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Kathy Cain


Branding: how to get faculty members on board

January 4, 2016   //   Kathy Cain

So how can you convince those prickly profs and agitating administrators that branding and marketing matter? We asked a team of experts for their tips:

Don’t forget about face time

Look for a project, such as redesigning departmental websites, where your staff can work directly with faculty members.

“Working one on one is the best way to communicate what we’re trying to accomplish in terms of branding. We can’t do that with an e-mail.” says Jamie Ceman, integrated marketing and communications executive director at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Always do your research

If there’s one thing faculty members understand, it’s the power of research. How else can you decide which of many “great” ideas is worth pursuing?

“Research has a dramatic way of building faculty buy-in,” says Carole Custer, director of university marketing at Iowa State University. “That’s why we test our messages, we collect the views of our audience and we measure our results.”

Prove that you value their work

Spend time getting to know some key thought leaders. Pitch your faculty stars to The New York Times or CNN and land some key coverage.

“The marketing/communications function has to establish credibility with the faculty first. By working closely with us, they can see we are pros and that we understand their disciplines,” says Luanne Lawrence, associate chancellor of strategic communications at the University of California, Davis. “Taking a year or so to get to know the faculty and to show them that you know — and value — their work is the only way to get faculty buy-in for any campaign.”

Want more tips for maintaining your brand over the long haul?

Read Zehno’s new white paper, Life After Launch: Managing Your Brand

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