Does your brand inspire passion?
Poor Microsoft. Despite being a market leader in a number of categories (web browser, operating system to name just two), no one loves Microsoft products.
On the other hand, people love Apple. They desire Apple products (and when I say “desire,” I mean they desire them in a way that conjures up base emotions, the beating of one’s heart — you know, like when you were 7 years old and wanted something for Christmas).
When no one is passionate about wanting your products, that’s a brand marketing problem. And so it’s easy to predict that Microsoft will continue to lose market share. As someone who is responsible for marketing a brand in higher ed, this idea of generating passion (or exposing the passion that exists) is very important to me.
I saw an excellent blog post about “brand insistence,” or the idea that a successful brand is one where buyers feel there is no substitute (http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2012/07/brand-insistence-where-there-are-no-substitutes.html). This makes a lot of sense, in that a good brand differentiates from competitors. But beyond being different or distinct from competitors, the idea that your brand is one that customers insist on means that you are driving decisions in a very powerful way. Again, think of the 7 year-old insisting on her toy. There will be no substitute. There is passion and desire for this one thing.
At Michigan Engineering, a huge portion of our target market is incredibly passionate about the brand, namely, alumni. There is no substitute for them; they love the brand. This may be the same for a lot of consumer brands with strong customer loyalty — once you try our product, you will love us. You’ll wear the colors, sing the song and live the brand.
But how can we translate that for prospective customers? How does Apple get a person to insist on their brand when that person hasn’t even owned his or her first Mac?
Maybe part of the key, as it is with consumer products, is to let more people see how passionate our current customers are. When prospective students hear about what current students are doing to change the world, and how passionate they are about making a difference, those prospective students may become passionate as well.
What does a prospective student say after she reads about an alum who learned about perseverance when he was on the Solar Car Team and how that helped him weather through 3 failed startups before turning his fourth business into a success? Hopefully, that prospective students says, “I want to go to Michigan.”
A brand is more than a feature or strength. A brand is more than being different than the competition. A strong brand is one that stirs passion in the heart and creates an insistence that nothing else will do.
Here’s our take on inspiring passion about the Michigan Engineering brand. http://youtu.be/lA1uRfZhhGY?hd=1
What takes place during the Olympics at minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit?
In the middle of the Olympics, there will be a very special feat — a display of ability that really would be more appropriate for the Winter Olympics, since it will be taking place in a climate that will get as low as 200 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. On August 5, the Mars Science Lab will land on the surface of Mars.
The way the MSL rover will get to the surface is worthy of a science fiction flick. Using rocket thrusters, a platform will hover 60 feet above the Martian surface and lower the rover down on a cable. It really looks crazy.
Because Michigan Engineering had a role in a couple aspects of the mission, we decided to create a special website. You can learn about the mission and watch a video of the crazy landing technique here:
The story was written by Nicole Casal Moore and Allison Lyons. The site was designed and developed by Ben Collins, our Web Designer and Developer. He used impress.js, a presentation tool based on CSS3. We thought it was important to be a little ‘out of this world’ for this story, and impress.js was the right platform.
The site (a digital multimedia experience if ever there was one) would be of i
Please share a link to the site with anyone who you think might be interested in Mars, or interested in seeing a truly innovative presentation tool.
Being Creative at a Museum of Art
The Communications & Marketing team at Michigan Engineering recently had a staff Offsite, held appropriately enough at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. What better setting to reflect, be creative and peer into the future.
One of the ideas we came up with in a brainstorming session was to produce a daily podcast or video with engineering stories. We liked the idea of creating something regular and interesting to encourage folks to make us part of a daily routine.
There were also ideas for making our workspace a more creative environment. We talked about everything including piping in music, rearranging the furniture, special meetings, a massive project wall.
In the weeks leading up to the Offsite, we interviewed each other and came up with a lot of personal info and stories. At the Offsite, the tidbits of info and quotes from the interviews were handed out — without any indication of who said what. Then we tried to match the info and quotes with the right person. Even though we work with each other every day, we discovered there was plenty we don’t know about each other. And we learned that our colleagues had lots of interesting perspectives and experiences.
There were lots of other ideas that we generated. The biggest challenge now will be following up on the ideas that we came up with. Nobody likes spending a day creatively thinking about the future, only to see all the great ideas forgotten in the days and weeks that follow.
I’ll keep you updated. And hopefully the creativity that we experienced at the Museum of Art will turn into real projects being produced by our office in the weeks and months to come.
Being creative. Planning for our future. C&M Offsite at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. (Taken with Instagram)
Marketing is what you do to get your message or promise to customers. Your Brand is how you keep the promise made through delivery to customers and colleagues.