Director of Marketing and
Assistant Athletic Director for
Marketing and Promotions
Director of Donor and
Program Manager for
Outreach and Extension
Adviser and Non-resident Liaison,
Communication and the Arts
Director of Communication
Manager, Phoenix Bookstore
Assistant Dean for
Outreach and Extension
Director of Marketing,
Learning to Life
Image-Building Plan for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Marketing Council
| An Integrated Marketing Approach | Goals | Development Process
Implementation | Summary
In December 2001, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard appointed the UW-Green Bay Marketing Council and directed the Council to develop a new marketing vision for the campus. The Marketing Council included representatives of Marketing and University Communication, Admissions, Advancement, Alumni Relations, Athletics, the Weidner Center, Extended Degree, Outreach and Extension, the Phoenix Bookstore, the University Union and the faculty. Most committee members already are involved in marketing the University and its programs.
The Chancellor said a clear, consistent, powerful message would help broaden public understanding of what it means to be part of the UW-Green Bay community and experience. Meeting with the Council in February 2002, the Chancellor said the University must focus on a message that is simple and clear. He said the challenge is to identify what we are good at and what we aspire to be, and to create a connection with our audiences.
The Marketing Council developed a draft plan for building the University's image and released the draft in August 2002. The draft was "market tested" in a number of ways and improved as a result of that process. It was presented to the campus community in an announcement by Chancellor Shepard and through the LOG online newsletter. A dozen faculty members provided feedback and suggested changes. The Marketing Council's chair discussed the draft with the Leadership Team, Cabinet, Chancellor's Council of Trustees, University Committee, Administrative Forum, Student Senate and representatives of several departments and programs.
Marketing experts from the community also reviewed the plan and offered advice. Susan Finco, George French and Bob Rupp were especially generous with their time and helpful with their insights.
After making numerous revisions to the plan, the Council is presenting it to Chancellor Shepard and Chuck Wilson, Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement.
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INTEGRATED MARKETING APPROACH
UW-Green Bay needs to place a greater emphasis on integrated marketing the concept of coordinating, connecting and supporting key marketing activities on campus. Programs will continue to market their activities in ways that will help these programs achieve their goals. However, an integrated approach to marketing will enable programs to support each other and build on their successes. Each program also will benefit from a powerful, consistent institutional image.
For these reasons, the marketing of UW-Green Bay will require greater cooperation on the part of the University's departments, programs and offices, and will need the support of University leadership. Reactivation of the University's Marketing Council already has improved communication and cooperation by bringing together on a regular basis the various entities with marketing responsibilities on campus. Ultimately, the marketing plans and goals individual programs have for specific audiences must support the goals of the University as a whole.
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The goal of UW-Green Bay's integrated marketing effort is to create and communicate a positive, up-to-date, comprehensive and understandable image for the University. UW-Green Bay will use this strong, consistent image to build support from students and their families; community members; donors; local, state and federal policy-makers; opinion leaders; and the UW System Board of Regents.
An effective Universitywide marketing effort will improve and strengthen the institution's identity with students, alumni and the community. It will increase enrollment demand and help UW-Green Bay attain its goals for public and private funding. At a time when the Chancellor is arguing that UW-Green Bay needs to serve more students (without losing the qualities that currently attract people to the University), effective marketing also will communicate the idea that UW-Green Bay is worthy and capable of growing.
One other factor that must be emphasized is the need to build internal awareness of the University's strengths and potential. A positive self-image is crucial for us to communicate our strengths to external audiences. It also is important for everyone on campus to understand that she or he has a role in marketing UW-Green Bay. Poor service, a breakdown in communication or an improper response to a potential student, parent or community member have the potential to undo much good work at building a positive image for the University.
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Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
In an attempt to focus on UW-Green Bay's position in the minds of its target audiences, the Marketing Council analyzed the University's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (commonly known as a SWOT analysis). This analysis was based on available research, Chancellor Shepard's "get-to-know" meetings with more than 2,000 people on campus and in the community, and Council members' contacts with internal and external audiences. The Council identified the following strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats:
• Quality of faculty
• Campus (natural beauty, residence halls, concourses)
• Innovative academic plan: "Education
of the Whole"
• Many first-generation students
• Overwhelming number of graduates work in state/region
• Division I athletics
• World-class performing arts center
• Lifelong learning opportunities
• Local media
• Community partnerships
• Campus (layout not intuitive; no "front door")
• Academic plan generally not understood
• "Way out there" (geographically,
• Limited number of graduate programs
• Student-life facilities
• Lack of degrees business community deems
• "Don't do it right, do it cheap"
• Lacking racial/ethnic diversity
• Lack of self-esteem
• Absence of regional political cohesion
• New chancellor with community-oriented
• Blank slate on which to draw (many people
don't know much about us)
• Absence of strong negative attitudes about
• Growing/evolving community
• Turn brain drain into brain gain (build
on what we're already doing)
• Growing alumni base
• Key to region's economic success
• State budget picture
• UW System competition
• Enrollment limits
• Lacking sense of "oneness" (some
faculty, staff, students disconnected
from larger university)
One other potential concern identified by the Chancellor and the Marketing Council is that many people have outdated notions about UW-Green Bay. Contrary to what some people think, it no longer is primarily a commuter school that offers degrees with "funny names." There also are many meaningful connections between campus and community of which the general public may not be aware.
Building an institutional image
Marketing experts say a product or service should conjure up an image that can be articulated in a single word. After completing the SWOT
analysis, the Marketing Council determined that the word "connections" was a good starting point in the discussion of a marketing theme for the campus. It is consistent with Chancellor Shepard's view that UW-Green Bay is critical to the success of Northeastern Wisconsin and that we provide a practical education that prepares students to address issues from multiple perspectives. The University is striving to connect with its community and region while also teaching students to address issues and problems by connecting numerous academic areas and disciplines. The University is working to connect with students, alumni, the community, businesses, donors, sports fans, arts patrons, etc. It is trying to bridge the geographic and imagined gap between campus and community. It also is connecting students to different cultures and the global community, and increasing understanding across geographic boundaries. All of this is consistent with the Chancellor's image of UW-Green Bay as "The Connected University."
A number of UW-Green Bay programs already are advancing the idea of connecting. For example, the Alumni Association uses "Get Connected, Stay Connected" on many of its materials. The Admissions office works with the idea of connecting with faculty when meeting with high school students and parents. Career Services has a theme of "Choices Skills Connections."
Some may take issue with the statement that we need a narrow marketing focus, especially at a university that provides such a wide range of programs and services. However, this narrow focus a focus that can be expressed in one word has the potential to create opportunities. All aspects of the University would benefit from a marketing plan that strengthens our connections with the community and reinforces those connections. And using a simple term like "connections" may help us get through to 17- and 18-year-old prospective students who respond to the word "interdisciplinary" with blank stares. Emphasizing "connections" has the potential to generate even greater enrollment demand and improve UW-Green Bay's prospects for obtaining private support for enhanced facilities and academic programs.
The Marketing Council developed a positioning statement to identify what UW-Green Bay should stand for and how it is different from its competitors. Simply put, the statement is our core message. The Council agreed on the following positioning statement:
"To the people of Northeast Wisconsin and beyond, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a leading, mid-size university of choice that prepares its students for challenges of the future and enriches its communities through creative connections in academics, athletics and the arts."
This positioning statement is a statement of our aspirations and may not reflect reality in all cases. Marketing will be part of a larger campuswide effort for UW-Green Bay to become in all cases what we aspire to be and to have the public perceive us as such.
On the basis of the positioning statement, the Marketing Council determined that the best single tag line, or phrase, for communicating what UW-Green Bay is about is: Connecting Learning to Life. This tag line supports many of the messages the University wants to get out to the community: Learning for a lifetime; preparing students for jobs that don't exist today; preparing students for that first job and every other job; connecting what goes on in the classroom to what happens on campus outside the classroom; being responsive to the community's needs; and connecting UW-Green Bay to the region and the world. Use of the word "connect" conjures up the images of connections the University has developed and is striving to expand.
As mentioned earlier
in the report, the word "connections" and our tag line also may help
communicate the concept of interdisciplinary education, a hallmark of
UW-Green Bay's academic approach since the University's earliest days.
Individuals and communities deal with issues and challenges by approaching
them from multiple perspectives and then connecting them to find solutions.
To use a local example, cleaning up the Fox River will require the expertise
of scientists, engineers, political and social scientists and economists.
A UW-Green Bay education helps students see this big picture, see these
connections and break through barriers to real-world solutions.
Some members of the campus community questioned whether Connecting Learning to Life would have much appeal or meaning for 17- and 18-year-old students. It's "a bit vanilla" and would "sound good on PBS," one Council member said. Others described the tag line as very effective and representative of the UW-Green Bay experience. The Student Senate responded favorably to the tag line, with several senators saying it would work well for the University. The Council concluded that the tag line conveys what the University is about and could withstand the test of time (although all marketing tools must be reviewed and updated frequently). An external marketing expert with a proven track record praised the tag line because it is a call to action and suggests benefits for students after they leave UW-Green Bay.
tag line and its accompanying messages must be repeated consistently with
our target audiences, including:
• High-potential high school students
• Students (including "first-generation," multicultural, international and
• University community (students, faculty,
staff, past employees)
• Potential employees
• Northeastern Wisconsin communities
• Potential employers of our graduates
• Donors and potential donors
• K-12 educators
• Local, state, federal elected officials
• Local, state opinion leaders (news media,
• UW System Board of Regents
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Building support from the campus community: The first segment of the implementation plan focused on getting support and buy-in from the campus community. As stated earlier, efforts to communicate the image-building plan included meetings with the Leadership Team, Cabinet, Chancellor's Council of Trustees, University Committee, Administrative Forum, Student Senate and representatives of various departments and programs. The image-building proposal was posted on the University Web site, and its posting was announced by Chancellor Shepard and through the LOG online newsletter. A dozen faculty members responded via phone calls or e-mails. Valuable suggestions were offered and considered. All of these communications provided the Marketing Council chair an opportunity to explain the tag line's meaning and the ideas behind its development.
Campus communication efforts will continue as we work to refine and improve our marketing, develop support and create a sense of ownership on campus.
Public unveiling: The University will unveil the new marketing tag line to the campus and the community during the 2002-03 academic year. Largely because of budget, economic and political concerns, the preference of the Marketing Council is that the unveiling of the tag line "build to a crescendo" rather than start with a "big bang." The simplest approach is to just start using the tag line in new publications, on Web sites and in other places where a descriptor of the University is appropriate. The Marketing and University Communication office will develop a visual representation of the tag line. We then can draw attention to the new tag line through a press release (which would use substantive examples of how UW-Green Bay is connected), the LOG, Chancellor's FYI and Inside magazine. It also can be used in Admissions, Outreach and summer camp materials, and at upcoming University events such as spring commencement, freshman-year planning activities, and events involving UW-Green Bay "friends" groups.
Compliance consistency: Once the tag line is unveiled, all University marketing materials will be expected to include elements of the University identity. For practical reasons, it will not always be possible to include the Phoenix logo, word mark and tag line. The simple rule will be that when there is a need to describe the University, the tag line will be used. The Marketing and University Communication office will be responsible for developing written guidelines on use of the tag line and various University symbols, and monitoring compliance with the guidelines. However, an effective job of building support for the image-building plan should minimize the need for a heavy-handed approach to compliance consistency. The Marketing Council members also will work with and advise the Campus Web Committee to make sure University Web sites comply.
Keeping the plan current: The Marketing Council will continually review and update the University's marketing efforts as well as initiate and review research that will drive future marketing.
Budget needs and political considerations: These image-building recommendations serve only as a starting point for marketing UW-Green Bay. The Marketing Council will continue to look for opportunities to get the word out about UW-Green Bay's strengths and aspirations. An effective job of marketing requires a financial commitment from the University. Diverse units currently are spending varying amounts on marketing. For example, the Weidner Center accepts as reality the need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising for a lengthy run of shows that will bring in more than $1 million in revenue. Clearly, we will not have that level of funding for institutional advertising and promotion, especially in the current budget climate. However, the Marketing Council recommends that, over the long term, a larger budget be developed to support promotion and advertising of the institution. Alumni and other friends of UW-Green Bay may be sources of funding for institutional marketing and advertising. One Council member strongly suggested that UW-Green Bay not just the Athletic Department establish a higher profile at the Resch Center, the community arena that is the home of the UW-Green Bay Phoenix men's basketball team. Greater cooperation among the various marketing entities on campus also will enable the University to spend marketing dollars in a more cost-effective manner.
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UW-Green Bay has a great story to tell. An image-building plan, which reinforces the theme "UW-Green Bay: Connecting Learning to Life," will more effectively communicate what we are and what we want to be as an institution. The effort will produce a clearer message for prospective students and their parents, strengthen our relationship with the community, and improve the image legislators, opinion leaders and Regents have of the University. It will help UW-Green Bay achieve its goals of providing an outstanding higher education for the 21st century and improving the quality of life in Northeastern Wisconsin.