Oxford agency shares marketing strategies for ethics centers

Published 10:14 am Thursday, March 7, 2024

How do you build marketing engagement around something as fundamental as right and wrong?

Leaders of university-based ethics centers from around the country traded perspectives on that question as part of the 33rd International Conference of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

The event featured a half-day session with Kelley Hunsberger, managing director at Oxford-based Red Window Communications, who shared strategies from the agency’s work.

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APPE Executive Director Kristen Fuhs Wells said ethics centers around the country have different focus areas — chiefly research, business or community impact — but they share common challenges.

“Ethics centers are often staffed with academics who don’t have a background in communications,” she said. “These are skills they need in order to connect with their audiences and more funding.”

Hunsberger’s session, “Communicating the Value of Ethics Centers,” drew from strategies that apply to both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, tailored for the academic environment.

She shared Red Window’s approach in creating a foundational messaging framework, which incorporates multiple stakeholder voices and serves as a reference for all brand communication. The process helps organizations focus on how to connect with the specific audiences they need to reach — from donors and administrators to journalists and college students.

“How researchers relate to these audiences can be very different from how they relate within academic circles,” Hunsberger said. “Research centers need to make the most of limited resources, which are often tied to grants. Having a strategy that’s tightly focused toward their priority audiences can help them stretch the value of their resources.”

Held in Cincinnati on Feb. 22-25, the APPE conference brought together some 300 attendees from across disciplines, including philosophy, bioethics, law, medicine and journalism. Deborah Mower, PhD, director of the Center for Practical Ethics at the University of Mississippi, invited the Red Window team to offer guidance to center directors, as well as to demonstrate how partnering with an agency can help bridge the communication gap.

Red Window Communications is an integrated marketing communications agency based in the Southeastern United States, partnering with clients across the country and beyond.

To learn more, visit www.redwindowcommunications.com.