The annual Beloit College Mind-Set List is out. Have you seen it? Every year this list fascinates me. The major take away this year: The Class of 2015 has always lived in an “online” world. Jeez, I can remember I was amazed when someone showed me the Internet for the very first time—and when I got an email for the first time, I yelled out one of my famous “Oh my Gods.”
Anyway, check out the top ten items on the list and see what reaction you have.
1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
2. States and Velcro parents have always required that they wear their bike helmets.
3. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major-league sports.
4. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded some U.S. Navy ships.
5. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
6. As the students have grown up on Web sites and cellphones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
7. Their schools’ “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
8. “Don’t touch that dial!” … What dial?
9. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
There is a great article in the current issue of Marketing News on Boeing entitled, Building a Better Brand. There is so much in this article that we, in higher education, can learn from. The highlights:
* A few years ago, Boeing recognized that is needed to work on devleoping a unified brand strategy. Like most universities, Boeing is known for one thing (building planes) but the company does a lot of other things. They make military aircraft, integrated defense systems, missiles, satellites, and communications systems. They also work with NASA to operate the International Space Station. Still, when most of us think of Boeing, we think of planes.
* “Until recently, Boeing lacked a cohesive brand identity or communications strategy to unify its disparate enterprises.” Sound familiar?
* In 2008, Boeing launched its “One” campaign, “a comprehensive internal and external branding effort to drive a one brand culture and unify how the company connects with the outside world.”
* Boeing chose a “branded house” strategy in order to lend “instant recognition to new products and position the company well against competition.” A branded house strategy is much more appropriate in higher education than a house of brands strategy; most institutions are unintentionally following a house of brands model.
* Boeing has only ONE name on their business cards, badges, and buildings.
* “30 years ago, Boeing’s visual identity was all over the map. Boeing grew over the years through a series of mergers and acquisitions….every business segment had…its own marketing material, signage, color palette, you name it.”
* “Boeing execs put together a super-unwieldy team of employees from communications,creative services, customer relations, marketing, sales, HR, and other [areas] to hash out what Boeing’s brand[should be].” On a college campus, this team would need to include faculty.
* “The team researched the brand’s personality, promise, and mission……they had to identify which characteristics Boeing’s many enterprises have in common.” We need to do the same thing across our colleges and schools.
* Over the past few years, Boeing has leveraged its brand’s silo-busting power wherever and however possible, extending that thickly threaded rope throughout the company to create a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among the disparate enterprises.”
* The more people who want to hold the [Boeing] banner high and get people to march with them, the more powerful [Boeing] becomes. [In the beginning,] it felt like we were a bunch of kids picking up pots and pans and calling it a parade, and now we look behind us and it’s like we’re seeing the whole philharmonic.”
Boeing is $70 billion in total revenue and 158,000 employees spread all over the world. If they can implement a unified brand strategy, so can you.
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In each edition of Inside Higher Ed‘s daily eNews update, new programs being developed by colleges around the country are announced. Each day when I look at the new programs, I wonder about the trends in what colleges are planning to offer. So, our GREAT intern, Sarah, went back and looked at all the new programs announced by IHE this year and we discovered the following:
* A total of 127 new programs have been announced in IHE in 2011
* 97 different institutions announced the 127 new programs
* 38 (30%) were new bachelors programs, 34 (27%) were new master’s degrees, and 18 (14%) were new doctoral programs
* 48% of the new programs announced were offered by private institutions; 52% were announced by public schools
* The largest number of new programs announced where in the STEM fields (30), second largest category was health sciences (25), 10 programs each in business and education were also announced
* 9 new programs related to sustainability and the environment were announced, 4 related to homeland security
Admittedly, IHE is probably not the definitive source of new programs but these trends are interesting just the same. Useful data for faculty and department heads who are working on new program development.
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SimpsonScarborough discussed with Teri Thompson, Vice President for Marketing and Media at Purdue University, her newly released book “Tuning into Mom:Understanding America’s Most Powerful Consumer“, which will be available September 15th.
Q. What motivated you to write “Tuning into Mom?”
A. Frustration. Inspiration. Challenge. Due to my work with the moms segment while at State Farm, I knew there was a marketing story that had not been told about how to segment the moms market differently across a range of categories. I am amazed– and frustrated– at the revenue lost because of missed marketing opportunities and the lack of understanding of decision drivers. I was also inspired by the work of others, like Marti Barletta, whose books helped illuminate the importance of marketing to women. Probably most of all, I love a good challenge and I love sharing what I know, so capturing these insights in a book seemed like an obvious undertaking, especially when my talented friend Michal Clements agreed to co-author.
Q. Why should marketers pay attention to moms?
A. Marketers should pay attention to moms because they are the chief procurement officer of most households. They wield considerable purchasing influence and purchasing power, often passing along brand preferences to their children. There’s an old joke that says “Women don’t gossip, they advertise!” This is particularly applicable to moms, who often share product preferences and customer service experiences (both positive and negative) with their peer groups. So, not only are they controlling more than 85% of household budgets, their influence is impacting the purchase behavior of their children and their friends.
Q. How do moms influence the college selection process?
A. Mom is the most trusted advisor for teens and young adults when it comes to big life decisions (like college). Most moms are very involved in their child’s college selection process, often helping with the research process, taking the child on college visits, and in many cases, recommending their alma mater. As we conclude in the book, mom’s recommendation can be a significant influence on a child’s decision. One story in the book illustrates this, “My mom was extremely involved (in the college selection process), did all of the research, and showed me a list. She would set up the visits with the admissions office… I was completely happy, she did and amazing job, went above and beyond. During high school she kept me focused….” This story was told by a college freshman, whose mother largely controlled the college research process for both her and her brother. So mom helps tactically (research, visits, etc.) but more importantly, she helps strategically, shaping the agenda and the thinking through her communication with her child.
Q. What can colleges do to market to moms more effectively?
A. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Help mom and her child discover whether your college is likely to be a good ‘fit’ for her child. Help her make the visit a success with tips (e.g., hang back on the tour, where to stop for a bite to eat that the child will get a feel for the campus life etc). If you get her name, thank mom for the visit (her child probably won’t). Research and seek to understand. NOTHING is more important than understanding one’s target, one’s audience, and this is especially critical when it’s mom. There also may be opportunities to celebrate moms who have completed their education while being a mom, helping her be a role model for her children and reinforcing her educational values.
Q. How has the book influenced your work in marketing at Purdue?
A. Well, it certainly extended my working hours! In all seriousness, the book-coupled with my marketing philosophy (what I fondly refer to as the A,B,C’s of marketing: about the customer, build the brand, combine art and science), compelled me to focus on parent communications and the parental experience during college visits, orientations, and transitions, as well as to keep mom in mind as a consumer of all institutional messaging.
“Tuning into Mom: Understanding America’s Most Powerful Consumer“, will be available September 15.