Desperate measures  I recently took a flight to California and noticed that the airline had ramped up its profit-making efforts. There was a charge for every service and an ad on every printable surface. I felt like a hostage—strapped in with my seatbelt securely fastened—unable to escape the barrage of attempts to get into my wallet. These desperate revenue-raising measures suggest that air travel is an ailing industry.

When economic times are tough, the best practice is to exude optimism and confidence. Doing so reassures your audience that things are under control and all is well with your institution. Don’t succumb to the temptation to “oversell” your institution. Avoid cluttering your website’s homepage with sunburst graphics displaying your US News rankings next to boxes asking for gifts to the annual fund on top of flashing icons seeking participation in the latest, greatest capital campaign. According to The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Reis and Trout, owning a word in the prospect’s mind is the most powerful concept in marketing. However, you don’t want to own the words “desperate” or “needy.”