7 Communication and Promotion
Communication and promotion of the conference are key to invite participants, presenters, and sponsors. Communication is the visible face of the conference during its preparation, and good communication and promotion work will tell people how the conference will be and create an interest in it. It is also key to set early and intentionally the tone for inclusion, and communicate the work done by the Organizing Team in this respect. This is decisive for many attendees who are considering participating.
7.1 Visual identity and branding manual
Each useR! conference developped their own visual identity around the use of the R project logo. The rules about customisation included keeping the original logo recognisable, but allowed for changes in “use” and “!”, and the style of the exclamation mark.
Some example of past conferences logos:
Since 2020, useR! has used an official logo and a professionally-developed visual identity manual. This manual contains detailed instructions on use of the useR! logo, the font used for texts, correct and incorrect uses, as well as HEX stickers.
You can check the useR! logo Visual Identity Guide here
Please stick to this guide strictly to strengthen the useR! brand. Avoid deviations and quick, non-compliant hacks when creating additional material such as sponsoring brochures.
7.1.1 Conference mascot
useR! 2021 created a conference mascot called Margot the Marmot, to replace the traditional visualizations of the cities that hosted the conference. Margot was created by Francisco Etchart and is available under a CC-BY-NC-SA license (https://github.com/useRconf/visuals-2021)
Margot was part of the communication strategy of the conference, by being represented in different situations while attending the conference–including the participation in the yoga social events–.
Blog post about Margot: https://user2021.r-project.org/blog/2020/11/26/welcome-margot-the-marmot/
Link to the mascot: https://gitlab.com/user-2021-team/user-2021-global/-/tree/master/communication/Marmot
7.2.1 Inclusive language
The language used for communication should be inclusive and set the tone for the whole conference. Inclusive language means language free from words, phrases/expressions, or tones that communicate prejudice or discriminative ideas, or stereotypes about particular groups of people (Hall 2019).
Inclusive language also means refraining to make “internal joke” comments, that would be understood by a restricted set of participants, or make an excessive use of technical jargon and acronyms. These can create an exclusionary ambiance by letting out new members of the community and new useRs.
Some great references about inclusive communication can be found here:
Hall, 2019 Designing a Diversity and Inclusion Communications Strategy
Check also the inclusive writing section in this guide.
7.2.2 Communication in languages other than English
As with most international conferences, English is useR!’s official language for most communications and presentations. However, there is a growing space for communications in other languages, to involve other communities and reach a broader audience worldwide.
Languages other than English can be used in several spaces of the conference, starting with social media presence, pre-conference meetups, regional–satellite or community–meetings, and calls for abstracts and tutorials.
The online format allows for contributions in languages other than English, including Keynotes, Regular Talks, Lightning talks, and tutorials.
📝 In case multilingual sessions are included in the plans for the conference, a decision about captioning to English has to be made. Not every non-English language meeting needs to be captioned, but including captions and encouraging non-English presentations can be a great way to promote inclusion.
Bear in mind that different languages have different characteristics to be considered when using inclusive language. For example, an agreement has to be made when using gendered languages such as Spanish, French, or Portuguese. Reach out to native speakers that have been in contact with the use of inclusive language for each case. An example in English can be found here, adapted from original in Spanish.
7.3 Collaboration with other areas and promotion of the conference preparation
The communication team works closely with other areas of the conference to communicate to the general public the work of the Organizing Team. Technical information about dates, presenters, and the general schedule should be present in the social media posts, in coordination with the Program and Content team.
The communication of the conference should also include the actions that the Organizing Team has been implementing for creating a safe and inclusive space. The Code of Conduct, Diversity Statement, Accessibility Guidelines and points of contact regarding these topics should be communicated via Social Media and displayed proeminently on the website and other online spaces of the conference. Likewise, information about the Social Events agenda, Registration Rates, Financial Support, Diversity Scholarships should be promoted.
For this, the conference has social media presence, a blog, and a network of communities that can be contacted for promotion.
7.5 Other communication media
The aim of the blog is to track the journey to the conference for the outside world and at the same time be an outlet for research made in the process of setting up the conference. The blog can also be used to cover the week of useR! as well as for some debriefing of the conference. Examples for current and upcoming posts are: How the useR! Team came together, A post on the community ecosystem, a take on accessibility, introduction of the useR! mascot.
7.4 Social media
The communication team is active on Twitter and LinkedIn. Although Twitter is the preferred platform for the
#rstatscommunity, it is not the most used social network in some parts of the world. For this reason, we added LinkedIn to the conference social networks
Until 2021, every useR! conference had their own Twitter handle. Since 2021, the social media accounts are intended to be reusable for future iterations of useR! and do not contain any year-specific parts in the account name.
The current Twitter handle for useR! is https://twitter.com/_useRconf
Specific guidelines about social media posting can be found in the Social media policy