Fulfilling a Mission-Critical Need
The UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate is a joint center of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and School of Law. It develops and manages all of the University’s activities surrounding the topic of real estate. Its goals are to advance thought leadership in the field by generating influential research, to educate the next generation of business leaders and social entrepreneurs, and to provide forums for industry professionals and policymakers.
The Ziman Center had been established for a few years and had completed its initial funding through the creation of a founding board of philanthropic real estate leaders. It was about to embark on a plan to greatly increase its activities and visibility, and to build a sustaining board through new fundraising. However, it had no marketing plan or collateral other than a logo based on UCLA’s style guidelines, a basic stationery design, and a very small, disorganized constituent database. It needed a full-scale marketing plan to drive its growth.
We used the Center’s few existing assets as a starting point to develop and implement a strategic, fully-integrated plan for marketing, communications, and branding across all channels.
- We created a distinct visual identity for all of the Center’s marketing, including multiple logos and color palettes.
- We produced a 20-page brochure that educated a diverse audience of students, faculty, alumni, donors, and industry professionals on the mission of the Center.
- We engaged this network of constituents by developing a new website that served as a news, events, research, and community hub.
- We leveraged in-house staff, freelancers, and student and faculty contributors to develop ongoing content for the website, and to lay groundwork for the rollout of a blog and social media channels.
- We extended the website’s content and messaging into an e-newsletter, research briefs, email blasts, presentation templates, and promotional products.
- We oversaw the selection of a new constituent relationship management (CRM) system and managed the migration of data into it.
- We executed every initiative within the tight constraints of University budgets, policies and branding guidelines.
Our work from the ground up on the Ziman Center’s marketing had a positive impact on virtually all of its activities, both in the long-term and the day-to-day. For example, its constituency rapidly grew from 1500 to 6000 people, with a significant portion of them very actively engaged. This in turn helped drive fundraising and board development, leading to over $1M in new gifts in two years. Additionally, media coverage of the Center’s faculty, research and major events grew from virtually none to several mentions monthly in less than a year. By improving its marketing, the Center became better equipped to fulfill its mission to address the most critical real estate challenges facing our society today and in the future.