New campaign focuses on 'faculty all-stars'

The second phase of Eastern Michigan University’s TRUEMU campaign was initiated this week, focusing more on faculty than the first phase.
EMU Associate Vice President of Marketing Ted Coutilish said the campaign’s second phase will focus on EMU’s “faculty all-stars,” picked by the deans of all five EMU colleges.

Faculty senate president and professor of computer science, Matt Evett, said the faculty is appreciative that the campaign “highlights academic accomplishments.”

“I think the faculty is always happy when any of the advertising highlights academics,” he said.

Formatted similarly to those from the first phase, the new images will feature a faculty member and an individualized “power statement” chosen the faculty member.

“Our faculty really are down to earth, practical, caring, outstanding in so many ways,” Evett said. “That’s what we’re going to capture.”

EMU Vice President of Communications Walter Kraft said he has been involved with many marketing campaigns for many companies and in his experience campaigns as individualized as TRUEMU are rare.

“It’s fairly distinctive from an overall marketing standpoint in that every billboard you see, every light-post you see, the power-statements are originated by the person,” he said. “They’re communicating their unique vision and what makes their role at Eastern unique.”

Coutilish said the TRUEMU campaign was the first he’s seen in his five years at EMU to integrate marketing efforts for athletics, student recruitment and university image.

“At the time we started researching and looking at the different design options for the campaign, we had three different university campaigns,” he said. “We wanted that single campaign to be integrated across all of the different groups.”

The TRUEMU campaign began in August 2011. It was chosen out of 11 initial concepts presented to discussion groups and displayed in the Student Center for three weeks.

Coutilish said the process began last spring, when EMU contracted three external agencies to draft designs for the campaign and TRUEMU was the campus favorite.

“We asked students, parents and faculty and staff to weigh in on their opinion and let us know which one they liked,” he said. “The overwhelming favorite was TRUEMU.”

According to Kraft, measuring the effectiveness of any marketing campaign is difficult.

“There are some indirect ways,” he said. “It’s often hard to come up with an exact cause-and-effect relationship when you’re talking about things like this. But we monitor several things.”

Some of the things EMU uses to measure marketing efficacy include surveys and monitoring event attendance in response to strategic advertising.

“We try to get a perspective of how effectively we are communicating the positive things that happen at Eastern,” he said.

Along with the billboards and light post banners, TRUEMU will continue to feature advertisements for radio and television. These advertisements have additional expenses due to production and the cost of airtime.

Kraft said this year’s marketing budget was $889,000 with $200,000 of extra funding for television advertising.

Coutilish said marketing’s annual base budget is “just over $800,000,” but the division asks for extra funding at the beginning of each fiscal year, based on its ambitions for the next year.

“At the beginning of the year, we pitch for money for the next year,” he said. “We do it before the fiscal year starts. It’s more detailed.”

Coutilish said the current integrated marketing plan is about 34 pages and “details what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and why.”

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