Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Great video

July 9, 2008

Thanks to Artie Isaac for putting this one on his blog. Excellent concept and execution … and a worthy topic for a change.

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Rhythm and contrast

December 3, 2007

Here’s a link to something fun for a former typesetter like me.

Helvetica Happy 50th excerpt 1.

The first one has a fun visual montage. The 2nd one talks about the importance of type to design and the emotional impact of such subtle designer’s choices. For me, the movie illustrates the relevance of a designers ethos in communicating to today’s young people. Our Millennials are the most media savvy generation ever; and yet they seem to have no awareness of the diabolical machinations behind the media efforts that shape their perceptions of reality. Fortunately, all the college admissions marketers that I know take their responsibility seriously… and try to deliver reality, not just an advertiser’s agenda, to their audience.

Lovemarks are for alumni

November 1, 2007

Here’s my take on how to apply lovemarks theory to college admissions or advancement. The X and Y axes increase in value as you go up and to the right. ORK’s Lovemarks diagramIf a college does promotions, creates buzz, projects hipness, starts fads, engages in window-dressing, etc., the students who respond will be showing love in the Saatchi sense: commitment without logical basis.

On the other hand, if the college emphasizes reasons, traditions, points of distinction… all the logical basis for selecting one school over another, and staking its brand claims on particular areas of excellence … then it would be building respect, or brand identity, in its prospects. In admissions marketing, the reality is that both approaches are probably necessary. Some students decide on the basis of a feeling, and some make spreadsheets and weigh the facts. Each college knows what it wants to hang its hat on — the traditions and values and facts, or the post-modernistic ethos that resonates with a certain mind-set. Using the principle of different strokes for different folks, build respect for your distinctives and traditions, while at the same time fostering buzz, Facebook networks, emotional tie-ins to various interest groups.

For alumni, the reality of your school experience is your ticket to a lovemark. In four years, a lovemark can develop. Every graduate who feels they got their money’s worth, they came of age, they met the love of their life, they were challenged beyond measure, or made life-long friends … will graduate with a loyalty that goes well beyond reason, and can guarantee the stability of the institution for years to come.

Lovemarks and College branding

November 1, 2007

Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi has championed the idea of lovemarks as the ultimate level of brand loyalty. Think Apple or Harley-Davidson. His definition is “Loyalty beyond Reason.” With a brand, there is high respect. With a fad, there is high love but low respect. With a lovemark, there is high respect AND high love.

To Roberts, love here means three things: mystery, sensuality, and intimacy… sounds like eros, and Madison Avenue certainly knows how to incorporate sex if they can. But mystery is the word Saatchi likes to use to describe the stories, metaphors, and symbolism of the brand. It adds complexity and compelling drama to the personality of the brand.

Sensuality refers to the multiple ways the brand communicates with its target. And intimacy describes each customer’s amount of empathy or passion or commitment to the brand.

And here is where I think lovemarks and colleges naturally collide: because the bottom line for a lovemark as defined by its inventors is this:

“Take a brand away and people will find a replacement. Take a lovemark away and people will protest its absence.”

I don’t think very many colleges can expect incoming students to reach that kind of loyalty or commitment during the admissions process. The fact is students have lots of choices and they’ll matriculate wherever they feel drawn at the moment.

I’d suggest that colleges really do develop a lovemark with their students over the course of four years. Most alumni WOULD protest if their alma-mater were taken away. Once they’ve invested their lives there, they have loyalty beyond reason. Which of course is the leverage that makes fundraising possible.

For admissions marketing, I think the reality is more reserved. Except for perhaps full-pay legacy students, a college will not often be able to be a true lovemark for its prospectives.

Harder and harder to impress

October 31, 2007

In his book, Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins of MIT writes, “…the American viewing public is becoming harder and harder to impress.” (I always love it when I find authors who state the obvious in such a dead-pan tone). In this context Henry is speaking about the American Idol phenomenon, and my embellishment of his argument is that stories, personalities, surprises are the magnet that can get people involved enough in a media event to not only watch it passively, but engage in other points of contact such as music purchases, websites, related products, concerts, etc. Dr. Jenkins describes the approach of one consultant, Initiative Media, in attempting to measure a new category of viewership called “expression”. Expression as Jenkins retells it means not only time spent watching a program, but degree of loyalty, affinity for the program and its sponsors, and cultural or social expressions of that affinity. This could mean wearing a T-shirt, posting a message on a website, creating a parody of a commercial, or recommending the show or a product to a friend.

Applying this principle to the college admissions market, I would say that savvy college admissions officers have been pursuing “expression” techniques for years, though they still might not have a way to measure it. College wearables, athletic events, concerts, sib weekends, websites and microsites, email campaigns, etc. are all long-standing ingredients of the admissions marketing soup aimed at “expression”… multiple points of involvement as opposed to merely college-initiated contact.

And yes, it’s harder and harder to impress them, either with a viewbook/brochure or a video/DVD. The key is DO NOT TRY to impress. Forget making it ideal. Just make it real, self-effacing, humorous, modest, blunt, edgy, unfinished, ongoing, serial, engaging, open-ended, fresh….honest in the eyes of a skeptic.