The activities of most communications offices look much the same. That’s reasonable as they are doing similar things, but just because your activities are the same doesn’t mean your approach much be the same.
Too many communications office products fail to enthuse their intended audiences because they are just more of the same. Remember that nearly any audience you have is also an audience for another institution just like you.
Salespeople would identify what is the USP, or unique selling proposition. You might not have something you can elucidate all that well as there are probably others just like you, but you can at least present a unique tactical approach.
For example, do your publications look like all the other universities’ publications? You answer is almost certainly yes as one of the most uniform items to come out of communications offices are their research magazines. Look at a pile of such magazines from your institution and a handful of others. Put that pile on your coffee table at home surrounded by whatever is usually there. Put the pile on your desk at work. See whether yours truly stands out. If it doesn’t to you, then it won’t to your audience either. Ask yourself whether you need to do covers the same way. Does the format (size and shape) of the magazine need to be like all the others? Once you’re inside the magazine, do you need to have the same kinds of sections as everybody else? What could you do to make yours unique?
Employing a unique tactical approach will pay off handsomely among your audiences that are bombarded with information.