With teams working on everything from a vaccine through to understanding the mental health impact of social lockdowns, Oxford University’s Covid-19 work was world-leading - and its comms had to be, too.
Sensing the scale of the challenge early, the university’s public affairs team quickly produced a global strategy that emphasised its position as a global centre of excellence and a go-to source of information for media and policymakers.
In doing so, the team sought to contribute to major fundraising goals and forge stronger relationships with global partners and influencers in media, public health, academia, government and policy, while keeping Oxford’s staff and students informed and engaged.
This involved a people-focused approach to storytelling, whether giving access to documentary crews, creating social media storytelling around critical moments, or launching a livestreamed Q&A series and a podcast.
A custom online hub, meanwhile, offered critical information to priority audiences, while content was created and tailored for both donors and the general public.
Over the year, the team put out 131 Covid-19 press releases, held 45 press briefings and generated over 500,000 media mentions, while the website received 7.2m page views.
Awareness of Oxford’s work also placed it at the heart of the global conversation and decision-making, with visits and references by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson among others.
All this also helped a hugely successful fundraising year, which drew £187m in funding and three times the average number of annual gifts.
“This campaign went beyond being simply data-drive, and incorporate personal narratives. Huge efforts, extraordinary results and a major, tangible impact on reputation and funding. Very impressive.”
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