11/14/2014 update: Strategic Communicator Tim Clevenger fiddles with the brand, as grad students burn away
Job #1 was keeping us in the AAU by boosting research and grad student enrollment. But UO’s IR office reports that grad student enrollment has dropped yet again: down 100 just this year:
But hey, no worries! Our well paid chief PR flack is having a great time at “brand camp”:
7/30/14 update: UO’s 160over90 branders to propose “Bowl of Dicks” logo?
That’s the latest rumor from down at the faculty club. No confirmation from Tim Gleason or Tim Clevenger yet, but it seems like the logical next step after UO’s Bowl List went viral. Photo of the actual bowl (trigger warning) here.
Speaking of viral, Gleason ($218K) and Clevenger’s ($195K) 160over90 branders (slow flash site warning) and Nike are not having a lot of luck selling the University of Dayton student body on their proposed new logo. The UO Foundation plans to pay these fools $150K. Tim Jaschik of InsideHigherEd has the post-mortem from Ohio:
6/8/2014: Duin on Branding in the Oregonian
“What five words would you use to describe UO?” The comments are open.
BTW, I thought this was all the usual PR fluff, but it sounds like some serious money and time has been spent already. Around the O has details.
Once upon a time Oregonians knew how to brand
6/7/2014: Now we pay former deans and consultants to stand around in white woolies, while someone else does the work. Steve Duin has the latest on UO’s hard working administration in the Oregonian here. Isn’t this what we’re paying Tim Gleason $218K for? If not, why are we paying him?
4/28/2013: Now it’s all marketing double-speak. From B-School Dean Kees de Kluyver.
I am writing to make you all aware of an important project we have launched that constitutes the first step in developing a new college-wide communication strategy.
A professional group called Songlines Communications, led by Chris Van Dyke, has been retained to develop a fresh core message for our college–our story. I trust you will recognize the need for such an effort. As we begin to focus on growing graduate enrollments, increasing the efficacy of our outreach efforts and making preparations for a capital campaign, we need to develop a coherent message that at once describes us and effectively differentiates us from our peers. But before we invest in telling our story to a wide audience we need to develop it, get comfortable with it , own it, and then be able to convey it clearly.
Chris and his team have done similar work for a number of high-profile clients including Patagonia and we are very pleased that they have taken this on. Their efforts are supported in spirit by our Board of Advisors and financially by an anonymous donor. They have talked with some of you already and will be talking with others over the next few weeks. If any of you want especially to contribute ideas please let us know. It is important that you understand that our story will come from us. Their job is to synthesize what they learn and articulate it in a compelling way. It is also important to know that this is not an effort to substitute slogans for excellence in teaching and research.
I have invited Chris to report on progress at our scheduled May 10 faculty meeting. I am excited to hear what they come up with. I hope you are too.
Best … Kees
Cornelis A. “Kees” de Kluyver, Dean
Rippey Distinguished Professor
Lundquist College of Business
1208 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403
What’s in a Brand?
I am often asked what the Lundquist College of Business (or, for that matter, the UO) brand stands for. It is a good and timely question—especially with the high profile the Lundquist College enjoyed this past weekend as the backdrop for ESPN Gameday. But getting the answer right is important but not easy. With this update, I want to share some of our early thinking on this issue and invite you to send me your suggestions and comments. Let’s start with what a brand is not. Many people, most of whom should know better, still think that a brand is a logo or an ad campaign and not much more. I recently talked to an executive who had led a rebranding effort for his company and was very proud of the visual images his team had created. But when it came to answering the question of how his new “brand” differentiated his company from his principal competitors in the eyes of his customers, his reply was vague.To us, a brand signifies a promise of relevant benefits to our constituents. Our students seek an educational experience that broadens their thinking and prepares them for the competitive realities that await them. Faculty members value a collegial, engaging, research-focused work environment and bright, eager students to teach. Alumni and donors cherish the past and the future and make emotional and financial investments that clearly communicate this. There is no more profound a brand commitment than for an individual to recommend applicants to the college based on their own past experiences and their expectations for the future of the Lundquist College of Business. The common denominator is a commitment to a core set of values: quality in everything we do; a focus on students and learning; a collaborative, engaged, entrepreneurial work environment; and a respect for individual expression and differences. As you will appreciate, experiencing these attributes is one thing; capturing them in a simple graphic or tagline—if that is possible at all—is quite another.
A couple of years ago , the Lundquist College of Business engaged an external research agency to conduct focus groups with a broad range of stakeholders on the “branding” question. This research provided an understanding of the most salient dimensions of our “value proposition.” Specifically, it showed our circle of friends thought the college differentiated itself from other institutions in four key ways:
- Our values—welcoming, collaborative, engaged, entrepreneurial,
- Our educational philosophy—demanding, integrated, focused, with opportunities for hands-on experiences;
- Our context—being part of a comprehensive, research-intensive, Association of American Universities (AAU), global university
- Our focus—doing a few things really well as evidenced by our centers of excellence (the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, and the now Finance and Security Analysis Center).
Are we on the right track toward developing a unique value proposition for the UO Lundquist College of Business? I think so but would like more input. If today I had to provide a two sentence description of who we are as a college, it would read something like what follows:
As an integral part of the University of Oregon’s position as an elite AAU research institution, the Lundquist College of Business offers a welcoming, inquisitive, and collaborative culture in an ideal college town. Our students obtain a world-class competitive advantage through a distinctive education that combines an integrated understanding of business’s role in society with hands-on experiences applying knowledge in niche areas such as sports marketing, entrepreneurship, sustainable business, and securities analysis and corporate finance.
Let me know what the Lundquist College of Business means to you.
Best and Go Ducks!
Cornelis A. “Kees” de Kluyver, Dean
Rippey Distinguished Professor