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  /  Annual Marketing Plan


At universities across the nation, student unions are a main gathering point for the campus community. Our buildings serve as a hub for connections and set the stage for memories of anyone ranging from a first year student at Golden Bear Orientation to a 70-year-old alumnus, and all those in between.

At UC Berkeley, the ASUC Student Union boasts a rich history as being a true place for students. In 1931 students organized to create the first true Student Union on campus, but its roots date back even further, to 1884 when the Cal Student Store was opened and run by students as a place to buy textbooks, stationery, and other materials including, coal! Since then, the ASUC Student Union has continued to serve students over the years.

The purpose statement of the ASUC Student Union is: “we cultivate community at Cal so students can confidently pursue their dreams.” While our purpose is solid in intention, the Student Union has faced many challenges, including stiff food and retail competition from the surrounding area, inconsistencies with our food program, a difficult campus financial climate. We have recently completed a Strategic Plan that should be read side by side with this Marketing Strategy in order to clearly see the path to success laid out for the ASUC Student Union. The purpose of this Marketing Strategy is fourfold: to increase traffic to our buildings, to transform visitors into buyers, to explore future revenue pathways, and to solidify our already strong brand.  

Defining the ASUC Student Union


We cultivate community at Cal so students can confidently pursue their dreams.  


The ASUC Student Union, in partnership with student leaders, offers community-focused services and programs; providing opportunities for students to learn, grow, and live a balanced life. This includes facilitating events for students and the community, operating businesses that are responsible, sustainable, and engaging, and offering programs to build skills and explore creativity.


01 | Service: We think of others first. We are service oriented. We work so that others may benefit. We are service minded.

02 | Responsibility: We are accountable for the way in which we conduct business, in both our decision making and actions. We are responsible.

03 | Inclusiveness: We think about the big picture. We are a welcoming harbor for all thoughts, ideas, opinions, individuals and communities.

04 | Creativity: We work towards greater ideals that do not currently exist. We are resourceful in dealing with unexpected circumstances.

05 | Integrity: We are steadfast in adhering to a strict moral and ethical code. We do the right thing when no one is looking.

06 | Engagement: We interact with our audiences to build personable relationships. We actively participate with our audiences at their level.


As a hybrid business and programming entity within UC Berkeley, our successes are directly related to our ability to financially support our staffing and our programs for students. In addition to traditional revenue measurements, we also value the importance of student engagement and participation. We apply commercial strategies to maximize improvements to our students’ well-being. We need to find that balance between businesses with social integrity and those that will support our organization and programs.


01 | Be informed in order to make good decisions: Focus on gathering quantitative and qualitative data on our community’s diverse make-up as well as their wants and needs. Improve financial knowledge throughout our organization and apply that, along with our data collection points, to make better decisions for our organization.

02 | Achieve financial stability: Stabilize our funding sources including commercial, fee, grant, philanthropic, and sponsorship money. First create a baseline for what financial stability looks and then secure more reliable and diverse sources of funding.

03 | Engage our community: Engage our community through welcoming and accessible programs and services.

04 | Maintain spaces that meet our communities needs: Ensure our buildings are operating to their fullest capabilities. Continue to improve features of the building and support our vendors in meeting the community’s wants and needs. The buildings will be welcoming, clean, comfortable, and easily navigable.

05 | Create a positive staff experience: Embody the values of the Student Union and support a positive workplace culture by prioritizing staff morale. Regularly enact rituals that support our culture, with a focus on community-building, supporting the whole person, and fun. Support our student employees in job training, establishing learning outcomes, and setting them up for success in their careers after Cal.

06 | Demonstrate our value to decision makers: Identify our area of control and represent ourselves “at the table.” We will position the Student Union as best-in-class service. Information on our programs and progress will be made easily visible to the entire campus community.


Our brand exists to support the mission and vision of the ASUC Student Union. Our audiences are undergraduates, graduates, parents, staff, faculty, alumni, and the community. It is essential that we are strategic in our approach and understand how our campaigns impact the big picture. When we develop campaigns, we ask ourselves a list of questions: Does this fit within our mission, who is our target audience, what is our objective, what feelings are we evoking, and how do we quantify success? Questions such as these help us drill down to the core of the project and ensure we stay focused with our messaging and stay true to the ASUC Student Union overall brand, which you will see detailed in this marketing strategy. Our marketing must be relevant, tell stories, and create an emotional connection. As a non-academic division of UC Berkeley within Student Affairs, the Student Union has adopted and adapted UC Berkeley’s brand standards and its creative platform to strengthen the university’s mission, vision, and positioning through its materials. The Union’s sub-branded retailers have creative flexibility to express individual concepts in a huge variety of ways. It’s the best of both worlds.

The ASUC Student Union is striving to get 100 percent engagement of the student body through visual, digital, outreach, and experiential marketing. We are looking to become a community centered organization that encourages wellness, education, lifelong learning, social interaction, and engagement.

Situational Analysis


The ASUC Student Union’s primary target market for programs and services is the UC Berkeley Student, followed by Staff and Faculty, and then the larger East Bay Community. Campuses, like UC Berkeley, will perhaps begin to see a change in values, priorities and needs as our primary target student audience as they shift from the millennial to (what is sometimes referred to as) the “centennial” generation. Early data suggests that a large percentage of centennials believe that “having new stuff is overrated,” and they are adopting a more tempered outlook on their future. This could translate into a changing set of needs in regards to services offered at the ASUC Student Union.


Our 41,910 undergraduate and graduate students are a highly diverse group in terms of ethnicity, income, and perspective. 83% of our students walk or bike to campus. 8,679 are Pell Grant recipients, but It is important to note that while this count is often used as a proxy for identifying low-income students, it does not provide a complete picture of the low-income student numbers. That being said, our students spend the tremendous amount of $430,000,000 annually in the Bay Area. That’s $12,134 on average per student on food supplies, and other items. 80% of our undergraduate students enter as Freshmen, while the other 20% enter as Transfers. UC Berkeley enrolls slightly more female than male students, 15% are International students, 76% are in-state.

  • $435,000,000: money spent annually by UCB students in the Bay Area
  • $12,134: average money spent annually per student on food supplies, and other items
  • 116,768 residents in the City of Berkeley
  • 24,700 Faculty and Staff on campus
  • 25.3% residents between 18-24
  • 83% of students walk or bike to campus
  • 48% male students
  • 51% females students
  • 15% international students
  • 35,899 students were enrolled as of Fall 2012 including 25,774 undergraduates and 10,125 pursuing graduate degrees.

For our purposes we need to divide our students not just into ethnicity, or graduation date but whether they are engaged or unengaged.  Do they participate in student government (ASUC and GA), registered student groups, fraternities and sororities, student employees, art studio members, or any of our other programs? Leveraging our pre-existing connections to engaged students will become the cornerstone of our marketing strategy, while reaching out to those un-engaged students is where we must focus our marketing resources.

Faculty, Staff, Community

UC Berkeley is the third largest employer in the entire San Francisco Bay Area. This includes over 15,000 Faculty and Staff members. Many Staff members are here year-round providing a more consistent market and earning a living wage. Though Faculty are not the target audience for many of our services (they tend to skew much older, whiter, and male, than our typical buyer of goods and services), they should not be overlooked for their importance in providing textbook adoptions, renting event space, as art studio members, and as consumers in our full-service restaurant. Many of these faculty and staff double as one of the City of Berkeley’s 116,768 residents. City residents, like faculty often participate in our more outward facing services such as Event Services and the Art Studio.




  • Newly renovated facilities
  • LEAD Gold certified buildings
  • Historical significance on campus
  • Emotional attachment to the ASUC Student Union
  • Student involvement is high
  • Student Org buy-in of our organizational structure
  • Dedicated staff of niche experts
  • Brand on campus is becoming stronger and is received as “fun”
  • Some units are highly functional and well respected
  • Located at a major campus gateway
  • Variety of resources for students in one spot



  • Dining room options are unpredictable
  • Dining room suffers from perceived low-quality due to past vendors
  • Poor foot traffic despite location on Upper Sproul
  • Catering options in a state of transition
  • Students not eating in the dining room and using it as a study hall
  • Complications with student dedicated programming space
  • Understaffed to provide robust student programs
  • Unstable funding sources to sustain successful programs
  • Few guest rooms for conferences



  • Annual funding opportunities through student fee funds
  • New retail spaces to attract guests and increase traffic
  • New seating arrangements in dining and living room
  • New grab and go dining options
  • Blackwell Residence Hall to open in Fall 2018
  • Student Athlete meal contracts
  • Summer camps for teens
  • Restructuring of events services and art studio registration
  • “Market Days”
  • Selling ad space on digital monitors
  • Increase outdoor space fees
  • Move to a new custodial service
  • Increase percentage of work study student staff
  • Paw Points



  • Potential hiring freezes and position elimination through attrition
  • Debt owed to Student Affairs for Chartwells exit
  • No Student Affairs funding
  • Poor reputation amongst senior campus administration
  • Incidents (theft, assault, etc.) from community members
  • Lots of food options on Telegraph
  • Meal Points cannot be used in the Student Union
  • Parking is limited during the daytime
  • Lack of study spaces available on campus


Our Strategies

For the purpose of this Marketing Plan we will be focusing on our in-house services and programs, as well as our vendor services. These could best benefit from a marketing strategy which would in turn affect usage and revenue. Our resident programs and student run-programs are outside the purview of our marketing reach, and though they add dimension to the fabric of our larger organization we will not be able to affect change within these services. instead we will try to leverage their presence in our building to shine a light on our own services.

Research Strategy

It’s one of the Student Union’s Strategic Goals, and a key piece in this marketing plan: Be Informed In Order To Make Good Decisions. We will focus on gathering quantitative and qualitative data on our community’s diverse make-up as well as their wants and needs. We will improve financial knowledge throughout our organization and apply that, along with our data collection points, to make better decisions for our organization.

How is marketing accomplishing this goal? We have collected data on our audience’s wants, needs, and habits through primary market research and utilizing broader campus research. We have implemented market scanning protocol in order to continually and actively monitor the campus environment and anticipate competitive actions. Our data collection spans all of our programs and includes:

  • Semi-annual long-form data collection surveys (using Berkeley Qualtrics)
  • Bi-annual long-form benchmark survey comparing university unions (using SkyFactor)
  • Short-form client satisfaction questionnaires (Event Services, Art Studio, etc.)
  • Website, Google, and social media analytics (see Appendix for results)
  • Data collection from various point of sale and registration databases

Experiential Strategy

It’s all about the college EXPERIENCE after all. Providing students and our community with an experience they’ll remember, and that will take them “outside the book” is what we’re all about. Leveraging the University’s experiential events such as: Golden Bear Orientation, Get Your Bearings, Caltopia, Cal Day, Campus Resource Fair, and Transfer Day get’s our name and brand in front of students who are looking. Our own experiential events: Bear Bites, Calapalooza, Grad Fest, My Grad, and the Open House, draw students directly into our building where they can view first hand the wide variety of our programs and services. We have created “Team SUCCESS,” (Student Union Committee on Celebrations, Events, and Social Stuff) a cross-unit implementation team that makes this possible and helps us come prepared, but beyond preparedness this team shares information about upcoming events, which gives us the ability to market ourselves and our events well in advance.

  • Regular walkthroughs with an eye on a great visitor experience.
  • Increase programming in our community spaces.

Asset Strategy

Please visit the Appendix below for a comprehensive list of all marketing assets available to the Student Union, along with details. We will use our asset checklist for each and every activation, to be sure we are not missing any potential avenues. This asset checklist also makes if easier for our vendors and units to know what exactly is available to them when they engage with the Student Union marketing department.

Digital Strategy

Click here to see our in-depth social media strategy: Social Media Strategy. Scroll down to the Appendix to view our live “Digital Media Report Card.” All of our online channels can also be found here:

Facebook: | |

Instagram:| ||

Websites: | | ||

Social media advertising and social media marketing will continue to be an increased focus for us, as will advertising on our digital monitors. We have begun to identify appropriate campaigns for advertising on Facebook and are making tweaks to when we post and how we post information based on the quantity and quality of engagement and reach. Our consumer is accustomed to receiving messages visually and much of our communication on social media is in this format. In addition to images, we are looking to increase our video usage on social media and our e-commerce website. Finally, we will increase our efforts in content marketing. It is important that we do not inundate our customers with a hard sell and find the right balance between content marketing and promotional sales.

Our digital media marketing has been very successful and we will continue on this path with a few minor tweaks this year:

  • Increase targeted Google and Instagram ads
  • Research expanding digital monitors within and outside the Union.
  • Encourage vendor participation in digital monitor program.
  • Encourage vendor clean-up of online presence.
  • Clean up philanthropic opportunities on our websites and utilize University channels (ie: crowd funding site.)
  • Onboard new cross-unit content creators and have all creators use same workflow methods.
  • Delete LEAD Center Twitter feed.
  • Combine Cal Debate’s ‘Debate Camp’ and ‘Cal Invitational’ sites onto LEAD Center website with redirects. Move to an online registration and payment portal for those programs.
  • Move SERC website onto our server and template (currently resides on a student-run server.)
  • Research and transition to new WordPress template for our family of websites in order to head-off potential crash of websites due to lack of template updates.

Marketing Plans (by service)

This first calendar includes the general plan for the Student Union (Operations) and marketing needs for our smaller units and non-revenue generating units that do not have the need for a full marketing calendar (LEAD Center, SERC/TGIF, Cal Debate, Tech Fund, Business & Finance, ). This also includes our building vendors who have contracts that do not require a marketing calendar (Amazon, Bank of the West)

In-House Services & Programs

These three calendars are for our self-managed revenue generating units (Berkeley Art Studio, Creative Lab, Event Services). View the live marketing plans for July 1, 2020-June 30-2020 right here!

Berkeley Art Studio

Creative Lab

Event Services

Vendor Services

There is an expectation that each of our vendors needs to do due diligence in marketing their own services, however, the Student Union Marketing Team is here to put in good faith effort in assisting in vendor marketing as well. We need to keep in mind that our vendors do not necessarily have the same reach or knowledge across campus. The UC Berkeley is very unique, and traditional marketing tactics may simply not work where they have worked for our vendors in different arenas. After-all: the Student Union’s success as a University department depends on the commercial success of our vendors!

Amazon@ASUC Student Union

Amazon will utilize our services “a la carte,” meaning marketing services are not built into their contract, and therefore they will contact our team as needed for activations.  Last year, such activations included purchasing ad space on our digital monitors, and purchasing “market days” space on Cal day. Side note: Amazon’s in-store locker wrap program is to be monitored by the Student Union marketing team.

Bank of the West

Bank of the West’s relationship is monitored by the University partnership program (UPP). The ASUC Student Union has specific, contractually obligated activations that they are required to attend to on behalf of Bank of the West. These are noted in the calendar below.


Cal Student Store

Food Vendors: La Cocina’s Cantina, Rare Tea, and 1951 Coffee

Food Vendors: The Bear’s Lair Tavern (BLT)

BLT is currently experiencing changes in management. This is our suggested marketing plan which will begin in August of 2019, however these activations have not been vetted or agreed upon with the vendor.




View a comprehensive list and details of all the marketing assets available to Student Union programs and units.


Our Digital Media report Card contains the analytics and insights for the ASUC Student Union’s major programs. Data is updated quarterly.


01 | Cultivating Community at Cal

Message: Extracted from our Purpose Statement. This can also be used in the LEAD center, Art Studio, Events Services.

02 | Confidently Pursue Your Dreams

Message: Extracted from our Purpose Statement. This can also be used for LEAD Center, Practice & Performance Spaces.

03 | We Support You. You Support Us. We Support U.

Message: We are a social enterprise and your spending directly supports student programs.

04 | Think Outside The Book

Message: The services and opportunities that the Student Union provides go beyond what you can learn in the classroom. We are a motivated by creative thinking and doing things a little differently.

05 | Committed to a better U.

Message: The Student Union exists to enhance the co-curricular experience for students. This can be used as part of our social enterprise campaign.

06 | Beyond Academics.

Message: The services and opportunities that the Student Union provides go beyond what you can learn in the classroom.



All members of the Marketing & Creative team involved with marketing will be responsible for contributing to the goals outlined in this report. The Marketing team is charged with identifying creative ideas to reach these goals and will perform assessment practices to determine if the goals have been met. Find out who does what here.

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