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One of the things that really improved when we started using Emma was our ability to bring a unified look to all emails sent, no matter the department or office, it allowed us to preserve Oakland University’s brand identity and make it clear to those who open the email that it’s coming from the university.


Oakland University, located just north of Detroit, has more than 19,000 graduate and undergraduate students who call it home. The challenge? Making sure they all remain engaged and receive necessary pieces of communication throughout their higher education experience. But, with the help of Emma’s easy-to-use features, Oakland University’s communications team makes connecting with every student look easy.

From sharing emergency notifications and diversity and inclusion initiatives to disseminating critical information internally to faculty and staff, Oakland University uses Emma to maintain brand consistency, create audience segments, and custom templates to send the right messages, to the right people, at exactly the right time.

Perhaps most importantly, switching to Emma has allowed the university to reclaim a sense of unity and credibility among their emails that they’d lost between multiple email service providers, academic departments, and brand standards.

Creating a sense of unity and trust with email

“Before Emma, our internal and external sending was a mess. There were too many communications being sent throughout the university and a lot of them included inconsistent branding,” said Todd Nucci, Director of Marketing and Web/Digital Services at Oakland University. “With Emma, we can display important university information in a streamlined and professional format to let our students, faculty, and staff know which communications are something we all need to pay attention to and act upon.”

Using Emma HQ’s tiered accounts feature their communications team has been able to create branded templates that every department can use. All of the templates have been built to make it simple for each of the more than 2,000 users across departments to drag-and-drop its details into a template while keeping all of the university’s branding—colors, fonts, font sizes—locked. This gives individuals in each department the autonomy to create emails on their own time while strengthening the Oakland University brand.

Oakland University Email

“One of the things that really improved when we started using Emma was our ability to bring a unified look to all emails sent, no matter the department or office, it allowed us to preserve Oakland University’s brand identity and make it clear to those who open the email that it’s coming from the university,” said Nucci.

Creating these standardized templates for all of the university also allowed the communications team to ensure every email being sent remains compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), allowing them to feel confident knowing emails sent from the university are accessible for all.

Ready to send emergency and crisis communications

While emergencies are something every higher education institution hopes it never has to communicate, Oakland University knew it was best to prepare for any situation that could arise in order to best protect their students, faculty, and staff. Using the drag-and-drop builder to create templates for potential future scenarios, such as a building fire or an active threat, they’re confident knowing that if an unforeseen situation pops up, they’ll be prepared and ready to alert their community. The pre-built templates allow them to add pertinent details and get the information out quickly, rather than starting from scratch building an entirely new email during an emergency when time is of the essence.

“There’s no question that this ‘plug and play’ email send strategy for emergencies saves us an immense amount of time. Not only do we have these templates in place, but the police department also has them and knows the information we need to fill in the blanks. So they literally can call us and within less than five minutes we can have a draft email ready to go,” said David Groves, Director of Campus Communications at Oakland University.

Campus advisory email

Providing structure while remaining flexible

When looking to implement a new email service provider across its entire campus, Oakland University had a few must-haves in mind to ensure it would be a good fit for their communications team and every department within the university.

And by implementing Emma, they were able to meet all of their needs, including:

• Brand consistency via a controlled image library, locked colors, and custom templates

• Tiered account structure and user permissions

• An easy-to-use analytics dashboard

• Ability to duplicate past email sends and save templates

• Availability of both a drag-and-drop and HTML email builder

• Improved list management processes

“Email has become more important than ever. With everything that happened in 2020 until now, it’s been our most important form of communication. Whether it’s changes in our class structure or virtually hosting large campus events like commencements and undergrad recruitment events, Emma has helped us be successful in reaching everyone and communicating all changes with them,” said Nucci.

Oakland University Email

Emma makes the difference for higher ed

“The idea is that we provide our users with as close to a finished product as possible so all they have to do is fill in the blanks. In the end, it’s really about protecting the University, protecting our brand, and making sure our subscribers recognize messages coming from Oakland University,” said Evan Zusy, Website Director at Oakland University.

We hear this a lot from universities and colleges with multiple departments, and that’s exactly why we created Emma HQ—to make collaboration easy and effective. But even if you’re a smaller institution with different needs, we also have features that will feel custom-built for your team. In fact, there are several reasons why 500 universities worldwide choose Emma.

From the drag-and-drop builder that’s easy for any marketer to use to seamless integrations with apps you already use and love, Emma has a solution to help your organization achieve your student engagement, alumni relations, advancement fundraising, or whatever-you-can-dream-up goals. To see how Emma can work for you, request a demo.

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