Strategic Communication Initiative

Message from the President

Communications play an important role in conveying the essence and value of an organization. As such, The University of Southern Mississippi has begun a comprehensive effort to refresh our institutional communications strategy. This Strategic Communication Initiative will include an examination of current communications materials and messaging across all platforms, provide multiple avenues for stakeholder input, and identify opportunities for greater effectiveness and consistency across units and locations.

Our Office of University Communications will lead this initiative to enhance communications with key audiences, and they will work closely with The Focus Group, an experienced external agency we have engaged to guide this process. The Focus Group, headquartered in Gulfport, will collect and analyze stakeholder input, develop a comprehensive market position report, and provide recommendations for a refreshed and integrated communications strategy moving forward.

I look forward to the progress of our Strategic Communication Initiative, and I am confident that our work in this area will help us advance the mission of the University as we establish our communications strategy for the next several years.

Rodney D. Bennett
The University of Southern Mississippi



Phase One (Complete)

Communication Audit

  • Identify and analyze current communication methods, environment, messages, and materials 

Benchmark Brand Perception Study 

  • Gauge overall perceptions of the University through a short electronic survey


Phase Two (Complete)

Focus Groups

  • Explore internal stakeholder attitudes, feelings, beliefs, and experiences surrounding the University through nine, one-hour sessions to be held on the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses


Phase Three (Complete)

In-depth Survey and In-depth Interviews

  • Gain a deeper understanding of stakeholder perceptions through an expanded questionnaire as well as one-on-one interviews with University administrators


Phase Four (In progress)

Plan Development and Review

  • Analyze stakeholder input
  • Develop a comprehensive market position report
  • Provide recommendations for a refreshed and integrated communications strategy 
  • Review the recommended communications strategy with six internal and external stakeholder groups before final implementation


Phase Five

Plan Communication and Implementation

  • Communication of the plan to administrators and key staff members
  • Creative development resulting from the plan


External Partner

The Office of University Communications is leading the Strategic Communication Initiative with support from The Focus Group, an experienced external agency headquartered in Gulfport. 

The Focus Group: Advertising, Production, Interactive