College Pays Firm $80,000 to Rebrand Image

Tomorrow at TCNJ?The College of New Jersey will be launching a new marketing campaign designed to support fundraising, increase out-of-state enrollment, and improve TCNJ’s reputation to advance revenue-generation initiatives, according to newly appointed VP of College Relations and Advancement, Dr. Matthew Golden.

Last spring, Cognitive Marketing, a Rochester, NY firm, was hired to build and help implement a messaging platform for this campaign. According to Golden, the College has paid $80,000 of the total $168,000 the Board of Trustees allocated for the firm. The following are Cognitive Marketing’s primary suggestions:

‘Promise’

TCNJ readies exceptional students to take up the charge of improving the world.

‘Key Messages’

TCNJ is a nationally renowned residential undergraduate college.

TCNJ provides an educational opportunity that takes full advantage of a state of the art campus at the heart of the most diverse socio-economic region in America.

TCNJ is a welcoming community of people who believe in one another and actively engage in caring for the world in which they live.

TCNJ will never shrink from its mission nor its mandate, whatever challenges and changes the future may require of public higher education.

‘Signature’

Tomorrow at TCNJ

‘Market Positioning Statement’

The College of New Jersey is the best undergraduate institution in the nation for students of ability and determination who seek an education that is both vigorously intellectual and deeply connected to the world…

The College’s Division of Advancement held an open forum last Wednesday, November 3, in which Cognitive Marketing president Peter Holloran presented his firm’s findings and suggestions. At the forum, The Perspective’s request for the presentation to be shared online with the TCNJ community was rebuffed by Golden and Holloran, who both said that the presentation was not sufficient without the aid of Holloran’s oral explanation.

Furthermore, Golden told the Times of Trenton that Cognitive Marketing’s results are not final, but mere proposals for future advertisements. However, the College’s news page already broadcasts the first part of CM’s “Market Positioning Statement.”

So The Perspective wants to know: what do you think? Do Cognitive Marketing’s statements about and for the College accurately represent TCNJ? Does TCNJ need to be re-branded? Why or why not?

Please respond in the comment section below, or email  //

letters-at-tcnjperspective-dot-com

Updated 11/11/10

Comments

9 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Anonymous,

    I definitely think it needs to be rebranded. They should start by making the website look better. It is awful compared to other colleges. Also, I don’t really like the “signature”

  2. Glenn's girlfriend,

    First, I think the “Signature” is pretty awful, unoriginal, and doesn’t mean anything.

    Second, the “Market Positioning Statement” — “The College of New Jersey is the best undergraduate institution in the nation for students of ability and determination who seek an education that is both vigorously intellectual and deeply connected to the world…” — is… just not true. Although I think highly of TCNJ, we are not the best undergraduate institution in the nation. I highly doubt that someone will believe that TCNJ is the best.

    Lastly, and most importantly, why are we spending $168,000 for this? This marketing firm does not know TCNJ like the students know it — why not have a committee of students to try and work on this first? I’m sure if the school got a group of marketing and cognitive psychology students together, they could come up with something that is far better than “Tomorrow at TCNJ.” It would also be great experience for the students to work on it – something more hands on than what the classroom offers and something they could put on their resumes. Last semester I had a company come into my cognitive psychology class and talk to us about how to redesign the signs at TCNJ – why not do something similar to this? The amount of money they’re spending compared to what we’re getting (“Tomorrow at TCNJ…”) is pretty ridiculous. The appeal of TCNJ is that we’re a value school – “Better and cheaper than Rutgers” or “Close enough to Princeton” would have been improvements over their proposal.

    (I’m not saying the school doesn’t need to be rebranded… this just doesn’t seem like the right way to go about it.)

  3. Your Mom,

    I definitely don’t think the key messages are representative of TCNJ, but in a sense, with the way that a big portion of the population is replaced every four years it almost doesn’t matter. If the marketing is successful then people who feel they would fit in at TCNJ (lol “people who believe in one another and actively engage in caring for the world in which they live”) will come and change what kind of college TCNJ is.

    So is the marketing deceptive? Of course.
    I guess that’s the nature of marketing.

    The question is whether or not it will be successful, which is dependent on whether or not people believe it and/or if this message triumphs over other conflicting messages. We shall see?

  4. Glenn's friend,

    I agree with Glenn’s girlfriend. I would love to be the guy who gets paid $80,000 to spew two paragraphs of unoriginal, false, nebulous bullshit to plaster on a school website. Why does it cost that much to create “Tomorrow at TCNJ?”

    Didn’t we just have unprecedented budget cuts?

    I think, theoretically, it makes sense to pay this much for a PR firm. If done right, a good marketing campaign could help attract higher-achieving kids, lead to more alumni donations, etc. But this is really poor quality.

  5. Dick,

    Baha I bust into one of the presentations these PR bastards held in the library basement, and let’s just say shit got interesting. Professors were perplexed, administrators abhorred, hilarity and hypocrisy exposure ensued.

  6. Glenn's other friend,

    Marketing TCNJ to out-of-state students is certainly an important initiative our school can take to both improve the diversity of our applicant base, and to heighten the competition of the application process. However, I also take issue with the means TCNJ is attemping to do so.

    As Glenn’s girlfriend so acutely pointed out, we could easily cut the costs of this project by opening it up to students and faculty who know much more about the school than any marketing firm. Furthermore, by having students and faculty work together on a project like this, we could effectively reduce the chances of having any misleading statements or facts appear in the new campaign.

    P.S I’m really proud that the Perspective has continued to report on the more difficult issues our school faces as opposed to some of the other publications on campus..
    I

  7. Neil's friend,

    i agree with glenn’s girlfriend

  8. Glen's Octobeard,

    I’d love to see that $80,000 go to internet that actually fucking works.

  9. IceNine,

    I’d love to see an increase Eickhoff’s pay by approximately $80,000 so he can re-rebrand TCNJ’s image with his Stealing Ivy Name and Gaining Public Fame Marketing Technique.

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