Archive for April, 2014

| posted by Joe Hice |

Branding is an investment in the future

With the recent introduction of the University of Florida’s “UF Rising” campaign — a sub-campaign, if you will, running along side The Gator Nation banner — and some other things going on around me, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of branding in Higher Education and the work we did while I was at UF, NC State, Harley-Davidson and elsewhere.

UF Rising logoI don’t think there is any doubt that Branding is an investment in the future of any organization.

In the competitive world of higher education, the reality is, the most recognizable university “brands” consistently attract the best students, faculty and staff; secure the most funding; gain the greatest accolades, and receive the most recognition in the press.  All of which are critical factors in the health, growth and long-term success of an institution.

As I’ve said many times, universities do not operate in a vacuum.  Today, most universities market themselves aggressively and many have already begun their own branding campaigns.

The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation.  NC State is Locally Responsive, Globally Engaged.  Makers All at Purdue University.  Know Wonk at American University in Washington, and The University of British Columbia is A Place of Mind.  I could go on.

The objective of the branding effort should be to build the kind of reputation and public image that instills confidence across a wide base of constituents.

Confidence on the part of the best students to choose the university over other universities.  Confidence on the part of faculty and staff to want to be a part of a prestigious institution, one they can be proud of.  Confidence on the part of alumni that their investment in time, money and passion is well placed.  And confidence on the part of the legislative bodies and other funding organizations to invest more aggressively in an institution that is producing great returns for the state and the nation.

Corporations know that leading brands enjoy a tremendous advantage over their competitors, and so it is with universities.  The investment made in branding comes back many fold…for years and years to come.

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Passion Rules!

The Gator Nation is Everywhere



| posted by Joe Hice |

OVER = More Than

Recently the Associated Press Stylebook announced it would  recognize “over” as a synonym for “more than.”  As a former editor, my heart stopped when I read that.  It started right back up — my heart, that is —  but I was shocked.

It’s probably hard to understand if you haven’t worked in journalism, but the AP Stylebook has been the tome of editors forever.  Along with Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, the AP Stylebook established the rules for proper usage.

I keep 40-year-old versions of each in my office and while I use the computer when I have most style and spelling questions, it’s reassuring to know the original tablets are right there beside me.

For years I’ve taught kids and colleagues that you went over or under a bridge and you had more than or less than in dollars, cents . . . numbers.

But that has all changed and I’ve got to accept it.  I’d say get over it, but that might confuse us even more.

I am tempted to say that the change will be accepted “More than my dead body,” but I’ve always maintained that change is inevitable and you’ve got to go with it.  So here we go.

Read more:

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Passion Rules!


| posted by Joe Hice |

The University of Florida is The Foundation FOR The Gator Nation, not of …

Since we introduced The Gator Nation concept to the University of Florida’s branding efforts back in the summer of 2005 (yes, it is that recent), the UF Alumni Association and others have often confused the themeline (tag Line);  The University of Florida, The Foundation for The Gator Nation.

The most recent issue of the UF alumni magazine uses “of” instead of “for” as a sub-head in one of its stories. Shame on you.

Whether to use “of” or “for” was discussed at length when we were creating the campaign, but in the end  it was an easy call.  The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation.  Here’s why:

Of and for are prepositions that are commonly interchanged.  The words of and for are also two of the most commonly used prepositions in the English language. Of and for are used to signify a relationship between objects or subjects.


Of is a preposition that may mean relating to or pertaining to.  It simply signifies a relationship between two objects. An example would be:

• Florida basketball is an important part of  The Gator Nation.

* Tim Tebow is a member of The Gator Nation.


For, on the other hand, signifies a relationship that has developed over a period of time such as days, months, years, decades, centuries. Get it, The Gator Nation is always growing, always changing, always improving.

Thus,  The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation because The Gator Nation is not a static thing.  It will always be growing, changing, evolving.

Because consistency is critical in order to create a successful brand, it’s important that everyone at UF be consistent in their use of the phrase, “The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation.”

Yeah, I know people ignore the rules of grammar all the time and only brand geeks like myself will care about this one, but the brand statement is For.  If you don’t want to be accused of diminishing the brand and looking stupid . . .  well, you know what I was going to say . . .

Here’s a link to the UF brand guidelines.

1 of Many

Passion Rules!