Archive for the ‘Spring 2011’ Category

SEEN AND NOTED

Seen and Noted

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Has your audience bailed on you? Don’t fret—Cram Quarterly is here with ideas that will help you cultivate attention.

SEEN AND NOTED

Seen and Noted

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Real World Marketing

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I observed this figure outside an airport restroom on a recent trip. The placement of the “W” makes a humorous—if unintended—anatomical addition. It reminded me that we need to check and double-check every detail of our messages to ensure that our readers only see what we want them to see.

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Bragging rights—and wrongs

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Bragging rights—and wrongs I’ve been flying around the country all my life, and Southwest Airlines used to be the cheap and dirty alternative to the more “respectable” airlines. However, I recently chose Southwest for a flight to Las Vegas because they had the lowest fare and the most convenient travel times. According to Zagat’s 2010 Airline Survey, Southwest ranked number one in Best Consumer On-Time Estimates–Domestic, Website, Check-in Experience, Best Value—Domestic, and Best Luggage Policy—Domestic. It seems they’ve come a long way. But if you visit Southwest’s website, you won’t see an oversized Zagat banner or badge. Their low prices, friendly crew, and satisfying customer experiences speak louder than any boastful link to the rankings.

Contributed by Jenny

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Required reading for aspiring . . . designers

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Required reading for aspiring … designers Looking for tips on perfecting the craft of design? Zinsser’s book for writers is filled with advice on creating clean, interesting, smart writing. But everything he says about the written word also applies to the design process. He tackles the big issues—simplicity, clutter, style, audience, usage, and more. Good writing—like good design—is about communicating effectively. This is a handbook for anyone who seeks advice on creating stronger messages, no matter the medium.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Tag, you’re it!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Tag, you’re it! Are you keeping up with the latest trend in social media? I came across this ad for the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in a February issue of Newsweek magazine. In the speech bubble above Kennedy is a QR code that, when captured (via photo or QR tag reader), directs your smart phone to the JFK Twitter feed @Kennedy1960. There, you can follow Kennedy’s 1,000 days in office through tweets about what he did each day. It reminds me of the Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring from the movie A Christmas Story. Being in the know makes you feel as if you are part of something exclusive, a movement that not everyone knows about or participates in yet. Institutions can take advantage of this inclusive feeling with QR codes that, for example, send college fair visitors to an exclusive admissions video or website. Just make sure that you don’t disappoint visitors with a “drink more Ovaltine” type message.

Contributed by Jenny

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Surprise, surprise

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Surprise, surprise No one was more surprised than Chris Spurlock when the resume he posted to Facebook and Twitter went viral. It has been retweeted 5,300 times to date. Chris gives advice to resume writers here. What he doesn’t mention, however, is the key reason why the resume was such an amazing success: he observed one of the fundamental maxims of communication, which is to take a familiar concept and present it in a fresh way. If your audience doesn’t know you exist, try reaching them in an unexpected way. You may be just as surprised as Chris Spurlock by the results.

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

An eye on Baltimore

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

An eye on Baltimore I stumbled on the work of Baltimore photographer, Patrick Joust, while browsing images on Flickr. His subjects—whether shot in eerie evening light or the glare of the summer sun—capture the city in fresh, unexpected ways. Everyday scenes are small revelations: a neatly suited man glances down the street as he opens a car door, a girl wraps her arms inside a hula hoop at a street festival, phantom cars leave streaks of light on a deserted street. Photos like these are not casual observations. They are the rewards for perfecting the craft, waiting for the right moment, and loving the subject matter. Joust’s work is a wonderful reminder that you have to love what you do before you can expect anyone else to. You can find more of his work here.

joust_2 joust_1 joust_3 joust_4 joust_5

Contributed by Domenica

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Eye candy

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Eye candy We have a color calibration tool that arrived in the most complicated packaging I’ve ever encountered. It was a puzzle trying to figure out how to put the various origami-like pieces back together. Perhaps the creators of the frustrating package were trying to mimic the highly designed Apple product boxes. If so, what the Eye-One Display designers failed to realize is that Apple’s containers are not only pleasing to the eye, but they are also easy to open and close. A “less is more” approach would have made the packaging easier to use, and probably more visually appealing. When you lose the functionality of a piece, whether it be a package or a brochure or a website, all the user remembers about the experience is frustration.

Contributed by Katie

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

The sincerest form of flattery

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The sincerest form of flattery Speaking of trying to mimic Apple, this year’s Motorola Superbowl ad depicts a young man using the new Xoom tablet to break the monotony of his dystopian work environment. The ad brings to mind Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial introducing the Macintosh personal computer for the first time. The Apple ad shows an athlete running into a sort of brainwashing assembly to smash the overhead screen with a sledgehammer. It was a powerful anti-conformist message that was released in a symbolic year, which George Orwell imagined in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It seems that Motorola was trying to cash in on the success of a truly revolutionary campaign. But the recent commercial falls short in that it is less interesting and less dramatic. And, since the iPad is already in consumers’ hands, the Motorola ad simply demonstrates that Apple is ahead of them on all counts.

Contributed by Katie

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Apple didn’t fall far from the tree

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Apple didn’t fall far from the tree No design is created in a void; there’s a predecessor to almost everything. Although we’ve extolled the virtues of Apple and chided those who have tried unsuccessfully to copy the company’s success, Jonathan Ive (Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design) took his inspiration from forerunner Dieter Rams. Rams designed products for Braun in the 50s and 60s and promoted ten principles of good design. His tenets include the idea that good design is innovative and developed in tandem with innovative technology. He also says that design should make a product more useful, a guideline that the Eye-One-On packaging fails to honor. Ive’s implementation of Rams’ thinking shows how to be a true leader instead of a follower: Ive has taken the philosophy of good design to the next level.

Contributed by Noah

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Beyond brand recognition

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Beyond brand recognition One sure sign of a powerful brand is when it becomes part of the vernacular. How many times a day do you say, “Let’s Google it?” When you cut your finger, you don’t reach for an adhesive bandage, you grab a Band-Aid. If you’re wondering how this principle can apply to institutions, take a look at the viewbook above. Our themeline, “Being Gilman,” originated in a conversation between a coach and his athletes. The coach encouraged his players to ask themselves if they were “being Gilman” by embodying the school’s values. Is your brand strong enough to make a similar transition?

Contributed by Halley and Brenda

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Keyword fail

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Keyword fail I recently had a good laugh at the expense of Google Ads. The article above trashes the practice of inserting loose postcards in magazines, but the Google Ad at the bottom offers fast, full-color postcard printing. The humorous juxtaposition reminds us that although technology—such as keywords and SEO terms—can help drive visitors to our websites and make our jobs easier, the intricate back-end programming doesn’t always work the way we think it will.

Contributed by Theresa

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

No waiting room

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

No waiting room No one knows how to wait any more. Nearly a third of consumers start abandoning slow websites within one and five seconds, says Gomez, the author of a new study on the subject. As a result of the fast pace of today’s world, we expect prompt, effective results every time. There’s no waiting for someone to check their voicemail and call you back—instead, you text them or email them for an immediate reply. University admissions personnel take heed: if you don’t react immediately to admissions requests and questions, your prospectives might go elsewhere. Lamentable, yes, but true nonetheless.

Contributed by Halley

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

Viral video

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Viral video Why should you care about viral videos? Because they give us a common language with which to reach audiences. Geico has shown that it knows how to harness the popularity of viral videos. The original viral video (warning: contains language that some might find offensive) highlights the stubborn refusal of a talking bear to accept an HTC Evo in place of an iPhone4. The Geico ad features the same talking bears, and the inside joke made me chuckle. It’s a funny, smart, and memorable commercial for those of us who are familiar with the original.

Contributed by Katie

REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective

The pitfalls of testing a new logo

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The pitfalls of testing a new logo Steve Jobs once told BusinessWeek, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Educational communicators should keep this in mind when preparing to create a new institutional logo or brand. Alumni may cling to the old identity, because it’s what they remember. Newly admitted students might be sensitive to a new brand because they’ve just bought into the old one. And audiences that don’t know your school will turn a test into a popularity contest unrelated to the marketing messages you’re trying to convey. A new brand, backed by solid research and based on clear future goals, may be more widely accepted if you don’t ask for opinions ahead of time.

Contributed by Brenda

FEATURE : Crises . . . or opportunity?

Crises . . . or opportunity?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Many years ago, I heard an unforgettable lecture in Baltimore by Tom Bentkowski, then design director of Life magazine. As he was preparing to leave his home in New York, he accidentally forgot the tray of slides he had prepared for the presentation. (Yes, this was in those quaint pre-PowerPoint days.) His office in Manhattan was closed, and there was no way to retrieve the slides in time for the lecture. What to do? Could a designer talk about his work without the visuals? Tom proved that yes, he could.

He walked on stage with apologies for the missing slides and then did a marvelous thing. He asked everyone in the audience to close their eyes and visualize a painting. He described a work by Van Gogh—golden wheat fields, furrows of bright and dark blue paint in the sky, with strokes of black paint forming a flock of crows above the fields. Once we all had this scene of pastoral beauty clearly in our minds, Tom asked us to imagine the same painting but now with a caption that reads, “This is one of the last paintings by Van Gogh before he put a gun to his head and killed himself.” His point was that a caption can add information that can change the way we react to an image. I think it’s an excellent point and one that I remember whenever I see a photo that could’ve been more meaningful with a well-crafted caption.

What I remember even more poignantly, though, was the way Tom turned the crisis of the missing slides into an opportunity. Instead of bowing out at the last minute, he showed us that courage and quick thinking is the way to rise above a problem.

FEATURE : Innovative Tag Technology for Educational Communicators

Innovative Tag Technology for Educational Communicators

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The GCF team is always looking for the latest tool that will help transform the way we communicate with potential donors and prospective students. Lately, we’ve been exploring the idea of 2D tag technology. According to Bob Blonchek of Razoron Mobile, “The number of barcodes scanned grew by 700% last year. There were over a billion and a half Microsoft barcodes published in the last year. It’s becoming ubiquitous, tying the virtual world together with the physical world through mobile phones.”

In an interview with Brenda, Bob explained how his company’s “razcodes” can help us make QR tags more interactive and more interesting to higher education audiences. Initially, razcode users set up a profile with all of their personal contact information, including a link to their PayPal account. Then, each time a razcode is scanned, the user can decide how much information to share with the institution that provided the code.

In the case of potential donors, Bob explains, “razcodes turn the donor’s smart phone into a digital wallet. The potential donor can simply scan a mobile tag and make a donation using PayPal.” This expands the potential for gifts, because unlike Give by Cell programs, razcodes allow donors to give unlimited amounts. Additionally, a donor can choose to remain anonymous rather than providing his or her personal information with the institution.

Razcodes have potential for creativity in recruitment settings as well. “We all know that college-age kids are mobile addicted,” Bob points out. “Now you can put a barcode on your booth at a college fair, and a student can walk by, scan in that barcode with his or her phone, and say please send my information to that university.” This sharing of information goes way beyond the usual QR tag, which typically takes a visitor to an existing web page or video.

How successful would an anonymous donor campaign be? Would allowing donors to remain anonymous open new doors? Would more prospective students share their information with colleges if they could do so with the touch of a few buttons on their smart phone? The truth is, we won’t know until we try it. But we do know that razcode users can interact with the institution in ways that were not possible before.

FEATURE : Global Ocean Legacy Brochure

Global Ocean Legacy Brochure

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

GCF worked with The Pew Charitable Trusts to create a brochure to inspire major gifts for the Global Ocean Legacy campaign. This campaign raises funds to protect marine reserves throughout the world’s oceans, providing ocean-scale ecosystem benefits that help conserve global marine heritage. The brochure was used as a handout to potential donors at a fundraising dinner. The small size was purposeful—the brochure was designed to make it fit easily into a coat pocket or purse. The cover copy, “A small brochure about the largest ocean protection program on the planet,” reinforces the idea that a big message is being delivered in a small package.

NOTEWORTHY

The many layers of Wallpaper

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The many layers of Wallpaper The website for the United Kingdom’s international “designinteriorsfashionartlifestyle” magazine, Wallpaper*, helps us get inspired and stay up on the latest happenings in the world of design.

NOTEWORTHY

Putting the “fun” in functional

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Putting the “fun” in functional Vitra follows a “diligent design process that brings together the company’s engineering excellence with the creative genius of leading international designers.” The results are amazing products that the company features in its own design museum!

NOTEWORTHY

Something to talk about

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Something to talk about We all know that cigarettes can kill, but this ad for an international anti-smoking campaign is a very smart and powerful image that is sure to spark new conversation and reflection.

NOTEWORTHY

Puzzling

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Puzzling For the 25th Anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube, the ad above features a funny, unique image portraying just how long it takes to learn the art of “cubing.”

NOTEWORTHY

Is it really hip to be square?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Is it really hip to be square? JCPenney has joined the ranks of companies with a disappointing redesigned logo. As with the failed Gap logo redesign, this one features an awkwardly placed square in relation to the type. Why in the world would another retail company release a logo so similar to one that caused such a controversy that it was withdrawn?

NOTEWORTHY

Lost Generation?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Lost Generation? This clever video literally turns over negative perceptions about the so-called “lost generation.”

COOL TOOLS

Cool Tools

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Hold the phone A humorous little blob of pink plastic that resembles chewing gum will prop up your phone while you watch videos or listen to music.

May I take your order? Now there’s an iPhone app that allows you to order food at restaurants without actually talking to a person.

Check your tone A new software by Lymbix checks the tone of your emails for you.

Join Us

Join Us

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

…in San Antonio, Texas

eduWeb Conference
August 1–3, 2011

@eduWeb #students #facebook #twitter #youtube #in
What do college-age students think about institutions’ social media efforts? Which social sites do students prefer, and what is the value of those sites to them? What are your fellow institutions doing with social media today? On which sites are they most active? Are you doing what you want in social media or what your audience wants? We’ll discuss answers to these questions and more.

It’s a Mobile World: Innovative Use of Mobile Tagging in Higher Education
We will also be conducting a Tuesday morning Topic Table about innovative ways that mobile tag technologies can impact higher education. Audience members will experience the use of mobile tags in interactive recruitment and advancement applications firsthand.

…on Facebook

…on Twitter

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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