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Category 66, Video (marketing) – Choose Houston Video

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Situation/Challenge

In January  2011,  when  the  Carnegie  Foundation  for  the  Advancement  of  Teaching  named  the   University  of  Houston  one  of  the  state’s  three  public  Tier  One  research  universities,  the   designation  marked  a  critical  time  for  UH.  It  became  a  prime  opportunity  to  further  UH   recognition  as  the  modern,  dynamic,  high-­‐quality  institution  that  ii  has  become.  However,  UH’s   reputation  historically  had  suffered.  Preliminary  brand  research  had  revealed  that  some   outdated  and  often  completely  erroneous  ideas  were  negatively  impacting  the  opinions  of   external  audiences.  Even  key  internal  segments  -­‐-­‐  faculty,  staff,  students  and  recent  alumni  -­‐-­‐   held  some  unflattering  beliefs  that  UH  was  “Cougar  High,”  only  a  commuter  school,  and  lacked  a   foundation  like  a  UT  or  A&M  for  school  pride.  With  that  challenge,  our  overall  goal  was  to   produce  a  video  that  reflects  a  bold,  emerging  university  full  of  confidence,  power  and  pride.       Research  insights  included:     • Focus  on  the  students,  not  the  “university”  as  the  heart  and  soul  of  UH     • Take  the  academic-­‐speak  out  of  our  brand  message     • Re-­‐engage  the  campus  with  brand  love  first,  then  reach  out  community-­‐wide     • Drive  interaction  and  engagement  among  our  students,  faculty,  alumni  and  business   community  and  give  them  permission  to  speak  with  enthusiasm  about  UH     • Make  an  earlier,  positive  brand  connection  with  students    

Objective

The UH  video  launched  during  the  fall  2011  semester,  but  objective  planning  began  early  in  the  year.  The  

marketing/communications goals  included  the  following:       1. Produce  a  video  that  captures  the  strategic  impact  and  relevance  to  further  the  UH   brand  –  bold,  confident,  strong  and  professional/aligned  with  Houston  businesses.     • introduce  a  new  era  in  Texas  education,  indicative  of  the  university’s  emerging   strength  and  power  as  a  Tier  One  public  research  university     2. Broadcast  the  video  during  all  local  and  nationally  televised  UH  Football  games  during   the  fall  ‘11  season,  and  at  a  minimum  of  six  campus  or  media  events  designed  to  reach   measurable  audiences.     • promote  Choose  Houston  video  spot  as  a  “choice  of  opportunity”  to  experience   student  life  and  reach  professional  aspirations   • capitalize  on  the  Tier  One  Carnegie  designation  and  connect  that  to  continued   success  of  each  student  and  all  alumni     3. Gauge  positive  (and  measurable,  when  possible)  feedback  from  audience  segments.      

Strategy/Tactics

We assigned  a  strategic  marketing  and  communications  team  to  develop  the  imagery  and   messaging  for  the  video.  Narrative  performed  by  Russ  Cassell  from  Sunspots  Productions,  Inc.   The  execution  of  the  video  was  positioned  around  the  remarkable  year  the  University  of   Houston  experienced  in  2011,  from  its  national  Carnegie  Tier  One  designation  and  Princeton   Review  recognitions  to  UH’s  historic  football  season  and  invitation  to  join  the  Big  East   Conference.            


Category 66, Video (marketing) – Choose Houston Video

Message  Alignment  

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The primary  message  was  to  communicate  across  multiple  platforms  using  a  broad  range  of   different  broadcast  tools.  By  promoting  the  brand  message  on  a  wide  range  of  video  platforms,   we  could  achieve  message  saturation,  which  would  lead  to  more  vocal  statements  of  Cougar   pride  and  brand  awareness  from  our  target  audiences  and  change  the  perceptions  noted  in   previous  research.  With  a  projected  budget  of  $5,000  and  internal  marketing  team,  we  launched   the  Choose  Houston  video  spot  in  fall  2011.     To  create  the  video  and  achieve  our  above-­‐mentioned  goals,  we  knew  we  needed  to   communicate  the  following:     • Institutional  Excellence   o presenting  one  of  the  “Best  Colleges”  in  the  country  (The  Princeton  Review)     • Campus  Beauty   o lush,  global  campus  for  diversity  at  its  best,  which  was  named  a  “Green   University”  (The  Princeton  Review)     • Bold,  confident  pride     o presentation  of  the  inner  strength  and  determinism  of  UH  as  a  university  of   choice  for  current  and  prospective  students,  in  addition,  invested  business   members   o positioning  of  split-­‐screen  shots:  (1)  close-­‐up  shot  of  student’s  face;  (2)  shots  of   the  city  of  Houston;  (3)  and  shots  of  the  students,  facilities  and  campus  life   depicting  only  some  of  the  UH  college  experiences  that  influence  student   success  beyond  the  classroom  and  in  their  professional  careers   o emerging  success  –  UH  is  “on  the  move”       • UH  Success   o driven  to  excellence  powered  by  student  success,  the  University  of  Houston’s   priority  as  a  Carnegie-­‐designated  Tier  One  institution   o UH  helps  fuel  Houston’s  success   o depicting  one  of  the  key  “big  rock”  goals  of  President  Khator’s  strategic   initiatives       • UH  Research   o breakthrough  research  –    positioned  to  make  a  major  impact  in  research  and   education  in  fields  spanning  biology  and  biochemistry,  kinesiology,  psychology,   mathematics,  pharmacy,  nutrition,  engineering,  optometry,  chemistry,  physics,   medicine  and  society  and  computer  science   o depicting  one  of  the  key  “big  rock”  goals  of  the  President  Khator’s  strategic   initiatives       • UH  Energy   o impact  –  powering  the  future  with  bold  innovation  in  the  energy  capital  of  the   world   o depicting  one  of  the  key  “big  rock”  goals  of  the  President  Khator’s  strategic   initiatives    


Category 66, Video (marketing) – Choose Houston Video

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UH  Arts   o vibrant  life  &  arts  -­‐  testament  to  the  strength  of  arts  programs  and   collaborations  that  ignite  the  imagination  of  our  students  and  connect  the   university  with  the  Houston  community  at  large.   o power  of  creativity  and  innovation  -­‐    depicted  as  cornerstones  of  a  Tier  One   institution  

Results

Each of  the  strategic  goals  and  communication  strategies  were  evaluated  and  measured:       • The  TV  spot  aired  locally  and  nationally  14  times  on  ESPN,  ESPN3.com,  ESPN  U,  Fox   Sports  Network  and  ABC,  with  over  10  million  in  TV  viewership   • The  video  spot  was  broadcast  live  on  ESPN  College  GameDay  (11/19/11)  to  a  total   audience  viewership  of  10,000     • Aired  at  Robertson  Stadium  during  the  UH  Football  season  14  times  to  a  total  audience   viewership  of  360,000   • Video  spot  received  over  5,000  views  on  the  UH  YouTube  page   • Over  200  copies  were  distributed  to  high-­‐end  donors  and  Houston  business  leaders     • Gelb  Consulting  conducted  market  research  among  our  key  constituencies  to  evaluate   our  marketing  and  branding  effectiveness  in  2011.  Key  findings,  many  of  which  are   embodied  in  the  video,  included:     o UH  is  “on  its  way  up”  and  narrowing  the  reputation  gap  with  other  Texas   institutions  (Rice  90%,  UT  88%,  A&M  80%,  UH  79%,  Tech  45%)     o Key  drivers  of  UH  reputation:  Tier  One,  professional,  prestigious,  preparation   for  the  global  workforce,  passion      

Choose Houston TV Spot  

National television commerical for the University of Houston