Audience Centered Communication
Building Deeper Understanding, Awareness and Trust: Brown University Division of Biology and Medicine
The Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University is comprised of the Alpert Medical School, the Public Health Program and the Program in Biology (which includes study at the undergraduate and graduate levels). It is home to five basic biology departments and fifteen clinical departments and is affiliated with seven diverse teaching hospitals in and around Providence, Rhode Island. Its mission is to understand and improve the health of individuals, populations and the environments in which they live.
The annual U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities is a critical influencer of public perception. Every university in the United States is focused on increasing its ranking in order to attract the best students and maintain its reputation in the academic community. Brown University’s Division of Biology and Medicine is no exception. Regardless of Brown University’s prestige and Ivy League status, the Division of Biology and Medicine was challenged with telling its story in a way that coherently described its full scope, while highlighting its prestigious status and creating a clear differentiation within academia.
- Focus the message on the Division’s top-notch, global talent producing their innovative research
- Present stories that highlight the broad scope of their cutting-edge research, diversity and impact in their various communities through the lens of one single day
- Incorporate multi-level content hierarchy to increase content accessibility and filtering for diverse audiences
- Design to convey prestige and importance through larger size Annual Report, custom full-bleed images and a greater number of stories
- Re-design the Annual Report to be relevant and impactful across all core audiences:
- Deans within the academic community who contribute to the U.S. News and World Report annual rankings
- Local politicians
- Local community
Differentiating the division
The Division of Biology and Medicine comprises three distinct yet interrelated entities: Brown’s Alpert Medical School, the Program in Biology and the Public Health Program. The connection of these programs, and the collaboration between students and faculty to understand and improve the health of individuals and populations, sets the Division apart. We re-designed the Annual Report to highlight that collaboration, and the resulting cutting-edge research, in each of these programs.
A typical day in BioMed
The 2010-2011 Annual Report is centered around telling the story of ”a day in the life sciences” from the perspective of the physicians, researchers and public health faculty who work to improve the nation’s health. The pages within tell a story of how every day is different, extraordinary and rich with inquiry and discovery.
No such thing as business as usual
To focus the message on the Division’s top-notch, global talent producing innovative research, the Annual Report covers a wide range of topics pertinent to each of the Division’s entities—from “Taking Aim at Cancer,” “Improving the Long-Term Care System,” “The Autism Mystery,” “Care at the End of Life,” “Approaches to Global Health” and more. Sidebars provided additional opportunity to accent the larger stories and impart a sense of breadth and depth within the Division.
Meet the people
The Annual Report was designed with very specific goals in mind. It needed to represent the high profile status of the university, while also conveying the warmth, personality and talent of their faculty. To create a more personal connection with audiences, only custom images were used throughout the Annual Report. Every image location was scouted in advance based on lighting, accessibility and correct context for the subject. Every shot was art-directed to create a feeling or mood that would have a personal impact for the audience and compliment the text. The larger size (9”x12”) of the annual and the use of full-bleed images conveyed prestige through sheer physical presence.
Relevant to core audiences
A final section of the Annual Report provides stats about the make-up of each program, offering the deans of other institutions, local politicians, and the community an “At A Glance” view of the Division. Additional stats included faculty and student totals and other demographics. By providing specific content relevant to each audience, and presenting it in a clear, accessible way, the Annual Report reinforced its central role in the larger community.
“In a time when many organizations had stopped doing annual reports or were doing them online, Brown’s Division of Biology and Medicine started doing one. Why? Because a well-conceived book, with stunning photography and real people, tells a story—the story you want to tell the public about your organization. We worked with Orange Square to refine our messaging, and their superb art direction and design savvy pulled it all into a beautiful package. It was no surprise when it was awarded a Silver medal from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in its Excellence Awards competition.”