This project was such a pleasure to produce. Our goal was to work with a student poet to fuse together their experience with words from iconic OHIO songs in a message of gratitude for alumni support. What resulted was beyond my expectations, thanks in large part to the tremendous talent of our subject and writer Yaphet Jackman.
Through audio challenges, script drafting, equipment limitations and a tight timeline, my small team was able to achieve our mission under budget without compromising quality. The piece was received with high praise by alumni across the globe, which prompted a screening during the Ohio University Board of Trustees meeting by special request from the University President Roderick McDavis.
Role call: Words and performance by Yaphet Jackman. Storyboard, production, and art direction by Hailee Tavoian. Editing and assistant production by Jarrett Lehman. Concept development by Jennifer Bowie and Hailee Tavoian.
“Hailee is a multifaceted titan with a humble heart of gold. My time with her has shown me her great attention to detail, reservoir of patience and her ability to remain calm and focused in high stress situations. Her kind spirit is an asset as a team player and leader.”
Online retail sales have exploded over the past decade, causing brands with primarily brick and mortar establishments to adapt in order to remain competitive. Our goal for The Bobcat Store was to conduct robust audience research to inform the development of a new logo, style guide and marketing strategy that balanced customer needs with store goals.
My small team analyzed website traffic, sales numbers, email response rates and social media engagement, and combed through peer and competitor online retail websites to complete a thematic analysis of existing brand overlap and niche insights. Using the existing data as a benchmark, we then collected audience feedback through a combination of in-depth interviews and customer surveys. Questions focused mainly on consumer behaviors, website functionality, website personality, and purchasing preferences.
Armed with the meaningful audience research conducted during discovery, my art director and I set to work developing The Bobcat Store Audience Research and Analysis Report, which contained all data collected, as well as a comprehensive thematic analysis and specific, actionable strategies for the new brand.
In addition to the final report, deliverables included a new logo, style guide, website with new product photography and content on every page, brand positioning statement and adjectives, and design templates for email, social media, print advertising, and packaging.
Role call: Audience research, analysis, strategy and brand development by Hailee Tavoian and Kailee Slusser. Visual brand, logo, photography and web design by Kailee Slusser. Website build by Neil Mohr. Brand deployment by Kate Robey, Michele Frick and Kyle Lindner.
College students’ social lives, academic trajectory and well-being were enormously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. When planning for a safe return to campus, among the greatest concerns for Ohio University administration was student adherence to public health and safety guidelines.
Armed with my previous experience with alcohol and sexual health education, I led a cross-team collaboration to develop a variety of content across various channels with the goal of normalizing safety practices. I was deliberate in adding a bit of whimsy and humor that have proven successful with safe sex campaigns.
Content variations were used across all channels – in-person posters, banners, digital screens, student newspaper print edition and website advertisements, and of course, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. What resulted was highest rates of engagement compared to other previously shared public health and safety direction, as well as some chatter across influencer channels and peer institutions about the cheekiness of the campaign. Our goal of garnering attention and generating peer-to-peer dialogue about the issues was achieved.
In addition to the one-liner attention grabbing content, we followed up with our email and social media audiences with student dialogue videos (both short- and long-form) that featured user-generated quality student zoom conversations about issues of health and safety on and off campus.
As many professionals experienced during the pandemic, this project was something I never thought I would do, but I feel a high level of satisfaction with the result. I was reminded of how quality work is achieved in a high pressure environment – with confidence in your team members and a level head – one step at a time.
Role call: Design by Nicole Lovins. Writing, video and art direction by Hailee Tavoian. Social media deployment by Alexandria Polanosky and Steph Fiorelli. Creative consultation by Kailee Slusser and Aaron Harden.
College campuses surge with activism and dialogue when national issues of the day arise, and Ohio University is no exception. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, unrest regarding race, gender, and war shook the small college town in the Appalachian foothills. This tumult, a microcosm of American society at the time, spurred dramatic change toward inclusivity and altered the lives of OHIO students then and today.
This era of disruption and growth was of particular interest to two-time OHIO graduate Frank Robinson, MA ’93, PHD ’00, whose dissertation explored issues facing women at OHIO in the 1960s-70s by interviewing 38 individuals who lived them.
Today, 50 years since their experiences on campus and 20 years since Robinson’s interviews, three of his subjects—all of whom played unique roles in the feminist movement at OHIO—reflected on the still unfinished arc of women’s progress.
“We thought when we opened the door it would all work out, but we underestimated how deep the resentment is toward strong women,” says Beverly Jones, BSJ ’69, MBA ’75, the first female admitted to OHIO’s MBA program. “There are still a lot of men who don’t like to see women succeed, and in some cases the women in their lives feel the same way.”
During the late ’60s, gendered rules of conduct on campus were barriers for equal treatment. For instance, there were curfew hours and dress codes, and women were permitted to smoke only so long as they remained seated. Of course, none of these rules applied to men.
“The standards were so different for men and women, and no one questioned it,” Anne Goff, BA ’69, MED ’71, recalled with Robinson in 1998. “It was silly, but I don’t remember being too enraged over it.”
En Loco Parentus, the idea that the University act in the place of parents to protect its students, was accepted at the time. Jones suggested that it was OHIO’s intent to prepare young women for the pressure they would be under in the workforce.
“These rules for behavior were very common in adult life,” Jones says. “Women had to have a certain level of polish in order to even get into the room, and employers were looking for someone who knew how to be a lady.”
Change was imminent, however. Jones and Goff founded the Women’s Information Group (WIG), which gathered young women who had almost no female role models in positions of leadership on campus, to discuss women’s issues.
While women across campus eagerly joined to civilly dialogue about books and theories, the assembly seemed to make some men on campus uneasy.
“They would look at us as a guerilla group; it amused us terrifically,” Jones remembered in 1998. “I knew there were guys waking up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘Oh my God, what are these women going to do?’ It was all bluff really—but perception is reality. We recognized it as a tool we could use to get something symbolic done fast.”
Jones sought change at the highest levels of the administration, eventually publishing at President Sowle’s request the Report on the Status of Women at Ohio University, 1972, which documented many of the inequalities of the time and influenced significant changes on campus: increased funding for women’s athletics, re-admittance of women to the marching band, and changes in attitude toward women students, faculty, and staff.
Today, President M. Duane Nellis has formed the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, which began meeting this fall, to ensure that gender diversity and women’s issues remain at the forefront of the University’s mission.
Susan Reimer, BSJ ’73, covered all sides of women’s issues as a writer for The Post. When she started her career as a sports writer just as women were first allowed to conduct interviews in the locker room, she found her own tactics for breaking through that industry’s gender barriers.
“Clothing is camouflage,” Reimer says. “[In my role], the players resented our being there; so, I dressed like a boy. That way I could be mistaken for just another guy or at least it would be clear that there was no chance that I was there to flirt.”
All women engaged with the feminist movement differently. Some found the companionship and support of likeminded women overruled feelings of insecurity or fear. Others were simply wired for the resiliency that the spirit of feminism demands.
“I’ve always felt like I belonged, like I deserved a seat at the table,” Reimer says. “I’ve lived with my elbows out, and I never allowed a feeling of second-class citizenship to permeate me.”
Yet today, as these three OHIO women reflect on half a century of progress and setbacks, the importance of unity and support remains clear.
“When we started reaching out to others [to form WIG], it was transformational,” says Goff. “You have to find a collection of people that will understand where you are coming from and have your back.”
The article above was received with high praise cross-generationally.
From my experience with this project I learned the back-end preparation and technical aspects of podcast production during our collaboration with the National Press Club to record the audio interview, and the complexities of adapting story format for various mediums. It was a challenge to take on such a robust topic with many facets and opportunities and develop a meaningful narrative using only a fraction of the information gathered.
On a personal note, it was my sincere pleasure to speak with and learn from the lives of these remarkable women who have laid a foundation for my generation of journalists and activists to build upon.
Role call: Story by Hailee Tavoian. Content development and audio interview by Kelee Riesbeck. Editing and preliminary research by Pete Schooner. Photos courtesy of Ohio University Archives and Photo by Susana Raab.
Communication fatigue is a real challenge for anyone aiming to connect with college students. My team undertook an 18-month project to measure online engagement across all student affairs social channels in order to effectively streamline and strategize future messaging.
Discovery included a situational analysis of social media channels, metrics, audiences and generational uses of each platform. My team reviewed university, division and individual departmental priorities, as well as peer institution channels. Through longitudinal social listening and thematic analysis of the available data, we developed a consolidation strategy and implementation plan to reduce 72 channels down to a strong thirteen.
Each remaining channel was provided a brand positioning statement and adjectives, and design templates for stories, posts and advertising.
This project reminded me of the importance of patience during a hard slog. This type of work is often skimmed over, fast-tracked by skipping important steps, or improperly documented for the sake of time, ego or lack of by-in from leadership given the resources it requires to do it right.
I was very fortunate to have a solid team running day-to-day social logistics in addition to my strategy and analytics crew. Both are essential to properly assessing the space you want to occupy and measuring a channel’s potential for growth. Assessment takes time and resources, but it is well worth it if you hope to establish a following with any kind of longevity.
Role call: Audience research, analysis, and consolidation strategy by Steph Fiorelli, Amanda Moline and Hailee Tavoian. Student social media interns: Haley Bender, Hannah Browsky, Allan Dalton, Sami Morsink, Anna Wise.
Elusive behaviors of transient customers frequently leave marketers and the businesses they serve scratching their heads. This is why business owners often stick to targeting marketing efforts toward the most engaged customer. After all, that is the personality type you know the best. In many industries 80% of sales come from 20% of your audience. For some, this is enough. But not for me.
I want to know how that momentary customer found us, what they thought of the product and their experience, and why they haven’t been back since. Through effective research and the establishment of audience personas, businesses can understand the complexities of their customer base, and expand their reach into secondary audiences, all while continuing to keep that 20% “in the tent” base happy.
The visuals below showcase one of six personas developed for the OHIO Alumni Association. In partnership with Ologie, our team conducted pioneering, robust, qualitative and quantitative research to section and articulate audience groups, as well as identify attitudinal and behavioral elaboration likelihood for each type.
What resulted was a greater understanding about primary and secondary audiences, as well as actionable marketing and programatic formulas for more effective segmentation and measurable engagement.
Final deliverables for the project include six audience personas with robust trait analysis, key characteristics, statistics, lifestyle and online behavioral preferences, propensity for engagement and giving, and corresponding opportunities, roadblocks, sample engagement scenarios, journey mapping and conversion pipelines.
The project has been used to inform future strategy and brand evolution, and enables more deliberate content development with greater audience awareness.
From the experience I learned to collaborate effectively with agency partners, as neither of us had undertaken this type of project or something to this scale before. It is unique to be on the cusp of applying what you know to be marketing best practice to an industry like higher education.
It was a project that took a great deal of time and energy, and much of the work is unseen (as strategy work often is). I was fortunate to have such a professional, energetic team of creative professionals to work with, and in the end the visualization and final report made all the difference to administrative buy-in and support of our efforts.
Role call: Audience Research conducted by Ologie, Jennifer Bowie, Hailee Tavoian. Synthesis, Content Development and Segmentation Strategy by Hailee Tavoian, Kailee Slusser, Jennifer Bowie. Original Illustrations developed in-house by Kyle Lindner.