OERu/Planning/Marketing and communications/Marketing capacity development project

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Key points
  • Hewlett Foundation has awarded a small capacity development grant to the OERF for marketing, communications and fund development.
  • Brandscaping Canada is the designated lead consultant for this project.
  • Mohawk Media will assist with video design and production for video marketing components.
  • Project deliverables to be completed by 30 June 2016.

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The aims of the project are to:

  1. Improve OER partner recruitment approaches and supporting communications to achieve a maximum of 70 contributing partners by 30 June 2018 (currently 32 partners)
  2. Improve fund development through "one off" corporate sponsorship for targeted initiatives aiming to generate $150,000 over the next 18 months (eg for sponsoring the assembly of an OERu course or project to ensure OERu online courses meet accessibility standards. An injection of funding can assist with completing product development in the short term.)
  3. Prepare an action plan for recruiting OERu learners in consultation with OERu partners participating in the OERu 1st year of study (MVP) project - and if possible, associated supporting marketing materials.
  4. Video marketing: Produce two whiteboard style "explainer videos" - one for prospective partners and one for prospective learners.

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Anticipated outputs
  1. Whiteboard style marketing video with professional voice over, targeting prospective decision-makers at tertiary education institutions and summarising: what the OERu is, its value proposition, and a call to action - eg reading the online brochure and requesting an invitation to join the network.
  2. Whiteboard style marketing video with professional voice over, targeting prospective learners re-using material from the aforementioned video with a call to action - eg visiting the OERu.org site and registering for a course. ((Think about ways in which individual partners can brand the video with their own identity - eg a sequence which is easy to brand because source files are available for remix - "proudly supported by" etc. Could develop taster / example sequence to be available on a fee for service basis?)
  3. Online brochure for prospective partners, following the call to action from the videos which can be easily reconfigured for print or attachment (could possibly incorporate one or two info graphics from context and/or input evaluation data).
  4. Improved letter of invitation.
  5. Professional presentation of the OERu business model canvas suggested for distribution to partner CEOs at meeting of OERu Council of CEOs incorporating:
    • Succinct cover sheet summarising the purpose, benefits and options to remix and customise the models for institutional /internal purposes.
    • Could possibly include testimonials from participating Vice-chancellors or CEOs?
  6. Recommended process for partner recruitment.
  7. Action plan and supporting communications for fund development through corporate citizenship
  8. Action plan for recruiting OERu learners for the MVP first year of study including:
    • Communications for the "launch" of the OERu MVP (and solutions for partners to incorporate their own "brand")
    • Instructions for Directors of Communications and Marketing at respective OERu partners for communicating the launch

Proposed activities

  1. Conduct a review of current partner recruitment approaches and associated communication strategies/materials.
  2. Review data from the OERu context and input evaluations to provide an evidence-based perspective on what contributing partners value in the OERu network.
  3. Execute customer research (short and focused) to gain insight into reasons why institutions join / don't join the OERu partnership. What is the OERu membership value proposition? How should this be communicated?
  4. Implement a marketing strategy including the development of communication assets.


  1. The OERF is a small charitable organisation with only two FTE staff working on the OERu (i.e. the Director, and Open Source Software Technologist operating with no additional specialist administration support).
  2. The OERu network is a distributed virtual organisation, which relies on the volunteer effort of staff at partner organisations.
  3. All planning and implementation of the OERu is conducted transparently in the wiki.
  4. Being "distinctively open", the OERu is committed to the use of free and open source software as a matter of policy.
  5. The OERF hosts annual international meetings for partners. These planning meetings are streamed live on the Internet.
  6. The OERF also hosts an annual meeting of the OERu Council of CEOs.

Supporting documentation

  1. MVP implementation plan
  2. Outputs of the context evaluation (see also summary on slideshare)
  3. Input evaluation (see also survey results).
  4. 5 Things you should know about the OERu network plan - usually sent as attachment or link in invitation email.
  5. Information for prospective partners on OERu website - usually sent as link in invitation email.
  6. FAQs - providing more information to answer questions about membership.
  7. Example letter of invitation (pdf) - usually sent as attachment to email.
  8. Summary of media coverage
  9. Notes on current recruitment approaches
  10. Meet Michelle Aragon - OERu's first graduate