Archive for the ‘Fall 2010’ Category

SEEN AND NOTED

Seen and Noted

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Frustrated with bland marketing strategy and ineffective materials? Relax! The latest issue of Cram Quarterly is here.

SEEN AND NOTED

Before coffee . . . after coffee

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Before coffee … after coffee

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

The tagline that helped change the world

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The tagline that helped change the world I recently heard a lecture by Greg Mortenson, the co-author of Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson is a humanitarian who believes that building schools in poverty-striken communities is a powerful way to promote peace. I was intrigued when he mentioned the fight he had with his publishers about the book’s tagline. The publishers insisted the line should read, “One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations…One School at a Time.” Unable to convince them otherwise, Mortenson let the book go to print. That first edition met with moderate success, selling around 20,000 copies. For the paperback version, Mortenson was able to convince the publisher to change the tagline to his preferred wording, “One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time.” Interestingly, the book then soared to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and remained there for three years. To date, over 4 million copies of the book have been sold.

The right tagline does matter, and as this example demonstrates, people crave positive messaging. As Mortenson says, “If you just fight terrorism, it’s based in fear. If you promote peace, it’s based in hope.” As we communicate with our audiences, perhaps we should borrow a page from Mortenson’s book. Covering the accomplishments of faculty and students who are doing research or otherwise engaged in works that improve lives will not only demonstrate your school’s value to the world, but will also make your publications more appealing to audiences.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Sunglasses or drill bits?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Sunglasses or drill bits? The Chilean miners who were rescued after spending months trapped underground owe their freedom to many people from different walks of life. Oakley donated expensive sunglasses to protect the miners’ eyes when they resurfaced into daylight. And a Pennsylvania company, Center Rock Incorporated, manufactured the drill bits used to bore the hole that eventually became the escape hatch. When comparing these two stories, one is much more touching and memorable than the other. The people at Oakley sent a product, and they have since been widely criticized for “cashing in” on the situation. In contrast, the guys from Center Rock traveled to Chile and worked around the clock to reach the captive miners. The interviewed employee teared up when he recalled seeing the drill come through the ceiling of the miners’ refuge.

Many organizations are engaged in giving back to the community. But as the contrast between these two examples shows, giving money or goods may not garner the kind of attention you seek. Put people on the ground who get their hands dirty and engage in human interaction—now that’s a story that will tug at the heartstrings and give audiences an emotional connection to your institution.

Contributed by Jenny

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

The next big thing

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The next big thing Check out this “futuristic” astronaut suit conceptualized in 1961. Luckily for Neil Armstrong, the oversized trashcan look went out of style before we actually reached the moon.

In marketing, trying to predict the future can have equally silly results. Even when we are using research to inform design, we can’t always know what lies ahead. For example, what would we have done differently years ago if we had foreseen the internet and social media?

On the flip side, if the iPod and cell phone had been invented in 1977, what would they have looked like? One artist answered that question with a series of humorous images using common design elements from the ’70s: square corners, old-fashioned fonts, antiquated names (such as the “LapTron”), and a brown and orange color palette. The title of his series, “We are not Time Travelers,” reminds us that although no one can exactly predict the future, we do need to expect the unexpected and stay flexible.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Don’t destroy the power of your point

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Don’t destroy the power of your point In this now-famous viral video, the “Double Rainbow guy” gets a little too excited when he catches an alluring glimpse of Mother Nature in Yosemite Park. Although the video is pretty hilarious, you can’t help but marvel at the videographer’s child-like enthusiasm. But look what happens when the clip is summarized in a PowerPoint slide.

We’ve lamented the ineffectiveness of PowerPoint in our newsletter before. This example is another reminder that bad design can kill the power of your messages. Thoughtful concepts and outstanding images can capture and convey the meaning and feeling behind the words. Does your graphic standards manual include PowerPoint guidelines for the admissions and development offices who are often out on the road representing your institution? If not, it should, to ensure that your image is under control.

Contributed by Katie

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Shuttering at the thought

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Shuttering at the thought Once upon a time, window shutters actually had a function. You could open them to let the light in, close them to keep out the rain, and adjust the slats to let in a breeze. Now that central air and storm windows have taken over those homely duties, there’s not much left for the shutter to do. But they are still with us, often nailed fast to the sides of gigantic picture windows in comic disproportion.

Whatever happened to form following function? It’s easy to see the humor here, but why don’t we see the gobs of similarly obsolete ornamentation in our websites and print materials? Curlicue color backgrounds, blinking buttons, arrows pointing in all directions, sun bursts, and drop shadows are cluttering our messages. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. Look at every element on the screen or page and ask, “What does this do?” If you can’t answer, then your audience probably won’t know why it’s there, either.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Hold the anchovies, and other recipes for social media success

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Hold the anchovies, and other recipes for social media success Papa John’s leveraged social media to generate buzz and online chatter at minimal expense this summer with a “Specialty Pizza Challenge” Contest. Customers were invited to create their own pizza, write a catchy title and description, and harness the power of Facebook and other media outlets to garner support for the new recipe.

After receiving 12,000 entries, Papa John’s selected three finalists and gave them each $1,000 to market their pizza, which was added to the menu during the month of August. The creation that won the largest share of sales, the “Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu,” was declared the winner. In the end, the contest winner was successful because she was a better marketer, not necessarily a better pizza creator. But the real winner here is Papa John’s: for $3,000, they received a ton of advertising via social networks, all put in motion by the contestants.

Contributed by Theresa

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

The logo gap

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The logo gap Did you see the new Gap logo? You can stop waiting for your computer to download the rest of the graphic—that’s it. Somehow the word GAP within a square worked fine for us. But moving the square outside the type just doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the stockholders didn’t want to move away from the blue square, and they insisted on keeping an element from the old logo. In any case, the redesign raised so much criticism that the parent company retracted it and plans to keep the original.

Before recreating your institution’s logo, you might want to perform some research:

Get inspired by award-winning logo designs.

Pick the brain of the man who created the FedEx logo.

Contributed by Katie

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

How to cross the street in NYC

Friday, October 29th, 2010

How to cross the street in NYC Who knew crossing the street could be so complicated and confusing? As communicators, we need to beware of over-explaining. Providing too much information can confuse the issue, or unintentionally insult the intelligence of our audience members.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Mixed messages

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Mixed messages In spite of careful planning, thorough research, and exemplary execution, we cannot completely control how marketing messages will be interpreted by audiences. Look closely at the sign above. The original message has been altered by a precisely placed sticker. The result is humorous, although the meaning of the message has changed. In another example, the campaign signs for a candidate for sheriff have been vandalized by a culprit with a sense of humor. Perhaps the aspiring sheriff should show up to his next public appearance dressed like the caped crusader. After all, wouldn’t a superhero make a great sheriff?

When audiences manipulate your materials, whether for the better or worse, don’t take it personally; instead, try and determine how you can benefit from the interest.

Contributed by Jenny

FEATURE : When the Shark Bites

When the Shark Bites

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I recently saw a documentary on the making of the movie Jaws and was captivated by the complex back story to the movie that launched Steven Spielberg’s career. A host of problems plagued the production—personality conflicts, technical problems, budget overruns, and missed deadlines—all of which made me squirm uncomfortably with recognition. In fact, I’m convinced that anyone in educational marketing will empathize and commiserate with Spielberg’s troubles on set.

One of the biggest problems was the shark. Spielberg’s team built three mechanical sharks—a full version for underwater shooting and two partial versions with left and right “mechanical guts” exposed for easy manipulation during shooting. The models were tested in a lake and performed beautifully. However, once immersed in seawater, the hydraulics corroded and the shark never functioned properly despite the efforts of a dozen lever-pulling crew members.

Instead of throwing in the towel, Spielberg threw himself into turning the challenge into a solution. The shark was written out of much of the script and did not appear until the last quarter of the movie. Instead of showing the shark, Spielberg used a number of imaginative techniques to create a sense of dread. He shot low in the water from a shark’s viewpoint while the two-note musical score pounded in the background like a terrified heartbeat. He used visual clues like a dorsal fin or yellow barrels that had been entangled around the shark’s body to create a sense of the animal’s presence. In fact, by not showing the creature, the suspense is even more palpable.

2010 marks the 35th anniversary of the making of Jaws, but the lesson learned is timeless. A good dose of imagination can turn disaster into triumph. May we all meet our problems with Spielberg’s spirit.

Contributed by Domenica

FEATURE : CCSU Website

CCSU Website

Friday, October 29th, 2010

GCF recently completed a brand identity, including a themeline, logo, website, and collateral materials, for Central Connecticut State University’s annual giving campaign. The themeline, “Success begins with CCSU,” shows that the university provides its students with a foundation for a rewarding future. The purpose of the campaign website is to make the giving experience both informative and compelling. Visitors can learn how, why, and where to give, and read success stories from the perspective of select students and faculty members. Each story is accompanied by large rotating portraits that create a sense of motion without video. Also included are “quick takes” that share reasons why others have given.

NOTEWORTHY

Photos in your space

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Photos in your space A NYC photographer explores what your living or working space says about you. Todd Selby started out shooting his friends, and posting the results online. Requests came pouring in from creative people—and companies—around the world who wanted “The Selby” to shoot them in their natural habitats as well. Selby released a book earlier this year as well (The Selby is in Your Place). The results are beautiful—and revealing.

NOTEWORTHY

Same as it ever was

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Same as it ever was They say that people never really change, and this blog seems to support that theory. Everyone has family photos from their childhood. Perhaps a reenactment of one of yours is in order?

NOTEWORTHY

Losing our minds to the web

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Losing our minds to the web The Internet may make information more accessible, but is our culture of constant Googling, wikipedia’ing, and tweeting actually making us dumber? This article discusses The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (Norton), a new book by Nicholas Carr. Strangely enough, none of us were able to make it all the way to the end of the article…

NOTEWORTHY

New uses for old objects

Friday, October 29th, 2010

New uses for old objects Two thousand years ago, items that were used for everyday tasks like eating, washing, and writing were unremarkable to those who used them. Now, those items that remain intact are objects of interest and curiosity, displayed in museums for us to examine. Those artifacts help us feel connected to the people who handled them long ago. It’s interesting to see how the value of an object changes once it is no longer needed.

As technology develops, the tools of learning and creativity that were recently a part of everyday life are rapidly becoming antiques. Today’s artists are turning books into collages, typewriter keys into jewelry, and pencils into miniature sculptures. Take a look at the amazing mini-creations one artist has made from old pencil stubs, and the small city this man has made from millions of staples. It’s nice to know that these wonderful tools have found a new purpose in the artwork of these imaginative artists.

NOTEWORTHY

Regulating fake online reviews

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Regulating fake online reviews When you rate a restaurant, bar, brand, or purchase online, you’re not usually required to provide details such as your name and contact information. As a result, there is no real way to verify that the review is from a neutral consumer. False advertising, on the other hand, is relatively easy to regulate. If a company’s ad makes false claims, the company can be punished.

The Federal Trade Commission is starting to crack down on fake endorsements, as described in this blog post. The methodology might not be perfect yet, but at least they’re trying.

NOTEWORTHY

News you can peruse

Friday, October 29th, 2010

News you can peruse The GCF team recently made the trip to DC’s Newseum to find inspiration and to explore the roots of journalism. We were struck not only by the history lessons but also by the beauty of the building itself.

NOTEWORTHY

Vending machines have their say

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Vending machines have their say New vending machines make drink recommendations based on your gender, age, and the weather. What’s next—machines with scales that make food recommendations based on your body-mass index?

COOL TOOLS

Cool Tools

Friday, October 29th, 2010

SLAP Widgets These new tools offer shape and texture with the flexibility and portability of virtual gear.

Colorful fun If you’re looking to kill a little time, try out this fun (and very addicting!) game based on color.

iPhone tutorial Still struggling with your iPhone touch screen keyboard? Check out these tips and tricks.

CLICK-ALICIOUS

Click-alicious

Friday, October 29th, 2010

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I’m certainly guilty of occasionally judging a bottle of wine by its label! Here are some really innovative ones.

Need a little inspiration? Take a quick break and check out these image gallery sites for cards, posters, photos, and more:
http://ffffound.com/
http://www.notcot.org/

Barcodes don’t have to be ugly and boring!

If stacks of books make your heart beat faster, you’ll love: Bookshelf porn

See the real “Mad Men” speak about their work in this award-winning film.

Join us

Join us

Friday, October 29th, 2010

. . . Online

CASE Online Speaker Series
December 9, 2010

Staying Connected: 100 Alumni Web Pages
For ten years, GCF has been studying and comparing college websites with its Annual 100 College Website survey. Brenda Foster and Katie Pugh will present the results of this year’s focus, alumni web pages, to show what’s working, what’s not, and how alumni sites can be improved. See how your alumni website stacks up and explore how to promote communication, increase awareness for financial support, and create a more positive overall experience for your alumni when they visit your site. Click here to go to the CASE site where you can register for the presentation.

FEEDBACK

Do you have comments, questions, or story ideas that you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue of the Cram Quarterly? If so, email Brenda or call her at 410-467-4672.

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