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UI prepares to launch new marketing campaign

BY CASSIDY RILEY | AUGUST 31, 2012 6:30 AM

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The University of Iowa will start rolling out pieces of its new marketing strategy with <a href=”www.momknows.com”>Mind Over Media</a> this weekend, starting with a 30-second TV commercial airing during Saturday’s Hawkeye football game.

Tysen Kendig, the UI vice president for Strategic Communication, said his office has worked with Mind Over Media — a Pittsburgh-based market-research company — on market research over the past year and a half to develop marketing strategies.

“My philosophy, which is shared by Mind Over Media, is that we can’t test these things enough,” Kendig said. “What sounds like a good idea in a conference room more often than not ends up failing if feedback isn’t sought those inside and outside the university community.”

According to documents previously obtained byThe Daily Iowan through a public-records request, UI officials signed a contract with Mind Over Media in March 2011. That contract is worth $170,000 for one year of work and includes an additional amount of no more than $15,000 for miscellaneous expenses. The research is entirely funded by private dollars, Kendig said, noting that no expenses are being taken from student tuition fees or state appropriations.

Kendig’s office collaborated with Mind Over Media to facilitate focus groups, interviews, and surveys to analyze what the UI means to current students, perspective students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Officials from both parties worked to sift through the results of the research to develop a new tagline for advertising. The campaign finally rested on the tagline “The Hawkeye Way” and is now working on different creative media to get the message out into the public, such as TV and radio spots.

Kristen Creighton, the vice president of research and brand strategy for Mind Over Media, said it has engaged thousands of people in its research for the UI and has had a very positive experience.

“We have really enjoyed working with the University of Iowa,” she said. “Everyone, from the newest students to the most senior administrators, have been highly engaged, open, and honest. This open and honest dialogue is what leads to us being able to develop marketing strategies that are authentic to the university’s true and distinctive character.”

Many other colleges across the country have entered into contracts with Mind Over Media or similar marketing companies.

The University of Northern Iowa began a contract with <a href=”edgepartnerships.com”>Edge Partnerships</a> three years ago to help analyze market research and develop a new brand image for the university. Similarly, Iowa State University has had a contract with <a href=”www.zlrigintion.com”>ZLR Ignition</a> for 10 years. Officials from both Baord of Regents’ universities said the marketing companies have brought them an increase in student enrollment.

Fred Streicher, director of marketing and communications for the UI College of Engineering, has worked in marketing for 40 years and was part of the research phase of the development of the new marketing campaign.

Many private universities have been employing marketing companies for years, Streicher said, but the trend is growing even stronger among public universities as well.

“If a university wants to inform, attract, secure, and retain their ‘clients,’ meaning future students, corporate partners, and supportive and engaging alumni, then a well-orchestrated, comprehensive marketing plan is a must,” he said.

David Perlmutter, the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was on the committee that selected Mind Over Media. Everyone on the committee, he said, had a like mind in selecting which company would represent the UI in this marketing effort.

“I think everyone in the room agreed that we needed to be more forceful in expressing all of the wonderful accomplishments that occur on campus every day,” he said.


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