly to make sure that all the elements were in place to maximize its positive impact.”

Philippe Beauregard, chief communications officer, says a construction project taking place in a library presents its own unique set of problems, which made it essential to put in place a comprehensive communications plan.

And, what inspired him most was a conference held in Montréal in fall 2014. Quel chantier! Le design au secours des grands chantiers urbains gathered nearly 300 attendees, including 22 speakers from Asia, the United States, Europe and elsewhere in Canada to explore innovative solutions to challenges posed by urban construction sites.

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Organized by le Bureau du design de la Ville de Montréal in collaboration with the Cité du design de Saint-Étienne in France, the event helped Beauregard conceive of the library transformation as an opportunity to explore the intersection of construction projects, visual design and communications. “The renovations meant that students would experience disruptions and noise during the transformation,” he says. “Our challenge was to find a way to ensure that anyone who interacted with the library was aware of upcoming disruptions, of alternative study spaces as well as the project’s benefits.”

From the beginning, UCS collaborated with Concordia’s libraries on a strategy that focused attention on the vision behind the renovations: to transform the space into a next-generation library. 

The campaign included creating an identity for the Webster Library Transformation Project, surrounding the work site with colourful and informative signage and displays, publishing a dedicated blog to inform the university community of progress, engaging students in providing feedback and input, and disseminating information through existing campus channels, speaking events and the external media.  

Beaudry says the visuals, inside and outside, created a strong awareness around the benefits of the new space for students, which was supported by regular coverage across the university’s communications channels. “The blog and the constant presence in the university’s online newsletter, sent out to staff, faculty and students, maintained momentum and, most importantly, the Libraries received literally only a handful of complaints!”

Ultimately, Beauregard says, the successful marketing and communications campaign wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of staff and faculty from different departments at the university. “This was truly a perfect example of cross-sector collaboration.” 

Visit the Webster Library Transformation Blog to find out more about the ongoing renovation project. 

 



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