Aggie Brand Con 2024 - Agenda, Sessions, Speakers

9:00 AM - Keynote

The Science Behind Creative Content

Auditorium | Adam Morgan

We all want to create experiences that connect. But how? And how do we explore creativity in our content and still be data-driven in our decisions? Join Adam Morgan, a brand and creative executive as he shares insights from his nearly 30-year creative journey. He’ll share shortcuts he has learned to build engaging content. And research from his book that helps us understand how people think and make decisions. Learn how to balance logic and creativity in order to make experiences that work.

10:00 AM - Session One

Shoot your Shot: Video for Social

305 | Joshua Clason

Track Animated

Social media and video. It's like PB&J. But you know what hits different? Nutella and Jelly. It slaps. Let's make your social media videos more like Nutella and jelly. IYKYK.

C.R.A.P. Design

313 | Kimberly McClellan

Track Animated

C.R.A.P. is an acronym for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. These are the four fundamental design principles of great design from the “Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robin Williams. Incorporating these design principles will help you create designs that are professional, effective, and aesthetic. Don’t worry if you’re not a designer, anyone can master these simple fundamentals!

Creating a Memorable Slide Deck: Upping Your Professional Presentation Game

Auditorium | Thomas Sorenson, Nathan Stucki

Track Animated

When it comes to professional presentations, nothing lulls audience members to sleep more than dry visuals and boring narratives. In this session, participants will learn how to significantly enhance their initial presentation ideas by 1) crafting a stronger narrative to tell more powerful stories, and 2) using basic design principles to transform boring looking slides into aesthetic visual spectacles. Anyone can learn how to shape audience experience by altering the journey of a slide deck. In this session, participants will walk away with ideas of how to create presentations that dial in the audience, maintain attention, and leave a lasting impact.

[Don’t] Click Here...

303 | Jordan Taylor

Track Bold

Improve your links, organize your site, and make your content easier to read. Join me in learning about best practices for a university website! Avoid having a cringe site by learning about current (and timeless) best practices for an educational website. We will take you through the process of intentional web design, and I'm not talking about the "look" or "feel." Your site should be organized with intent, direction, and purpose so that your users (and editors) don't get lost in a sea of pages. Learn why FAQ pages are BAD, fewer pages are BETTER, and readability is THE BEST. In fact, just pop in for what you need! Here's the five-segment outline: BAD examples from our peers → site organization, navigation, and naming files → utilizing versions to cut down page count → readability and links → appeasing the Robot Overlords → and more!

Inclusive and Accessible Web Content

307 | Christopher Philips

Track Bold

The university’s web presence plays a significant role in establishing our identity, sharing information, and providing access to the full Utah State University experience. We make sure our campus buildings are accessible by providing things like ramps or elevators so that everyone can access them. As more of our campus experiences move online, how do we make sure that our web experiences are also accessible? There are hundreds of campus websites and web applications managed by colleges, departments, programs and individuals that provide essential information and services. Many campus web administrators are working to ensure our web experiences are accessible and usable for everyone. However, some of our campus websites are not accessible and exclude users with disabilities who come to our sites and leave feeling frustrated. Fortunately, there are people and resources available to help you make sure your websites are usable for everyone. In this session, we will review the tools that are available to help you quickly determine how accessible your site is and what you can do to improve it. These tools range from free browser extensions to enterprise software that provides monthly reports on your website accessibility. Come learn how to use these tools and what you can do to fix any accessibility errors on your site.

Media Panel

309 | Logan Wilber, Members of the Media

Track Captivating

Strong working relationships with members of the media are critical to USU’s reputation as a leading research university. This session will help communicators and administrators improve the way they work with the media and better accomplish both the goals of their units and the university. The media landscape has changed over the last few years, with news outlets collaborating more than ever and cover covering news in different ways. Join us as we ask local and state media representatives the questions we all want to know: their predictions for the key news trends this coming year, what they look for in a good story, and how to work with them more effectively.

Longform Writing with the Utah State Magazine

311 | Tim Olsen, Jeff Hunter, Andrea DeHaan, Lael Gilbert

Track Captivating

In this session, attendees will get a brief introduction to the Utah State magazine, its product, and reach by editor Tim Olsen. Testimonials from college communicators Andrea DeHaan, and Lael Gilbert about their experience producing content for the magazine and its impact on their college, recruiting, development, etc. How to build upon what you've already done: A discussion with Jeff Hunter and Tim Olsen about taking news releases and other content and using them to create in-depth feature content for the magazine. Both an opportunity to expound on a current topic as well as revisit previously created content.

11:00 AM - Session Two

Learn and Play within the USU Brand Box

303 | Ashlee Karren, Heidi Adams, Aimee Brunson

Track Animated

As visual communicators, we often feel like we are working within a box. The toys we play with feel tired. How many ways can you use the same colors, fonts, and visual elements without losing your mind? Let's look at some creative possibilities. In this session, we will explore and discuss new ways we can think creatively with our materials by playing within USUʼs brand box.

Shot on (your) iPhone: Video Production Tips

307 | Taylor Emerson

Track Animated

USU's Digital Journalist Taylor Emerson gives you a few tips to put him out of a job. He'll showcase an example of how he builds a video news release using just his iPhone, some lights, and a microphone. Through this process, he'll help give some tips on how you can do it too.

Web Stewardship & Your Website Vitals

305 | Julie Duersch, Logan Loertscher

Track Bold

If you’re new to managing a website at USU, or if website management is just one of your many roles within your department, or perhaps you’re a seasoned veteran looking to leverage the website vitals available in your analytics report, this is for you! Join Logan and Julie as they guide you through using the available tools to maximize your time as a web steward. By using analytics, search terms, and conducting website speed tests, you can effectively gauge your website’s performance. Understanding your website vitals will help you prioritize your tasks and make the most of your website stewardship efforts. Want to go more in-depth and hands-on? Join us for the follow-up “Using Your USU Looker Studio Analytics Report” workshop session.

Social Media Panel

309 | Lindsi Glass, Tyler Knowles, Emily Fredrick, Bronson Teichert

Track Bold

In this panel, session goers will get to hear from the social media content creators behind some of USU's most successful platforms. Learn about the highs and lows of managing the different platforms, what keeps them up at night, and what makes being a social media content creator so much fun.

From Your Target to Your Student: Degree Finder Optimization

313 | Ben Renard-Wiart

Track Bold

Degree Finder is a consistently top 10 visited page for In this session, hear from the creator of Degree Finder and how you can optimize your Degree Finder pages. From content tips to SEO recommendations that will get prospective students to your page and engaged with your program. You'll get tips and tricks for how you can optimize your degree page(s), including examples of pages that are working and how you can better improve your own. Hear "behind the scenes" details for how and why degree pages were laid out and gain a better understanding to ensure your own page is optimized to its fullest potential.

How to Package a Story Pitch like a Pro

Auditorium | Alicia Richmond

Track Captivating

As communicators, we know how to write and tell a story, but are we promoting these stories to the next level? Journalists are looking for compelling pitch ideas to share with a broader audience. How do you compose a pitch idea that will get beyond the inbox? Learn a few key tricks that will help your story standout. Less is more when it comes to making an initial impression. Bring your story ideas and plan to create your own pitch!

Experiences that Resonate: Harnessing the Power of Small-Scale Events

311 | Thomas Sorenson, Daniel Lenhart, Nathan Stucki

Track Dynamic

We address the challenge of grabbing attention in today's overloaded world. Carefully crafted small events allow you to cut through the noise to speak directly to people. While social media, websites, and other communications have a broad reach, events can forge lasting relationships with your attendees. And small teams can pull off impactful events that feel big! The presentation will highlight the key features of memorable events, planning tools, tips, and tricks, and how the event can contribute to the other communication avenues you’re already using. In the long run, intentional, focused events create experiences that resonate with your community and transform your brand.

1:00 PM - General Session

Amplifying Our University President's Voice: Strategies for Effective Communications from the Office of the President

Auditorium | Kerri R. Davidson

Unlock the power of our university president's voice - a session featuring Vice President of Institutional Affairs and Chief of Staff to the President, Kerri Davidson. Join VP Davidson for a dynamic exploration of communication strategies that amplify impact and engagement. Topics to be addressed include: Understanding the President's Vision and Messaging and the importance of aligning communication efforts with the president's vision in mind - for consistency, measured impact and to empower staff as brand ambassadors (while keeping pace with evolving trends, technologies, and stakeholder expectations).

2:00 PM - Session Three

Edit with Andrew

303 | Andrew Diamond

Track Animated

The goal of this session is to go from start to finish through an edit. You'll learn about various editing techniques to improve your videos, from audio, color, graphics, and exports.

How to Take Unflattering People Pictures

Auditorium | Slide Deck | Levi Sim

Track Animated

People pictures should drive all your web pages and communications. You show people doing cool research and you show students loving their time at USU. Your photos with people are the most valuable and effective photos you make, but one bad photo could cost you trust for future photos. In this session, you’ll learn to make flattering photos of people — and more importantly, you’ll learn a lot about the things that make unflattering photos so we can avoid them. You’ll learn to pose people naturally and you’ll learn how to compose to emphasize the important things in your photo. Group photos, headshots, people at work, and people at events — these are simple things that make or break these photos and you’ll learn them all. This session is not camera-specific, but you may want to have attended the 20 Ways to Ruin Your PR Photos Session (this year or last year).

AI Task Force Panel Discussion

305 | Ricky Flores, Jeff Lofland, Breylen Stallings, Olivia Lee, Kat Webb

Track Bold

The panel discussion will comprise of the AI Task Force members where we will discuss our goals and how we came to our conclusions for the points listed in the mission statement. During this session, we will review a report that speaks to those points. We will also discuss AI on much broader terms and the impacts it makes on each individual’s industry.

Making Social Content Count

311 | Loren Miller

Track Bold

The session covers how to take ideas for content and place them in the right platform using the right imaging, graphics, and captions. Content that fits the right platform will create more engagement and more unity amongst other accounts.

Strategic Storytelling: Writing to Advance University Objectives

307 | Mary-Ann Muffoletto

Track Captivating

Utah State University’s public information officers are called to provide continuous content for university communications. How do you juggle requests and get the most public relations mileage out of your efforts? Learn tips for anticipating needs, scheduling your workload and preparing content in advance to be ready to deploy interesting, timely and effective stories to advance university objectives and benefit your audiences. Learn how to leverage content prepared for Utah State Today and other university publications as focused media pitches to appreciative recipients who can provide a broader audience for your writing and promotional efforts. Lessen the “last-minute-scramble” to provide content for recurring university activities, events and opportunities, along with new initiatives that emerge during the academic year.

Sharing Inclusive and Accessible Messages with the Masses

309 | Christopher Philips, Megan Cox

Track Dynamic

Utah State University strives to be a university for all. As we share the Aggie message with the world through websites, videos, documents, and social media, it is essential that they are accessible for everyone. When we create and share accessible content, it sends a strong message to each person in your audience that they belong at Utah State University. Disability is a universal human experience that impacts people across all ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic statuses. Almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience some form of disability at some point in their lives. For example, your audience may include a student who is blind and uses a screen reader or an alum who has lost some hearing and relies on captions. Are you excluding potential students, parents, or donors by sharing inaccessible content? In this session, learn about some of the challenges that people with disabilities face when your content is not accessible. We will go over some basic accessibility principles and share practical examples of how they apply to your digital content. Whether you are creating basic documents, producing videos, or designing web experiences, there are small things you can do that make a big difference. No experience is needed to come and learn some basic concepts and how they apply to the content that you create. When you apply accessibility best practices, your content is also more usable for everyone and helps you reach broader and larger audiences.

3:00 PM - Session Four

20 Ways to Ruin Your PR Photo

303 | Levi Sim

Track Animated

This class will help you think through what you need in your photo, how to compose it, where to make it, and how to help your subject feel great in the picture. We’ll cover several general tips for use with devices from phones to mirrorless cameras, and we’ll cover several tips specifically to help your phone make the best photo possible. This class will include live demonstrations.

The Power of Canva

309 | Ashlee Karren, Heidi Adams, Aimee Brunson

Track Animated

Canva users work smarter, not harder. Whether you are new or a seasoned pro, this session will teach you useful hacks to save time, ensure your Canva workflow is seamless, and take your marketing materials to the next level. See the latest creative features in Canva in this session.

Elevate Your Web UX/UI in No Time

307 | Adam Thomas

Track Bold

Upgrade your web design skills specifically for Omni CMS in this hands-on session. Get the inside scoop on the right tools and questions that can drastically improve your UX/UI. Walk away with actionable tips to create more engaging, user-friendly web pages.

Best Practices to Ensure Your Video is Inclusive

311 | Megan Cox

Track Bold

Captions are vital for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, but they also offer advantages for all users. In this session, we will discuss the benefits of captions for both users and content creators, including enhanced engagement, increased searchability of captioned videos, and higher video views. This session will also cover USU’s resources for captioning, challenges with website videos, and translating captions to reach a wider audience. You will gain insights into the value of captions and practical guidance on implementation.

Omni CMS and You: Tips & Tricks, Updates, and Web Life Hacks

Auditorium | Danielle Bosco

Track Bold

If you are a website editor on Modern Campus's Omni CMS platform, this session is for you. After a brief overview of some hardly used (but useful) features of the platform, you will find out where we went this year and where we are going next. We will finish with a few tips to survive and thrive being an every-day web content editor.

(Inverted) Pyramid Building Without Drudgery

313 | Marcus Jensen, Steven Kent

Track Captivating

Writing editorial-style copy can be a drag. How do you plainly present the facts without boring your readers? What techniques can punch up a headline or a ledge? Utah State Today News Coordinator Marcus Jensen and Editor Steve Kent will present unique newswriting tips backed by examples, web data and short exercises.

No Budget, No Problem: How to Use Your Phone to Crush Your Marketing Budget

305 | Aaron Fortin, Nathan Stucki

Track Dynamic

You may not have access to a full creative team or have the budget to hire one... but we have good news. Anyone can use a cell phone to create powerful marketing content! In this session, participants will learn how to turn their cell phone into a multi-media content creation machine. We will review a few free digital content creation applications like Adobe LightMobile, Adobe Premiere Rush, iMovie, CapCut, to help you up your content game. Participants will also learn basic cell phone photo/video production and editing tricks to increase the quality of your content with little to no budget. Lastly, we will review a list of basic equipment your unit could invest in to increase your marketing content quality.