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Director of Brand Engagement and Creative Communications

University of Illinois Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

The Office for Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) is seeking a full-time Director of Brand Engagement and Creative Communications at the University of Illinois Chicago. SMC directs initiatives to elevate the profile and reputation of UIC, Chicago’s only public research university. 

The Director, Brand Engagement and Creative Communications (DBECC) is part of the Brand and Creative Communications team of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Marketing and Creative Communications (OVCSMC) and is charged with stewarding the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) brand to enhance, elevate, steward, amplify and protect the university's reputation, visibility and reach throughout the state, nationally and globally. Working collaboratively and influentially with UIC and UI Health, the Director serves as the creative lead/director for the UIC brand and is responsible for brand alignment, equity and activation and creative communications, including design, photography and video.

Reporting to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing, the Director will lead and build the brand and creative communications teams. The Director works across the entire university to help deliver, influence and manage a consistent brand vision and an on-brand constituent experience. The Director also works closely with external agencies, retail and licensing business partners, university partners including Advancement and Alumni Relations, Athletics, school- and unit-based communicators and marketers, as well as the entire Strategic Marketing and Communications team.

The Strategic Marketing and Communications team is a collaborative group that develops and executes strategies that inform, inspire and engage others to become part of UIC’s global academic and research mission. This role values a team of teams approach and is a systems thinker who can motivate and positively influence others to curate a content strategy anchored in advancing university and priorities and to promote engagement of core audiences.

About UIC

Located in one of the world’s greatest cities, the University of Illinois Chicago is Chicago’s largest university and only public research institution. Its 16 academic colleges serve nearly 34,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UIC is recognized as one of the most ethnically rich and culturally diverse campuses in the nation, a leader in providing access to underrepresented students. UIC serves over 34,000 students, comprising one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation and is designated as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPSI) and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

Around 80% of undergraduates receive financial assistance. With one of the largest colleges of medicine in the nation, and colleges of dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, social work, and applied health sciences, UIC is the state’s principal educator of health professionals and a major healthcare provider to underserved communities. UIC students become professionals in fields ranging from business and engineering to education, liberal arts and sciences, urban planning, law and social work, as well as architecture, design and the arts. UIC is an integral part of the educational, technological, and cultural fabric of Chicago.

UIC is among the nation’s preeminent urban public research universities, a Carnegie RU/VH research institution, and the largest university in Chicago. Recent “Best Colleges” rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, found UIC climbed up in its rankings among top public schools in the nation and among all national universities. The UIC campus is located just west of Chicago’s loop, integrated into historic residential neighborhoods and the urban environment.

Job Responsibilities

  • Elevate, curate and steward the UIC brand identity, through the creation and maintenance of a branding style guide, tool kits, templates, etc.; possess the ability to be hands-on in design and brand execution.
  • Lead, manage and own the execution of brand and creative communications at the intersection of strategic marketing projects, many of which require cross-team collaboration where decision rights may span across multiple areas and may include a variety of constituents across the division, university and broader community.
  • Steward the UIC brand identity through use in media, sponsorships, campaigns, and merchandise, including managing an in-house design and creative team.
  • Demonstrate passion for and skill in executing change management, especially around team, brand evolution creative communications and revenue growth.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the brand and creative communications, including supervision of team members and coordination of all functions and activities.
  • Analyze and interpret data and information and make appropriate recommendations based on findings, including leveraging market research and determining the ROI of marketing initiatives.
  • Working closely with senior leadership, coordinate with athletics, advancement, bookstores and the academic health enterprise to leverage brand opportunities and inclusion and overall marketing strategies of the institution.
  • Integrate marketing functions, including campaign and agency management, product marketing, customer insights, and P&L ownership to deliver on aligned KPIs.
  • Define and educate key stakeholders on customer journeys.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with Director of Marketing and Media Engagement to oversee appropriate applications of the brand through trademark licensing functions and lead cross-institutional efforts to generate trademark-related initiatives. Regarding branded merchandise, establish a tracking program to diagnose problems, identify successes, feed into executive-level reporting and make recommendations for alignment and growth.
  • Think creatively and pragmatically with a willingness to consider many options, problem solve, and take directives as necessary.
  • Demonstrate excellence and experience in design, visual storytelling, written communications skills, and a sense of what is appropriate for the UIC brand.
  • Adhere to confidentiality and business ethics; demonstrate outstanding judgment and discretion.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the university’s mission, values, goals and priorities and an ability to ensure that all are considered in developing communications strategies.
  • Adhere to confidentiality and business ethics; demonstrate outstanding judgment and discretion.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the university’s mission, values, goals and priorities and an ability to ensure that all are considered in developing communications strategies.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with a wide range of audiences—including coaches, students, leadership, staff, alumni and external vendors.
  • Efficiently and effectively manage multiple, complex and results-oriented projects with both quick turn-around requirements and long lead times.
  • Operate in a highly organized fashion with attention to detail on all projects.
  • Provide overall support as needed and assigned for department priorities.
  • Other duties as assigned and as they emerge in an ever-evolving marketing and communications landscape built on advancing the mission, vision and purpose of UIC.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree required.
  • At least three years of related work experience in marketing, art/creative direction with at least two years of team management experience required.
  • Must have command of digital technology, software and platforms, including Adobe Creative Cloud (InDesign, Illustrator, etc.), design standards and principles.
  • A strong passion for strategic brand building and insight-based marketing.
  • Ability to interpret information to make business decisions and recommendations based on analysis, best practices and an understanding of preferred outcomes.
  • Proven ability to operate from a strategic and tactical perspective.
  • Ability to provide examples of proven accomplishments with high level and strategic marketing projects. Ideally projects should involve a large, complex and mission-based organization, whether for-profit or non- profit.
  • Experience working with an email editor and related tools.

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Exceptional ability to lead, build and develop a team anchored in brand alignment through voice, messaging and visuals. Experience establishing and leading a team to follow repeatable processes that guide and organize all creative activities, including: creative execution, file development standards, file naming and cataloging content for future use.
  • Ability to lead and participate in idea generation and conceptualize campaigns as well as individual pieces of content tied to the UIC brand, mission and goals.
  • Proven expertise in digital marketing and social media with a genuine interest in emerging platforms and channels.
  • Exceptional design, writing and presentation/speaking skills.
  • Strong communication, relationship building and interpersonal skills to work influentially and effectively with the team and campus partners.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to take initiative, work independently, and attend to multiple projects to meet deadlines. Along with project management, strong problem-solving skills and ability to manage, often with limited resources and authority.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading student groups, organizations or teams.
  • Demonstrated high levels of creativity, curiosity, empowerment, learning agility, effort and a desire to grow and become better.
  • Flexible about shifting priorities and entrepreneurial and resilient when faced with ambiguity.
  • Nimbly adapts to new systems, knowing when it is necessary to ask for help and when it is appropriate to propose better ways of doing things.
  • Commitment to the mission and values of UIC, including a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Benefits of Working at UIC

  • Competitive salary. Tuition assistance.  Educational opportunities. Generous vacation, holiday, and other leave benefits. Health care options and wellness programs.

For fullest consideration, applicants should complete the job application and upload a cover letter, resume, linked portfolio and 3 professional references by August 11, 2023 at 6:00 pm CST

The University of Illinois Chicago is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity and is particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of people. We are committed to equal employment opportunities regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, and religion, national origin, disability, protected Veteran status, age, or any other characteristic protected by law.

The University of Illinois may conduct background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.  Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.  For more information, visit  












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