According to data gathered by UNM's marketing team, the average person has a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
In line with that, the University's goal with branding is keeping the promotional message candy-coated but to the point.
In March, the marketing department assembled a “visual identity committee” to evaluate UNM's visual representation as part of its re-branding initiative.
The combination of font, photography and graphics create a unifying signature look that permeates much of UNM’s marketing and informational material.
The look is currently being assessed and altered, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Cinnamon Blair said
UNM began working with an advertising agency called 160over90 in September. The international creative marketing agency, headquartered in Philadelphia, has worked with UNM in assessing campus culture to update the brand accordingly.
160over90 also wrote "Three in a Tree," a book on college marketing clichés.
Blair said that because many college advertisements look the same, UNM’s collaboration with 160over90 involves the endeavor to avoid stereotypical representations.
This goal is informed by UNM marketing team research that finds consumers are gaining more power over brand perception, she said. UNM marketing has worked with 160over90 in the creative design of a new undergraduate informational book, re-designing the homepage and collaborating on its current public service announcement project.
With 160over90s help, UNM is crafting a 30-second PSA to be aired during halftime of college sports games that will represent the University truthfully, Blair said. The commercial casts real UNM students along with local talent.
The screenshot list is finalized, which features scenes filmed around the UNM campus, she said. The project is now in script finalization phase.
UNM’s undergraduate informational book is another project that’s been finalized this summer. The book is to be dispersed at college fairs, future freshmen orientation and tabling events to parents and students.
The three-part booklet includes a section devoted to selling the city of Albuquerque with the intention of increasing awareness of UNM internationally. UNM branding seeks to diminish some common misconceptions about the city to increase interest in attending the University.
“We want people to know Albuquerque by more than the old roadrunner cartoon,” Blair said.
Blair demonstrated one example by pointing to a photograph in the book of a UNM building surrounded by lush green grass. “Here, we show that even though this is the desert, New Mexico does have grass."
One page of the book includes a picturesque scene of the Sandia Mountains while highlighting various activities offered by the city, such as skiing, camping and filming movies.
Albuquerque selling points include the potential for the city to become the next Silicon Valley and its welcoming and friendly demeanor, as well as its blue skies and sunny weather, Blair said.
The UNM homepage reads, “A city that’s simultaneously cosmopolitan and soulful, urban and rural, and brimming with lights and possibilities. This is Albuquerque.”
Blair said marketing strategies also aim to highlight what’s distinctive about UNM itself, emphasizing that UNM campus is like a city within a city, a bustling place with its own culture. That is a vital part of the rebranding campaign.
The campus’ original architecture creating fascinating shadows is also illustrated in promotional photography.
Blair said UNM marketing is also focusing on highlighting UNM as a pillar for the sciences.
“UNM is known for athletics, but many are not aware of what UNM does research-wise,” she said.
While aiming to inform the public of UNM’s top degree programs in the sciences, UNM spotlights notable alumni, students and staff, she said. In data-gathering, another factor that’s perceived to make UNM unique is that students are allowed to be individuals.
“We found that there is not as much of a need to be defined by a group as compared to other University campuses,” Blair said. “We like to capitalize on the idea that each individual defines the whole."
Headlines such as "Individuals Together " and "Each of Us Defines All of Us" can be spotted on the UNM homepage.
Blair said UNM’s branding team also employs students for writing, design, website development, photography and social media, offering the people who best know the University the chance to represent it succinctly and honestly.
Similar marketing strategies can be found at the University of Florida (UF), whose image 160over90 has also revamped in the past. The agency has worked with UF on three campaigns, re-designing its homepage and collaborating on the creation of a commercial for the institution.
Nicole Yucht, assistant vice president of communications at UF, said there are similarities and differences between marketing visuals between that university and UNM, and those can be seen by comparing the two institution's websites.
Although UF’s tagline is "For the gator good,” “Together Unstoppable” is another slogan found in much of the UF’s promotional material.
Yucht said UF is also casting students for their public service announcement and attempting to keep their advertisement as authentic as possible.
“People would be able to tell if things were staged,” Yucht said.
When asked how this marketing campaign relates to the negative media attention that UNM sometimes gets, such as the current controversy surrounding a former professor being investigated for sexual harassment, Blair said UNM isn't trying to pull covers over any problems it may have.
“We don’t want to advertise our way out of issues," she said.
However, she said the new marketing campaign should offer a comprehensive impression of the University that distracts from focusing on one particular negative image, she said.