A conversation with John Trierweiler

New chief marketing officer seeks to build a team that will raise RIT’s national and international profile

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A. Sue Weisler

John Trierweiler is RIT’s new chief marketing officer.

As the chief marketing officer of RIT, what’s your primary responsibility?

Trierweiler: I have responsibility for the university’s branding, marketing and communications strategy, as well as its overall implementation. I am excited by RIT’s commitment to an integrated approach to marketing and branding that not only unifies a great university but also efficiently and effectively serves the needs of the various units across campus. My Year 1 goals include creating a unified RIT brand identity and architecture, improving our national and global reputation, creating a holistic and optimized web and app presence and building alumni awareness and engagement.

With your new job, you also created a new division—marketing and communications. Tell us what that division does for RIT.

Trierweiler: My vision for our new division is to be a premier provider of integrated marketing and communication within higher education. We will work closely with partners across campus to provide vision, guidance and support; help achieve the specific goals of divisions, departments, colleges, units and programs that make up RIT; and provide a robust and exciting work environment for our marketing and communications professionals across campus.

What interested you in this job, which is a first for RIT?

Trierweiler: What interested me most about RIT was the truly unique nature of this university, in what is largely a commoditized industry. From its beginning almost 200 years ago, RIT has had an emphasis on experiential learning, combining both technical and humanistic training, inclusiveness of women and minorities and providing all forms of student support, from counseling to career success.

What are your impressions so far of the university and its brand?

Trierweiler: We are operating from a position of strength. The university has been on a tremendous roll and my goal is to help add a bit of “rocket fuel” to the great job already being done by our faculty, students and staff. There is excitement about what we can become as a division and a university, and we are working to harness our combined strengths, expertise and passion to achieve our goals. People here have a tremendous sense of pride, professionalism and purpose. The staff relationship with students is amazing—with strong appreciation that we get as much as we give (and maybe more!). People have been inspired by President Destler’s strong leadership and motivated to work closely together to achieve RIT’s vision.

With RIT now considered a “doctoral university” by the leading classification of U.S. colleges and universities, what does the university have to do to raise its profile among the great research universities?

Trierweiler: We will deploy a more proactive and organic approach to storytelling. This will elevate brand awareness and engagement with the entire RIT community, increase media coverage of RIT’s thought leadership, and highlight and reinforce our “Greatness Through Difference.”