Recently, many colleges and universities have come around to the idea that they need to do a better job of marketing themselves to compete for brighter students, star faculty and more resources. “Let’s get our name out there,” they cry. “Let’s get our story told!” Problem is, many institutions — or, more accurately, the academics who populate them — do not really want to use the tools of marketing, which requires a certain amount of art and a big dose of discipline. How can you require brand consistency when universities are founded on the notion of academic freedom? What do you say to people who think a business card is an extension of their personality, not of their institution? When your business school thinks they are an island unto themselves? When Athletics gets all the attention and always gets its way? Anyway, how can public relations people — glib, commercial, shallow — begin to comprehend the complexities of the academic mission? As for communications professionals? Even the most tweedy professors and nerdy lab rats think they can design a logo. And why waste money on advertising when we’re not selling widgets?

Continue reading " Branding at the Corral "