Archive for the ‘Spring 2010’ Category

SEEN AND NOTED

School’s out!

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

School’s out! Time to head to your favorite vacation spot. But don’t forget to bring your laptop so you can read the latest news on the Cram Quarterly.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Presidents who tweet

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Presidents who tweet Social media, in contrast to mass emails, websites, and print media, connects you with thousands of people with one tweet or one status update—immediately. This article encourages high-level corporate managers to join the conversation in an authentic way to build audience connections with the company. The same philosophy can apply to colleges. If the president and dean are sharing their thoughts with followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook, they will connect more deeply with audiences than they would on a generalized institutional account.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Which one is not like the other?

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Which one is not like the other? Have you heard of the Nexus One? Maybe not, but chances are you have heard of the iPhone. Nexus One is Google’s contribution to the smart phone world and was supposed to outsell Apple’s popular iPhone. In an ultra competitive field, Google failed because of its lack of effective marketing. The lesson for higher education is this: the student experience may or may not be unique at your school. But if you don’t get the word out to potential students, it won’t matter because they won’t realize your institution exists.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

What’s in a name?

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

What’s in a name? Comcast is changing its name to Xfinity. Here I thought Xfinity was a new product Comcast was offering and would potentially increase my cable bill by $30 each month. After all, in the TV commercials, the voiceover says, “Comcast introduces Xfinity.” It wasn’t until I saw their competitor’s commercial that I understood Xfinity is a new name, not a new product. Consumers resist change (remember New Coke?) but being so subtle that the public doesn’t even know what you are talking about won’t help solidify a new image.

To clear matters up, I Googled Xfinity. Google, formerly BackRub, underwent its own name change in1998. There’s a name change of which we all probably approve. Xfinity has its own website and offers live Chat Support. Willard (and you have to wonder if that is his real name) was very helpful. I asked, “How is Xfinity different than my current Comcast service? Is this a name change for Comcast? Will my bills come from Xfinity?”

His eventual response was, “Well, Xfinity is just rebranding the Comcast package but Comcast will stay the same.”

Oh.

Why do companies change their names? Is it to clean up a tarnished image and prevent negative associations? Such was the case when Philip Morris, which owns Kraft Foods, changed its name to Altria Group. It’s easy to understand why the world’s largest tobacco company wouldn’t want us thinking about Marlboros when we bite into our Oreos.

Basically, the public will continue to use the nomenclature they prefer. When the Sears Tower in Chicago was renamed last year, local opposition was so strong, it resulted in a web site—ItsTheSearsTower.com—and a Facebook site with 97,000 followers—People Against the Sears Tower Name Change. And Sears hasn’t even occupied the building in 17 years.

Name changes work when they create a positive and clearly understood image. And a little clear warning doesn’t hurt either.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Slug bug!

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Slug bug! Volkswagen reintroduces an old childhood game in their humorous new commercials. This is great advertising—making people laugh, linking a product to fond childhood recollections, and causing audiences to remember the brand.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Whoaaaa! Who thought THAT was a good idea?

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Whoaaaa! Who thought THAT was a good idea? My eyeballs were recently assaulted when I opened an email solicitation from a stock photo house. The choice of image on their open for business announcement made me cringe. Here’s the link if you’d like to see for yourself, but don’t forget I warned you first! This is a classic case of knowing what you want to say but failing to consider your audience. It reminds me of a similar incident many years ago while talking with a rep from a paper mill. To show me the printability of a certain stock he pulled out a commercial sample—a newsletter by a wildlife management organization. I remember gasping in horror at the cover photo of a deer tangled in barbed wire. The rep was so focused on showing how well the stock prints that he overlooked the obvious. What’s the lesson learned? Know what you want to say and then put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Never move forward with a marketing strategy without looking at it from both sides.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Dear [insert name here]

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Dear [insert name here] I recently received an email that made me feel like a nobody. My name in the greeting appeared in a much smaller font than the rest of the message. This flub revealed the email for what it was—a mass mailing disguised as a personal message. If your institution uses an email program to forge connections with students, parents, donors, or friends, make sure it works seamlessly. Otherwise, you may be sending them the wrong message.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

There is no box

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

There is no box Thinking outside the box? Think again. Here are some of the world’s most innovative ads. How do yours compare?

FEATURE : A conversation with location photographer Bill Denison

A conversation with location photographer Bill Denison

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

As a location photographer, Bill Denison has been shooting professionally for about 25 years. He has helped hundreds of schools, colleges, and universities put pictures to their stories. We enouraged Bill to put down the camera and talk to us about photography, art, and life.

What makes a photo great? It’s the dynamic in the photo. It’s when everything comes together—the expression, the lighting, the composition—and it all looks natural.

Have you noticed any new trends in campus photography? Yes. I’ve noticed that there is less reliance on lighting and fine tuning…people want more real-life shooting with a more spontaneous feel. Digital photography has been a great help in getting that spontaneity because it’s quicker to shoot and you don’t have to spend time setting up lights. I think there is still a need for some set up shots, though. A photographer needs to be able to do both, depending on the situation. There is also a trend to put more photography on websites—especially video interviews or day-in-the-life scenes.

Is it better to shoot classroom scenes as they happen naturally or do you prefer to control the scene? Just shooting as an observer can work if the room is attractive and there is good light in the room and on the professor. If not, it’s best to get cooperation from the professor and students. Otherwise the interaction you are looking for may never happen. Without control, you may have to wait for the right moment. If you have limited time, this eats into your schedule. So, if you’re trying to get a specific shot as quickly as possible, I always prefer setting up the scene.

Why did you decide to become a photographer? Photography is a great marriage between the technical and artistic sides of me. When I was 7 years old I got a Brownie Starmite II for Christmas. I took a few pictures and the feedback I got was, “wow, these are really good.” I would take a few pictures, and because it was so expensive, I’d put the camera down for a month or so. Then I would pick it up again and take some more. I used to set up little scenes and have the neighbor kids act while I’d shoot. I went off to college and drifted away from photography. After college, I got my grandfather’s Kodak camera, and before you knew it, I was back shooting.


What should a client look for when hiring a photographer? It’s a given that a photographer should know lighting and good composition. What you need is someone who is personable. You have to be able to interact with a wide range of personalities. You also have to be flexible—and react to the moment. You have to be able to deal with whatever happens.

What do you do about bad weather? Weather plays a role in how the whole shoot turns out. If you need campus beauty shots, and it’s raining, you need to reschedule. That’s why it’s great to break up the shoot.

What if the campus isn’t a beauty? There is always something on campus that is attractive but sometimes you just have to focus on shooting people and let the background give a sense of place. Good cropping and framing and choosing the right lens also help.

What makes a video great? When any one of the individual stills you take out of it is beautiful, it’s a great video. A video needs cohesiveness and intelligence and a sense of composition, lighting, and pacing. The audio also needs to be potent. You can easily dazzle with motion, but without intelligence, it’s just a gimmick.

All photos by Bill Denison
Click here to see more of Bill’s work.

FEATURE : Widener Magazine

Widener Magazine

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Widener magazine is hot off press and receiving great reviews from alumni. One letter to the editor stated, “I am writing to commend you and all the other people involved with Widener magazine for the sterling result of the Spring 2010 issue. In the 57 years of my experience with Widener it is the finest piece of internally-produced literature of which I am aware.” Great writing, powerful images, and clean design contribute to the magazine’s success.

FEATURE : That’s a wrap

That’s a wrap

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

The mad hatter from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland recently graced the cover of the Los Angeles Times, in the foreground of two already-run newspaper articles. The startling photo was not part of an actual cover story, but a marketing ploy to garner attention for the movie. As this article explains, the blurring of the lines between real news and paid advertising has created quite a buzz. The problem with confusing audiences in this way is that it erodes trust. The LA Times may have risked its credibility by allowing an ad to look like the front page. And once audience trust is betrayed, it’s very difficult to rebuild.

FEATURE : Experience control—the difference between success and failure

Experience control—the difference between success and failure

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Why does a very cool, contemporary, high-end spa in Utah succeed and a very cool, contemporary, high-end community in Baltimore fail? Both are well planned, stylish, and unique. Both attract lots of attention. So why is Amangiri filled to capacity while The Overlook at Clipper Mill recently declared bankruptcy?

The difference? Experience control.

A mile off the main road and well into the desert, the Amangiri experience is carefully controlled to shut out the distractions of the world so that visitors can glory in the quiet magnificence of the setting. The resort blends beautifully into the ruggedly gorgeous Southwestern landscape. When you first arrive, no less than five people welcome you at your car, escort you around the premises, and then to your room. Every detail—from the pillows carefully arranged on sofas to spacious bathroom windows that frame the landscape—says, “Relax, we’re attending to your needs.” Tipping is not allowed and the only time a guest needs to think about money is when paying the bill at check out.

The Overlook at Clipper Mill is a community of  modern contemporary homes with wooded views and the latest in sustainable design. The site created quite a buzz in the local media and hundreds of visitors toured the model home. I know, I was one of them. I discovered that many of my friends also took the tour and were tempted. But not a single one of us took the plunge. The Overlook is perched at the top of a hill bordering a park, but a cluster of new, graceless townhomes is prominently visible from the south side—not exactly the view that will appeal to a contemporary homeowner. Although the park offers a pleasant green backdrop on the north side, it has a long-standing reputation for crime—not a quality that inspires the new home buyer.

The message? Good design doesn’t guarantee success. You have to think beyond the design and control the experience.

NOTEWORTHY

Where in the world is…

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Where in the world is… Rumor has it that starting next month, Facebook may allow users to automatically share their location using location-based technology. When users post a status update, the new technology could share where the user was when he or she wrote it. Question is, should you tell the world where you are? The creators of PleaseRobMe.com don’t think so. They set out to make Internet users aware of how sharing their location could be used against them if they’re not careful.

NOTEWORTHY

A touchy subject

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

A touchy subjectTouch screens are widely available beyond mobile phones. However, when you think about the ergonomics of using a touch computer screen, you’ll begin to understand why it isn’t as popular as its little sibling, the touch-screen phone. It’s one thing to press a button on a phone; it’s quite another to pinpoint a tiny button on a large screen.

NOTEWORTHY

“Glee”-ful videos

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

“Glee”-ful videos We’re not sure if it’s due to the popularity of the network television show “Glee,” but colleges are beginning to release admissions videos set to music with singing and dancing. Amusing, yes. Effective? You be the judge.

NOTEWORTHY

A gold medal in tweeting?

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

A gold medal in tweeting? Collegesurfing.com, which helps prospective students narrow their college search, recently held the “College Olympics” and awarded medals to the institutions that made the most effective use of social media. If you’re not sure how your school would compare, check out the descriptions of each winner to see what you could be doing better. For even more ideas on how to take your institution’s social media pulse, check out pamorama.net’s “100 Ways to Measure Social Media.”

NOTEWORTHY

In the palm of your hand, literally

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

In the palm of your hand, literally A new technology called Skinput will allow phone users to answer calls and perform other functions through hand movements. Sensors in an armband pick up the sounds of a person’s movements and communicate them to a device. The technology will be commercially available in a few years when its accuracy is fine-tuned.

COOL TOOLS

Cool Tools

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Fun text generator
Spice up your next tweet or email message with options like an upside-down phrase or binary code.

Dirty text?
Clean up dumb quotes, double-hyphens meant to be em dashes, and more with the Clean Text generator.

The smartest search engine ever
See how WolframAlpha works, and then use its genius! (website and video)

Kindle for the Mac
There’s now a free app for the Mac that allows you to turn your computer or laptop into an electronic reading device.

Giving by way of the cell phone
Harness the power of giving by text message with GiveByCell.com. They feature over 700 nonprofit organizations and charge givers through their cell phone bills.

Tiny solar panels
Now you can charge your iPhone, iPod, or Nano with the sun—green and convenient!

CLICK-ALICIOUS

Click-alicious

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

See what your neighbors are watching on Netflix with the help of the New York Times.

The funny illustrated guide to correct use of the semicolon.

Misspelled tattoos will help you relax about the typo in that email you just sent.

Feel the love circle the globe with this collaborative video featuring 35 musicians from around the world playing the same song at different times.

You don’t need a time machine to see into the past: 25 nostalgic photos past and present.

Visit Paris any time right from your computer with this high-res panoramic view.

Legwork Studio has a very simple and interesting website.

Join Us

Join Us

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

…in Baltimore, Maryland

American Marketing Association
May 19, 2010

Smart Strategies, Social Networks, and Keeping in Front of Your Alumni
Brenda Foster will review ways to energize fundraising including pointers on finding potential viral marketing messages, using digital picture frame technology for fundraising, and keeping alumni actively involved should your campaign be delayed.

…in Montgomery, Alabama

Community College Public Relations Association
June 14, 2010

Smart Strategies, Social Networks and Keeping in Front of Your Alumni
See above for topic description.

…in Chicago, Illinois

eduWeb Conference
July 26, 2010

Brenda Foster will present 100 College Online Magazines: Issues and Answers.

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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