Archive for July, 2010

| posted by Joe Hice |

OMG, did that analyst really just tell marketers to hang back and avoid innovation?

Those of you that know me also know I like to be first.  First up in the morning, first in line at the race track, first to try something new and different, especially where marketing and public relations are concerned.  Differentiating one’s institution or business in this world that’s full of fray is not easy.  It’s impossible if you don’t stand out and being first is one of the best ways I know of to stand out.

Back in junior high my track coach taught me a valuable lesson.  “Joe,” he said,  “the first one there is usually the winner.”  Thank you coach Patsy.

In marketing and communications, innovation is what takes a good campaign and makes it great. What takes a great sales promotion and makes it fantastic.  What takes a stale, old brand, and gives it new life.  First gains attention. First creates buzz. I know I’m over simplifying things here, but first is first!

When the guru’s from Forrester Research told the PRSA magazine, Public Relations Tactics,  that marketers shouldn’t use Foursquare as a promotion tool because the research shows it’s too new — no, too small –  I almost fell on the floor.

I’ll agree that you’ve got to get things right before you get things first, but it boggles the mind when an analyst from a well known and generally well respected research firm says don’t be creative.  They are basically recommending that we all play it safe. Let the other guy or girl try the new technology.  Let the other college or institution try the unproven research techniques.  Play it safe indeed.

I am the Mayor of Winslow Hall.  Story follows.

Passion Rules! (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Newspapers continue their decline

A new study in Editor & Publisher reports that newspapers continue to be seen as less important at their primary job — being sources of information.  The report was compiled by the University of Southern California and was prepared as part of the nine-year-old Digital Future Project from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.  Read about it here.

As a former newspaper and magazine editor this comes as no surprise, but is disappointing.  I still begin everyday with the local paper and a cup of coffee then move on to the Web and cable news shows.  My generation, eh.

I grew up when most major cities had two newspapers.  In Tampa, where I worked, we had the Tampa Tribune and Tampa Times and just across the bay was the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent.  The Clearwater Sun was nearby and Florida Trend Magazine and Tampa Bay Business Journal set the trend for business publications throughout the nation.  It was quite an area for journalism and many lifelong relationships were created there.

The USC study found that just 56%  of Internet users ranked newspapers as  important or very important sources of information for them, down from 60% in 2008 –  and below the Internet (78%) and television (68%).  You’ll have to check out the study to find out more.

Passion Rules!


| posted by Joe Hice |

Dr. Harms, Dean Bristol Participate in Forum Assessing North Carolina’s Oil Spill Preparedness

Dr. Craig Harms and Dean David Bristol of NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are participating in a special forum that will assess North Carolina’s preparedness to respond and recover from an oil spill event. Free and open to the public, the forum will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, July 29, at the UNC Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill.

The “One Health Forum on North Carolina Oil Spill Response, Recovery and Health Effects” includes speakers from state and federal agencies who have expertise in public health, marine science, emergency management, and natural resources. Discussion will focus on the state’s strengths, the required coordination and collaboration among organizations, the training and use of volunteers, and areas that need additional coverage and management.

Dean Bristol and Dean Barbara Rimer of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health will open the forum and welcome participants at 9 a.m. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Alumni giving at Trinity College explodes, powered by matching gift challenge


About a year ago, an anonymous donor offered Trinity College in Connecticut a $5 million endowment — with a catch.

To get the money, the college had to achieve a gift participation rate of at least 55 percent among its 20,000 living alumni.

After a yearlong campaign, Trinity is celebrating. More than 11,000, or 55.34 percent, of the college’s alumni donated money last fiscal year, helping the school secure the challenge endowment and achieve a record $9 million in gifts for its annual fund. It was the largest number of alumni donors in the school’s 187-year history.

The alumni gift participation rate was 47.41 percent in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The endowment will help eight to 10 more students get financial aid from Trinity, said Ron Joyce, Trinity’s vice president for college advancement. For those who qualify, the average financial aid package is $30,000 per student each year, Joyce said, explaining that Trinity’s tuition, and room and board fees total about $50,000 per year. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Young Alumni feel they have already given enough

By Daniel de Vise/

Young alumni of the nation’s top universities are not particularly interested in opening their checkbooks for their alma mater, according to a new survey.

Interviews with alumni from the nation’s top 100 universities, as defined by the U.S. News & World Report rankings, found that eight in 10 young alumni — those under 35 — feel they have already given enough in tuition payments and don’t see the need for further donations.

Half of the young alumni believe their school doesn’t especially need the money. Nearly half say their alma mater hasn’t made enough of an effort to “connect with them” apart from asking for money, according to a release.

The survey was released Monday by Engagement Strategies Group, a research and consulting firm based in the District of Columbia. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Twitter awareness on the Rise

David Goldberg from KG Partners reports that Twitter is now almost as well known as Facebook.  Given all the publicity around celebrity and corporate tweets, and “gotcha” columns and news stories about Twitter, that comes as no surprise to me.  And if you buy into my mantra that “it’s all about building a network,” the popularity of Twitter makes even more sense.

Here’s Goldberg’s post from the Digital Buzz Blog.  It’s official: The awareness of Twitter in the United States has risen within one percent of the awareness of Facebook, according to a survey of 100 million unique users. See the numbers for yourself at the Digital Buzz Blog.

What does this mean for your business?

For starters, statistics like these confirm that the social media revolution is only getting stronger. Through social media, marketers are able to reach their audience in the exact places where they “hang out” with their friends online. Twitter, in particular, assists marketers in taking their products’ voice and messages directly to where the crowd is
— online inside their homes and on their hand-held mobile devices.

Most importantly, it’s never been more essential to keep creating interactive content. Stand out and make your content relevant, conversational and more colorful, not hidden from the masses. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Flying ants plague London: cutline says it all

I’m not going to identify the media outlet this high up in the post in order to protect the innocent, but this cutline from London is one of the best I’ve seen in a while.  Hilarious, disappointing, surprising, embarrassing.  You name it. This one does it all.  This is not a joke!
Flying ants are just like this one, but with wings (Photo: Getty)
Flying ants are just like this one, but with wings
(Photo: Getty)

Passion Rules!

| posted by Joe Hice |

Having some fun with university communications

The communications group from BYU is obviously plugged into pop culture.  How else could they come out with such a well executed spoof of the Old Spice television commercials so quickly.

P and G Old Spice

Use the Library is the message, Old Spice Man-type guy is the messenger.  Great work.  Reminds me that a number of universities have used humor and pop culture to enhance their brands.  Some of my favorites follow.  I’m more familiar with some than others:-)

BYU New Spice Study Like a Scholar:

I’m a Gator.  I’m a Buckeye:

Hot, Hot, Hot:

The Rivalry Guys who produced the “I’m a Gator” spots were so popular that students ran several off the spoofs during the Gator Growl pep rally in Gainesville.  The university also worked with the Rivalry Guys to create a new campus tour.  You wanna have some fun in university communications, give creativity a whirl.  You might like the results. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

NC State Increases 2010-11 Tuition

North Carolina State University will increase tuition by an additional $750 for the 2010-11 academic year to help offset state budget cuts of almost $20 million.

The university had raised tuition by $150 for in-state undergraduate students and $200 for all other students.  The total tuition increase will be $900 for in-state undergraduates and $950 for all other students.

“The need is immediate and the options are few,” NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said.  “This is the second consecutive year of deep budget cuts.  With generous state support, North Carolina universities have historically held their tuition as low as possible while providing a quality education.  But low tuition without quality is no bargain and without this tuition increase, academic quality will continue to erode.”

The new state budget takes $99 million from universities.  In the last three years, the state’s universities have taken a budget cut of $575 million.  This year, the state legislature gave universities the option of raising tuition by as much as $750.  Budget projections indicate NCState could lose up to 200 course sections and 6,500 classroom seats without the tuition increase.

“At some point, we have to stop the erosion or risk long-term damage to one of the state’s greatest assets: its higher education system,” Woodson said.  “But even a tuition increase of this size is no silver bullet.  NC State will still see about a $3 million shortfall.”  NC State will use the tuition increase to restore some of the classroom seats and course sections lost in recent budget cuts, and support faculty and research that have consistently contributed to North Carolina’s economic development, the chancellor said.  Consistent with its historical mission, NC State will set aside 20 percent of the tuition increase to support need-based financial aid.

“Our promise is to continue to protect the academic core and do all we can to ensure students have the opportunity to make steady progress toward graduation,” Woodson said. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

NCSL Report: Declining state revenues impacting Higher Education across the country

The recession has taken a brutal toll on state budgets and its impact has hit higher education particularly hard, says a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures about state revenue shortfalls and how it has translated into further budget cuts in fiscal year (FY) 2009 and FY 2010.

Because states, unlike the federal government, are required to balance their budgets, state funding for higher education is heavily influenced by the states’ fiscal situation, reflecting a cycle unique to higher education, the report said.  Funding typically takes a disproportionate hit when state fiscal conditions are weak, but experiences more robust increases when state budgets recover.

“The rationale is simple: Colleges and universities can find other sources of income, such as tuition, to compensate for reduced state support. This is not an option available to other state services. As a result, fluctuations in state fiscal conditions often have a greater impact on higher education,” the report said.

According to the report, financial woes brought on by global economic weakness have been especially hard on higher education institutions, which typically rely on three major funding streams: state appropriations, school endowments and tuition. In addition to declining appropriations, university endowments have received fewer gifts and experienced massive investment losses. With two of the three major funding sources down, many state policymakers turned to the only remaining source and raised tuition, thereby increasing the proportion that students and families pay for higher education.

According to research conducted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), tuition increased 2 percent between FY 2008 and FY 2009 and is now more than 37 percent of total education revenue. In FY 1984, it was less than 25 percent.

Click here to view the full report.

Passion Rules!