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Clicks Don’t Count!

As long as banner ads have been on websites, the number of clicks they garner has been the most important performance metric for an ad. Ads that get fewer clicks are canned in favor of those that get more. I questioned this (with Seth Godin’s unwitting help) a few years ago in College Branding and Banner Ads, and described both public and private research on brand perception changes from ads that people didn’t interact with. Now, there’s new research that underscores the weakness of the link between ad clicks and conversions (orders or requests for information). […]

By |April 25th, 2012|

Finding a College and Choice Architecture

It’s that time of year when many U.S. high school seniors are making their final college decisions. They have their last acceptance letters, and now must choose which school they will attend in the fall. It’s a good time to think about how the college search process begins, and how the choice architecture of the college decision process can be improved. […]

By |April 12th, 2012|

Get Schooled: Use Social Personalization Like Higher Ed

Colleges and universities face some unique marketing challenges in the U.S. With more than 3,000 competitors, attracting the right students takes effort and creativity. Even schools that have no trouble “filling the seats” have important enrollment objectives for academic accomplishment, extracurricular skills, and, in many cases, ability to pay. I’ve written about the need for colleges to differentiate themselves by strong branding (see College Branding, for example). Just about every school is trying to reach students via social media, but a few are taking it to the next level with social personalization and other techniques to create a unique marketing appeal for each potential applicant. […]

By |February 10th, 2012|

The Case FOR College Sports

Recently, Newsweek ran a big article titled The Case Against College Athletic Recruiting, with the sensational subtitle claiming that U.S. universities are “misappropriating resources” on sports. Accusing some of the nation’s most revered institutions of financial malfeasance is […]

By |September 27th, 2010|

College Branding, Personal Branding

Although the concept of personal branding was likely launched by Tom Peters’ excellent 1997 article, The Brand Called You, the idea that others perceive you as an amalgam of personal characteristics, experience, and qualities no doubt goes back millennia. […]

By |September 14th, 2010|

College Branding in an Open Source Era

At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive, I had a chance to speak with Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education. In her short but insightful book, Kamenetz outlines the forces that are starting to transform higher education in the U.S. and suggests alternative scenarios for what a college education might look like in the future. […]

By |May 11th, 2010|

College Branding: What if Harvard Moved Next Door?

Why do most college branding efforts end up as meaningless pablum? I think it’s because most colleges have been relatively insulated from the effects of devastating competition. In fact, historically there have been major barriers to competition in the cozy world of higher education. The biggest have been geography, cost, and reputation. Let’s look at those in turn: […]

By |November 2nd, 2009|

Just Say NO to Bland College Branding

I’ve been reading the recently released second edition of Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout, and there are some powerful (and timeless) messages there for all brands. Although the entire book is geared toward commercial brand differentiation, some of the comments relate directly to higher education marketing.

Trout takes on bland, meaningless product taglines with the same gusto I attacked college taglines that say nothing about the school in a previous Neuromarketing post. Here are a few of Trout’s ineffective tagline examples – see if you can match them up with their brand:
– “Your future made easier”
- “Yes you can”
- “Way of light”
- “Uncommon wisdom”
- “Shift” […]

By |October 27th, 2009|

Sexy Names for College Courses

I’ve written often lately about college branding, but have focused on developing the external brand of the institution. One thing that’s clear is that as skeptical as academics may be about the idea of branding, a few profs are actively employing the concept to increase enrollment in the courses they teach. If you had to fill an econ distribution requirement, would you prefer to take “Intro to Macroeconomic Theory” or “The Economics of Sin,” a course taught by Jessica Holmes, a 38-year-old economics professor at Middlebury? […]

By |September 9th, 2009|

College Branding: Taglines

One of the great things about social media is that a conversation can be extended quickly between sites and even continents. Such was my experience with my College Branding post. The first extension of the conversation was by Lou Caravella of Vital Communications, who wrote a blog post citing mine as inspiration but identifying a fascinating resource I hadn’t seen before and providing his own take. […]

By |July 29th, 2009|