KU to fine-tune image across state
What is KU’s image? How strong is our reputation? Are we visible
for the right reasons with the right people?
These are some of the questions being asked this spring as part of an
integrated marketing communications planning process under way throughout
the university. As part of that process, KU also will investigate the
repercussions of weaker images and reputations and the impact they may
have on public and private support, recruiting and a university’s
role in economic development.
effort, begun under former Executive Vice Chancellor for University Relations
Janet Murguia and continuing under her interim successor, Kevin Boatright,
so far has involved more than 100 faculty, unclassified staff, alumni
and students. All four campuses are represented, including academic units,
research centers and affiliated groups.
“As we move toward implementation, we welcome questions and feedback
and anticipate posting information on a Web site,” Boatright said.
The overriding goal of the research and integrated marketing effort, he
said, is to enhance the image, reputation and visibility of KU.
Four KU marketing teams of staff are working on objectives related to
strengthening state funding, enhancing recruiting, improving visual identity,
and spreading the university’s messages about how KU serves and
benefits Kansas. Several survey research projects also are under way that
will fine-tune preliminary plans and help evaluate future progress toward
the objectives. The university also is assessing the overall effectiveness
of internal communications at KU.
Visual identity is a key component of the planning process.
“Large corporations develop brands because it’s smart business,”
Boatright said. “Consumers recognize and value the Hallmark crown
or John Deere green. The same principle applies to universities.”
Currently, KU has many different logos and symbols. Color usage also is
inconsistent, as is something as basic as the name of the university.
“KU serves Kansas in many ways, but we don’t always get credit
for what we do,” Boatright said. “One advantage of an integrated
marketing plan is that audiences will better recognize the depth and breadth
of our contributions to the state. We think that will pay off in student
and faculty recruitment, future legislative support and other ways.”
Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Executive Vice Chancellors David Shulenburger
and Don Hagen, and various deans are involved in the effort, which is
being paid for largely with private funds.
In addition to KU staff, the university has drawn on the advice and experience
of a nationwide team of alumni who work professionally in the marketing
field. This team is providing feedback. The planning process also has
been assisted by Simpson Communications, a nationally respected consultant
to major universities.
“The marketing communications planning process is continuous, and
it involves more than just University Relations or the Lawrence campus,”
Boatright said. “Our goal is to make it a permanent process that
adapts to new conditions and the changing expectations of our audiences.”
Members of the four teams welcome opportunities to share details of the
“We’ve identified groups we’d especially like to meet
with, from now through the fall, but we are also open to invitations from
other interested groups,” Boatright said.
For more information, or to request a presentation, call 864-710 or e-mail
KU marketing goals
• Further the overall mission of the university
• Better define the KU image and institutional identity
• Tell the KU success story to key audiences more effectively
• Make better use of existing resources: staff/funding
• Enhance recruiting of prospective students and faculty
• Strengthen internal communications
• Develop more sustained public and private revenue streams
• Be recognized as a Top 25 public university