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University’s name recognition sees double-digit increase

Posted on 11.06.2013

Marketing data for the past eight years shows that the University of  Indianapolis is becoming more visible to central Indiana residents than in the past. According to data provided by Director of Marketing Joseph Solari, UIndy’s reputation has seen a double-digit increase over the past eight years.
The marketing department has an annual survey conducted by an outside firm on UIndy’s reputation and uses that data to gauge the effectiveness of campaigns. Solari said that, from the survey data, he has seen increases in positive responses towards the university.
“The people who can name University of Indianapolis have seen a double-digit increase in an eight-year time period. I don’t know if we are top of mind, but we are on the list,” Solari said. “We list a group of 20 schools and ask which ones have excellent reputations, and they name the ones who do. The university has also seen a double-digit increase there, too.”
According to Solari, UIndy is consistently among the top three or four private universities named. He said that that is remarkable considering the well-known private schools in Indiana, such as Butler University and the University of Notre Dame.
Junior accounting major Blazze Kreis said that while she worked at UniversiTEES in the Greenwood Park Mall, she noticed the awareness of  UIndy grew among customers. She also noticed a marked expansion of the store’s UIndy apparel section. By the time Kreis left UniversiTEES, they had added many items comparable to those from the Indiana University section, the best-selling section in the store.
UIndy was not always so prominent in the community. Early in the university’s history, when it was a school for Methodist ministers and educators, not many people were familiar with it. According to Solari, back then the professors were overly humble, and that, to some extent, worked against any successful marketing.
Director of  Media Relations Scott Hall said that this culture of modesty is still persistent today. He said that numerous professors whom he approaches with opportunities for media exposure brush it off and tell him that they are not the best expert and point to another colleague. Hall said that most UIndy professors are much more concerned with teaching and only like to talk to the media about their work with students and how it is benefitting the community.
According to Solari, in the past most people did not know about the university unless they had a direct link through family or friends or their own education. He said it was sort of a secrecy campaign: people knew that the university was here but did not know much about it.
Hall said that today media relations is trying to make UIndy’s mission and accomplishments more visible to the public and show the community what the university does best. He said he wants to show that UIndy is not an ivory tower institution and that students are getting an experience that will shape them into pillars of the community.
“Our students emerge here with an obligation to do service and be contributing citizens,” Hall said. “What we do here is not divorced from real life and work. We are introducing people to that world and how to be professionals and people.”
When Solari first came to work at UIndy, he and now Vice President of Communications and Marketing Mary Atteberry tried to identify a message that would set the university apart. According to Solari, branding theory says to focus on two or three memorable points, so marketing and public relations came up with messaging about the university that would help tell UIndy’s story.
According to Hall, in his time at UIndy there have been a handful of  key messages marketing and public relations have stuck with. They have stressed the quality of faculty relationships with students, the one-on-one personal attention students receive and the great opportunities for students to work in their field while they are still undergraduates.
Hall said that another message promotes UIndy as the total package, emphasizing that our location gives students a close-knit environment in the classroom and on a small campus, while living in America’s 13th largest city.
According to Solari, he gets a lot of anecdotal evidence that people are noticing the university. He said that it is not just the marketing and public relations departments that are increasing UIndy’s reputation: it is a campus-wide effort with presidents who have been visible in the community, professors being covered in the media, campus beautification, the Super Bowl and the Athletics and Recreation Center and activities at Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center that have been factors.
Kreis said that, in her experience, one thing that UIndy does to support its good reputation in the community is to foster a sense of service in their education.
“I really think that the community service that UIndy does helps make people more aware that it’s there,” Kreis said. “UIndy does a really good job at providing incentives for students to get out in the community and participate.”


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