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TAMU Webmaster's Blog


Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters

Branding

Brand Guide Update

In preparation for the Brand Council meeting next week, the Marcomm brand team has created revised brand guide site in hopes that you and your teams will have time to explore it and begin asking questions. We’re calling this release a “brand aid” as the site is not a complete redesign, but more of a reskin.  A more complete redesign will be created in the future, but we know that there are immediate questions that need to be answered.

The primary changes you’ll find are in the color palette, design elements, and fonts.  As promised, the Aggie Fonts package is available to campus staff at no cost to you.  Also, take note of the “Download the Style Guide” button on the first page to get the August 2016 version of the Style Guide.

Be aware that the focus of this brand guide release is for print, but there are elements appropriate for the web.  Again the color palette, use of imagery, and approved fonts are areas to pay particular attention to.

Friday, August 26th, 2016 Branding No Comments

Lead by Example Campaign Website

Many of you are aware of the new Lead by Example comprehensive campaign.  This is a multi-year effort to raise awareness and funds for the university.  We launched the campaign website earlier this week at a presentation by President Young.

While the website was created by the campaign agency rather than by the Marcomm web team, it does mark an important milestone in moving forward.  The Lead by Example site, along with an upcoming reputational campaign website, will begin a shift toward a new set of brand guidelines which will be enforced on university websites.

We will shortly update the brand guide website with an overview of the new style changes, and will later be publishing a completely new brand guide.  If you are in the process of launching a new website, or soon will be, please reach out to Kim Miller or Laura Root at brandguide@tamu.edu in order to find out what the new style guidelines will look like.

Monday, August 8th, 2016 Branding No Comments

Web Branding

Today at Brand Council Marcomm announced that we will be starting to expand the scope of the current Brand Guide into the web arena. The current brand guide was originally written primarily with print in mind, and anything referring to the web was an afterthought based on what was decided for print. We recognize that this has led to a lot of confusion, and that the rules and decisions for the web are just plain different from those of print. We will therefore be taking a systematic approach to examine the brand rules from top-to-bottom and publish something that makes sense for our medium.

Note that many of us, our office included, have been lax in the past with keeping our pages in step with the university branding effort. Things have reached the point, though, that some university pages can hardly be identified as belonging to the university. We need to turn this trend around and let everybody clearly know what to expect.

I don’t have anything to tell right now about what will be required. We are still in the beginning stages of the effort and don’t know that ourselves. We also do not intend this to be something that we decide and then require of campus. We will be engaging communicators, designers, and developers from across campus in making these decisions. We want to reflect a brand that represents all of us, which means listening to what you need. At the same time, well defined guidelines will also mean more rigid guidelines once they are in place.

While we are only just now beginning the process, if any of you are currently working on new site designs I would suggest that you get in touch with me or Kim Miller so that we can talk about your new design and whether it would be within the new guidelines.

Thursday, July 11th, 2013 Branding 1 Comment

Questions regarding student-athlete promotion

Below is an important email for what we may and may not include on our web pages.


On 12/11/2012 09:19 AM, Cook, Jason D wrote:

Brand Council — As many of you have seen, Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy has brought unparalleled national exposure for Texas A&M. Many of you have inquired about tapping into this excitement in your respective marketing and communications efforts. Unfortunately, we will need to be very restrictive in how such promotional efforts proceed, for the following reasons:

— Per NCAA rules, we, nor any third parties, are not allowed to profit from a student-athlete’s name, image or likeness.

— “Johnny Football” is currently being trademarked by the Manziel family, with our involvement and assistance. This is to protect his current eligibility and future interests.

— “Heisman” is a registered trademark of The Heisman Trust, and all use must be pre-approved by the Trust.

We will proceed under the guideline that current student-athletes are not to be used to promote department- or college-level initiatives. University-level use may be approved based on review from the Athletic Compliance Office, Athletics External Ops and Division of Marketing and Communications.

We understand that there may be special circumstances from time to time, as we want to continue using athletics to introduce audiences to the greater University. Please feel free to contact Diane or Shane if you have any questions and we will engage the appropriate parties in Athletics. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Sent from my iPad
Jason Cook
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Texas A&M University

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 Branding, design No Comments

New Site – Brand Guide

As always seems to happen over the summer, our scheduled list of projects got an unexpected addition last month.  President Loftin’s mandate that university units transition from individual logos to university logos goes into effect today, so we were asked to revise and republish the university Brand Guide site to help support the transition.  This site will give official color palettes, logo downloads, writing and photography guidelines, and much more.

Kim and the brand team will be actively soliciting feedback, which we will then incorporate back into the site.  We expect at least one or two major updates to the site over the next month or two as this feedback gets digested and added.

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 Branding No Comments

12-for-12 Website

The university marketing group has launched a new initiative that attempts to introduce and strengthen the university brand with targeted audiences, position Texas A&M as a Tier-I university, advance our core values, and deepen the brand affinity.

Building on the concept of the Twelfth Man, the program looks to feature twelve impacts that showcase the impact of Texas A&M at the state and national levels. Each month articles from across the university will showcase a particular topic… Energy, Environment, Public Policy & Service, etc.

We have created a special host site for this initiative at http://12thman.tamu.edu. It joins TAMUtimes as a key element in introducing Texas A&M to the rest of the world.

Friday, April 13th, 2012 Branding No Comments

It’s time for “It’s Time”

The "It's Time for Texas A&M" campaign finally gets a home

As Erick noted a few posts back, we’ve done some updating to our “Campus viewpoint” on the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s website. Well as part of our redo on that, we’re going to be doing some extra marketing with them using some of our recent ads.

The ad points them to the “inside story” on a number of topics (you might have seen ads for Dr. Berry, Dr. Liu, Dr. Lee, TAMU-Q, and the like) so we needed a quick little mini site. However, I was also looking for an opportunity to try something a little different.

So, we went out and built “http://www.tamu.edu/itstime/” as a down and dirty micro site to house the elements and assets of the It’s Time campaign. I’ve been wanting to find a more robust way of doing slideshows/galleries and so I found the jQuery-based “Galleriffic” slideshow.

What I like about the way the Galleriffic developer implemented his JS gallery and CSS is that he realizes that many people in a slideshow/lightbox want the ability to add significant HTML content like links, lists, bullet points and copy. This way, I was able to render a fully realized slideshow with copy and links in a short period of time.

Ultimately, the gallery just represents the start as I think we’re going to add on to the microsite to provide a point of reference and support for those wanting to start incorporating the It’s Time theme into their web and print materials. It will have assets (like logos and templates), examples, and ways to contact DMC folks if you are wanting to create ads like the ones displayed in the It’s Time gallery.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 Branding, Multimedia No Comments

eduWEB: marketing becomes customer service

Though the closing keynote speaker at eduWeb conference did approach student recruitment from the perspective of commercial marketing and even salesmanship, his concept of marketing also embraces more personal factors: relationships and customer service. As Erick noted, he sometimes sounded ruthless, but he tempered his ruthlessness by saying, for example, that we shouldn’t try to convince every student to enroll, only those we can best serve.

With my slight background in direct marketing, I’m fascinated by how easy it can be to continue with business as usual (and unfortunately state employees are notorious for this, aren’t we?) without ever finding out if we’re meeting the needs of our customers. Of course, direct marketers believe they’re immune to this problem since they claim they’d go out of business if they weren’t!

The speaker, a former admissions director, urged each member of the university community to see every working hour as contributing to the central goal. (To help his own company’s meetings to do that, he removed the chairs from his conference room). He quoted a college gardener who, when asked what his job was, said, “To recruit fine students.” Certainly it was more than erosion control. Every part of a university, even every website, contributes to the opinion that outsiders have of it. Responsibility cannot really be shared. Only individuals can be responsible.

“What’s your school’s elevator pitch?” the speaker challenged. An entrepreneur develops an elevator pitch because his only chance to win a big investor or a big client might last only a few seconds. Before the elevator door opens, he or she has to prove why this enterprise is different from any other. Every university needs a unique selling point. If another school can do what we do, then we’re redundant.

It can’t be said too often: visitors to your website come for their reasons, not for yours. What are they looking for? The speaker quoted Michael Sexton, Dean of Admissions at Lewis & Clark College: “Stories not stats, people not programs.”

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009 Branding 2 Comments

eduWeb – Email Campaigns

A summary of relevant elements from the outline:

Always use third-party email providers.  They may be expensive but it is much better than trying to do things in-house.  If nothing else, these providers won’t get you blocked/blacklisted by the spam monitors.  They also offer analytics to let you track your mail campaign that home-grown systems do not have.

Make your HTML templates simple and unobstructive.  Remember that most people view with images off, so look at your email that way before you send it and make sure that it doesn’t lose meaning.  Use clear and concise alt tags!

Your email campaign should have a look and feel that corresponds to your public web site.  They don’t need to be identical, but that visual similarity helps to reinforce your brand and your campaign points.

Use table structure to create your outlines, not CSS.  Email clients haven’t caught up with browsers in how they render things, so don’t be a standards-snob.  Many will not support the paragraph <p> tag either, so it is best to stick with divs and tables.

Always test your email templates.  Using Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and HotMail should cover the majority of the public mail clients.  You can also consult http://email-standards.org or any similar blog that tracks supported features of the various mail readers.

Content is king.  Keep your call to action short and concise.  Ideally your email should be centered around one topic or idea.  Keep content short – “Don’t make me scroll.”   Long newsletters are particularly burdensome.

Use descriptive subject lines – tell us what’s inside the email.  Users will often decide how much attention to give the email (even once opened) by what they first read in the subject.

Assuming you are using HTML mail, use the HTML.  Link your URLs, don’t write them out or put them afterward in parentheses.  You should never have visible URLs unless you expect the email to be printed.

Monday, August 10th, 2009 Analytics, Branding 1 Comment

eduWeb – Online Video

Examples of how to use videos on campus:

Create a “build your own adventure” virtual tour, where the tour changes depending on answers provided by the user.  For example, those indicating that they will live on-campus go to one branch while those living off-campus go through another.   A good example is http://www.laverne.edu/virtualtour/

  • The successful video is short and to the point: ~2.6 minutes
  • Give a Share This option
  • Catchy titles make a difference.  Think “Ninja!”   Here title truly is more important than content.

An admissions office might want to create a series of How-Tos

  • Use these to create a knowledge center
  • admissions, financial aid, tutoring, etc.
  • ehow.com

Think outside the box.  Online videos are great, but consider distributing through DVD.  This might be of particular use to recruitment centers in urban environments.

Prospective students generally look at video for one thing – “Will I fit in?”

Be creative. Boon Oakley on YouTube uses visual elements of the “page” as a progress meter / navigation bar.

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Monday, July 27th, 2009 Branding No Comments

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