The University of Houston Image Campaign
The vision of the University of Houston is to be the nation’s preeminent
public urban research institution. While we are well on our way, to complete
our journey we need to attract more and better resources. We need to be
a school of choice. We need a reputation of excellence. So like any good
university, we formed a committee; we developed a proposal; we took that
proposal to the University’s President; and we got his support to
The results: a hugely successful five-year, $5 million branding campaign
the committee selected McCann-Erickson (now Temerlin McClain) as its advertising
agency, promoted the concept of a campaign across campus, gathered feedback,
established specific objectives, laid the foundation for integrating advertising
and other campus communication (both internal and external), and worked
diligently to secure funding. The advertising campaign was launched on
February 1, 2000.
Internet ads focus on nationally ranked programs at UH, while billboards
demonstrate connections to the community. Prominent alumni appear in another
series of print ads. And the UH Cougar Mascot ties all these pieces together.
We define the university’s audiences as “influencers.”
Specifically, we are targeting key executives, community leaders, human
resources professionals, alumni, faculty, staff and students.
Research proves that the campaign is successful. In fact, we are exceeding
Build campaign awareness – Over the course
of the campaign, total advertising awareness has increased 10 percent
across our target markets.
Gain recognition of UH as a community leader The
surveys show that the image of UH as an important community asset has
risen consistently. UH is now comparable to the University of Texas,
Texas A&M and Rice in the areas of providing quality employees, making
contributions to the city, spurring the economy, and educating community
leaders all key campaign messages.
Increase alumni awareness – UH has close to
200,000 alumni with approximately 2/3 residing in the Houston metropolitan
area, so they are a major audience for the university. Though overall
brand awareness has remained steady with the alumni audience, since
the inception of the campaign, we have seen modest increases in alumni
Place UH among Texas’ top four universities To test
brand awareness, researchers ask people to name the top universities
in Texas. And The University of Houston is included in more and more
people’s lists. Since the first survey was conducted in November 2000,
top-of-mind brand awareness among all audiences has increased by 8 percent
overall and 29 percent among key executives. UH is top among all other
target audiences and trails only the University of Texas in brand awareness
among community leaders.
Enhance perception of UH quality - Over 50% of the
people polled in 2002 ranked UH high for quality of education, faculty
and academic programs all key messages presented in the advertising.
So by 2002, we had already reached the level we had hoped to reach by
the end of the five-year campaign.
There are other indicators of success, as well. Informal feedback has
been extremely positive and continuous. Though the campaign was not directly
aimed at recruiting students or increasing donors, we have seen a nearly
10% increase in freshmen applications and a 30% increase in alumni donors
to the annual fund. Donors have specifically mentioned the ads in making
contributions to programs that were highlighted. Campaign images have
appeared all over campus and on many UH publications.
Last, but not least, the campaign has won numerous local, regional, national,
and international awards, including:
The International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC’s)
top worldwide award, the Gold Quill
IABC Silver (district) Quill
IABC Bronze (local) Quill
Two Silver and one Bronze Telly, the top national award honoring
local/regional TV commercials
One Gold and Two Silver Awards from District IV, Council for the
Advancement and Support of Education
One Gold and three Bronze ADDYs from the Houston Advertising Federation
The Grand Excalibur and Gold Awards from the Houston Chapter of the
Public Relations Society of America
Silver and Bronze Awards from the Houston International Film Festival
Top marketing program of the year from the Houston Chapter of the
American Marketing Association
Showing the world that the University of Houston is a great university.
The University of Houston. Learning. Leading.
Market Research 2003 Power Point Presentation