Inside Higher Ed
May 28th, 2015
Market position, branding, messaging: these terms were once reserved
for big corporations hawking everything from soft drinks and toothpaste
to luxury cars. But such words now echo inside the halls of academia.
While reasons for this are a complex stew of rising costs, declining
state funding and fierce competition, it’s plain to see that
universities are spending more money to attract students using media
channels that didn’t exist within academia a few years ago.
In my dozen years working in communications for two land-grant
universities, I’ve seen the sophistication and ambition of marketing
tactics soar on campus. From traditional commercials to interactive
websites and online documentaries, it’s been an exhilarating
storytelling laboratory full of challenges and opportunities for
personal growth for staff communicators like me. But I’ve also seen more
institutions turning outside, to polished agencies of the sort that
once seemed more likely to work with Fortune 500 companies and major
corporations than state universities and private colleges.