U of T Communications recognized by CASE for innovative communications during the pandemic
University of Toronto Communications (UTC) has been awarded gold in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) Circle of Excellence Awards for its UTogether communications strategy during the pandemic.
UTogether2020: building U of T’s “caring community” was recognized in the newly created “pivot” category, which invited institutions to showcase how they pivoted to address challenges and opportunities related to the pandemic.
“When the pandemic struck, the university recognized that we needed to engage with our community more than ever before,” said David Estok, U of T’s vice-president of communications. “We needed to go beyond keeping them informed about the rapidly evolving situation. We needed to help them feel more connected – even as they were told to stay apart – and showcase their compassion and resilience.
“I’m proud of the work of the UTC team. Under challenging circumstances, they developed a comprehensive communications strategy that was creative and highly effective.”
The strategy focused on richer, deeper storytelling, including a new online hub hosting the most up-to-date information, a video series, COVID-focused newsletters, the publication of hundreds of news stories and the creation of two popular podcast series.To emphasize caring and compassion, the branding for UTogether features the letter T hugging the letter U.
“The outcomes of this campaign were very impressive, as uniting campuses and students at large institutions is always quite a challenge,” the CASE judges wrote. “This was a lot of work, but had good results – especially considering the small budget.
“The new logo was very clever and sweet, speaking to the campaign’s desire to unite so many students in the institution, and the video about the efficacy of the campaign was exciting and high-energy.”
The gold is the latest in a record-setting number of awards for UTC this year, including 26 honours from CASE. In June, UTC received two silver Circle of Excellence awards for University of Toronto Magazine articles. And in January, UTC took home 23 prizes in CASE’s District II competition, including three “grand golds” – the highest level of recognition – seven golds, six silvers, five bronzes, as well as an honourable mention and a finalist position in platinum or “best in” categories.