I often wonder what the world would be like if everyone went to college (or if everyone had to be a waiter or work at a retail store – surely everyone would be a lot more considerate!). There’s no doubt society would be different, and whether you think the world would be a better or worse place if everyone went to college, there are a few facts I think many of us can agree on. The first is that people who don’t belong in college, as Judith Scott-Clayton says, are the ones who don’t want to go.
Scott-Clayton had some great snippets in her recent New York Times article, writing:
While college may be a great investment, it’s not like investing in the stock market: a prospective student can’t just fork over some money and let someone else worry about how to make it grow. For college to have any payoff, students must participate in the process by going to class and engaging with course materials, peers and instructors.
She uses a great metaphor of comparing investing in education by enrolling in college to investing in health by joining a gym. “An excellent idea, but only for those who will actually go and break a sweat.”
Of course, the most important part of the debate of whether everyone should be able to go to college is about access. As Scott-Clayton says, “we ought to at least aspire to a world in which the decision to opt out is well informed, unrelated to family background and not the result of unequal access to good institutions at either the pre-college or college level.” And I think that’s something we can all agree on.
Entrepreneur teamed with The Values Institute at DGWB, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based think tank that focuses on brand relationships, on a consumer survey that explored the reasons some brands manage to stay on top. According to the article, Secrets of the 10 Most-Trusted Brands, what became clear is that today’s must trustworthy brands have created relationships with consumers through experiences that trigger a visceral response.
Below is a summary of the tactics used America’s most trustworthy brands to connect with consumers. Read the article for the full description of how each brand listed lives out the tactic employed.
1. Get personal: Amazon
2. Sell happiness: Coca-Cola
3. Live up to your promise: FedEx
4. Keep it cool (and fun): Apple
5. Design an experience: Target
6. Stay consistent: Ford
7. Can-do attitude: Nike
8. Forge connections: Starbucks
9. Serve up the quirky: Southwest Airlines
10. Focus on the customer: Nordstrom
And because I have to, here is some background on the research methodology: The Values Institute, which conducted the study, identified five values that influence trust in a brand: ability (company performance); concern (care for consumers, employees and community); connection (sharing consumers’ values); consistency (dependability of products/services); and sincerity (openness and honesty).
A total of 1,220 U.S. consumers were asked to rate each trust value on a five-point scale, from “very unimportant” to “very important.” Additionally, five consumer perceptions were measured for each value; these included statements such as “They respond to feedback about their products and services,” and “They value my business and reward me for the loyalty.” Each respondent rated two randomly selected brands; those who felt strongly were also asked to provide individual comments. The result is the “Trust Index,” a composite score that indicates the level of trust respondents had with each individual brand in relation to the other studied brands.
– Renee Daly, Director of Project Strategy
The March 15th edition of the AMA‘s Marketing News had a great little piece by Jack Trout; the Mic Jagger of positioning, the Ghandi of branding. It’s a short (but great) little blurb that outlines the following 5 “important elements in the positioning process.”
1. Minds are limited - “In our over-communicated society, the human mind is a totally inadequate container, so you must be very careful with your message and be very aware of what is ALREADY in the mind about you and your competitors.” Such an important point for the ultimate over-communicators of all time……colleges and universities.
2. Minds hate confusion - “What’s the secret to being remembered? Keep it simple.” Another great reminder for higher education. If you want to see simplicity, you better stay off pretty much every college/university Web site out there. NOT blaming higher ed marketers here. You don’t even control most of your Web site…..that’s a major part of the problem.
3. Minds are insecure - “Minds tend to be emotional, not rational.” Most of your current students are either unwilling or unable (more likely) to tell you exactly why they chose your institution. That’s why you keep getting “it just felt right” when you do your research. Same is true for alumni and donors. When you ask why they give, they just say “I love the place” or “It’s the right thing to do.” We still need research so that we can understand that emotional mind as best we can….but we also need to keep in mind that understanding exactly how and why people make decision is an elusive quest.
4. Minds don’t change - “It turns out that we’re actually more impressed by what we already know (or buy) than what’s new.” That means that when you are developing a new program in Information Security, it’s better to go ahead and name it an MS in Information Security than to give is some new fancy name that is totally unfamiliar.
5. Minds can lose focus - Don’t fall into the line extension trap. Don’t market each of your colleges and schools separately. You are just confusing your customers and they WILL lose focus of your core brand.
Thanks Jack….40 years later, you’re still a rock star.
Click here to follow me on Twitter
While it has been a very long day, it has been one I won’t forget. Today I took a bullet train from Tokyo to Sendai, a town 280 miles north. To give you an idea why they are referred to as a bullet train, it took an hour and a half to cover that distance…with one stop along the way!
My purpose of the trip was to visit Sendai University. This is a private university which knows its brand position. It is the only school in the north of Japan whose focus is on sports marketing, management and physical education. I was to give a lecture to the staff of Sendai and the Tohoku Institute of Technology on marketing of higher education. But first I received a tour of the tsunami ravaged coast. Sendai was one of the cities hit hard by the tsunami that occurred on March 11 of last year. The tidal surge advanced almost a mile on shore and did not leave too much standing in its wake. Where whole neighborhoods existed, now are only concrete footprints.
It was truly moving to see a wrecked boat almost a mile inland sitting alone in a field or a tree perched on a rooftop of an almost demolished house.
The tour was preceded by lunch at a restaurant that specializes in beef tongue. When I say they specialize in it, I really mean they have nothing else on the menu. You could order beef tongue in an amazing number of varieties, including curried tongue! I was brought here as It was considered a local treat. The Japanese hospitality knows no bounds. Despite that, I don’t think I will be going down to the local market to see if I can replicate this meal anytime soon.
The lecture was followed by tremendous dinner at a downtown hotel. I got to know one of my hosts, Mr. Marty Kuehart, an American who has lived in Japan for over 40 years. Marty has been the general manager for a number of professional baseball teams here in Japan. His baseball stories in themselves made the trip memorable!
Finally, we headed back to Tokyo on the bullet train getting home after 11:00 at night. I am ready for bed also excited about what tomorrow brings!
Vice President and Partner
I just finished day one of a five day trip to Japan and am wondering how it will get better than this. While I did miss St. Patrick’s almost completely, ( I left on the 16th from the States but due to the dateline arrived late in the day on the 17th), it is a trip I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Today I was the guest of honor at my good friend, Professor Takeki Funato’s retirement party and final lecture. Funato-San is the person credited with bringing the concepts of enrollment management and the marketing of higher education to Japan. In particular, he heads up an association of private universities and colleges in the country. He retired from J.F. Oberlin University where he has led a graduate seminar and major in higher education marketing for nearly a decade. Before that he was a university administrator for almost thirty years. Professor Funato has led groups of his graduate students and association members, (mostly presidents and board members) on visits to American universities and colleges for years in fact finding and idea generation trips. I was happy to host his group twice at Xavier over the years, most recently in August of 2011.
I was asked to lead off the event with two presentations on higher education marketing but the real treat was Professor Funato’s final lecture. He provided reflections and points of learning that he amassed over his career. Over 60 of his former students and colleagues attended the day long event to learn one last time form their mentor and friend.
In true Japanese style the day ended with plenty of speeches, toasts and even karaoke!
Tomorrow I travel to the city of Sendai, a city hit hard by the earthquake that created so much damage just a short time ago. I will visit Sendai University, give a presentation and get a tour of the city and the process of recovery from such a major natural disaster.
Vice President and Partner
I love the way my alma mater James Madison University (go Dukes!) is getting alumni involved.
Starting Mach 30, the JMU Alumni Association is holding a contest to find the most creative JMU license plate. Alums submit a photo of their plate to the Alumni Association who will post the photos to the JMU Alumni Association Facebook page. Fans of the page can “like” their favorites and the winner will bedetermined by popular vote.
SimpsonScarborough, a higher education market research firm headquartered in Old Town Alexandria, is seeking summer interns with academic background in marketing and/or communications. Candidates should be current juniors or seniors and/or have completed at least three quarters of their marketing and/or communications studies. SimpsonScarborough interns will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with market research projects.
* Help with the creation and formatting of client presentations and reports
* Learn how to recruit for focus groups
* Learn how to work with quantitative analysis
* Participate in proposal preparation
* Travel to at least one client meeting with SimpsonScarborough staff
Interns are asked to work 40 hours a week; $3,000 stiped is available. For greater detail about the firm, please visit our website at www.simpsonscarborough.com.
For more information or to submit your resume for consideration, please contact:
Director of Project Strategy
1403 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
About a week ago a few of us from HQ took a trip down to Paint This, a cute little paint your own pottery studio in Old Town. We needed a break from the office, and this was the perfect activity for a little mid-day relaxation (also, the office was sorely in need of new coffee mugs). It was so much fun to see everyone’s creativity at work! I picked up the finished pieces today, and they turned out beautifully. Are we talented artists, or what?! Well, maybe it isn’t quite time to quit our day jobs:).
Want to get the most out of your social media efforts? It’s all about research and buy-in according to Coca-Cola.
Here are a few of the big ideas:
- Better focus means better listening. Focus your tools on a few key topics for each of their brands. These topics range from everything from music to sports — and with their tools, they’re able to measure these critical conversations in more than 32 languages.
- Make sure everyone’s using the same numbers. With so many conversations being monitored by so many people, Coca-Cola established key, baseline metrics that everyone tracks. This makes it easier to compare reports and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Train champions in departments to help it spread. Coca-Cola’s listening platform and available tools are still new to much of the company. To help earn buy-in and participation, Coca-Cola found success by training “champions” in departments who could then teach others and encourage them to use the tools.
Check out the presentation below to learn more.