Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

Sample work

Here are a few examples of work we have completed recently.

2012 Chancellor’s Report:

2012 Chancellor's report

2012-2013 Admissions Viewbook

2012-2013 Viewbook

2012 Promotional Video

Promotional video

Sample Advertising

Print Ads:

Print ad 1

Sample print adPrint ad 2 Print ad 3

Outdoor Ads:

Billboard 1

Billboard 2

Billboard 3

Billboard 4

Radio Ads:

STEM thought leadership positioning for the Chancellor, 0:60

Campus growth, 0:15 (voice over by me)

Student “Andrew” 0:60

Student “Natalie” 0:60

May 21, 2013 Posted by | communication, higher education, marketing, media | , , , | Leave a comment

Acting Like an Agency

The University Marketing and Communications (UMC) team structure is set up as a strategic communications agency serving our internal clients. With a client-facing level around our core tactical services, we operate as an integrated marketing team for the University. Our services include strategy development, web strategy, interactive media, graphic design, publication and copywriting, media relations, advertising development, market research, event management, social media integration, email marketing, photography, video production, and more. Our team leaders are empowered as relationship managers, serving as a liaison for various internal clients, helping them clarify their marketing objectives and formulating strategies to meet the objectives. I presented this poster at the AASCU Strategic Communicators conference in Washington, D.C., April 2013.

Acting Like an Agency

 

 

 

 

May 14, 2013 Posted by | engaging, higher education, leadership, marketing, relationships | , | Leave a comment

A Virtual Week at Summer Camp

camp ondessonk logoSo many of us benefitted from a camp in the summer—whether it was in the woods or in a science lab or in a gym, the events during those camps helped shape who we are today. One of my particular favorites is Camp Ondessonk, a rustic, outdoor Catholic youth camp in Southern Illinois.

So how could you possibly recreate such an experience in the “off season”, if you will, perhaps not exactly but as close as you can get using virtual tools? Camp Ondessonk and Elasticity are making it happen. I am currently participating in Ondessonk Online this week. While I think it is a brilliant idea, I certainly was skeptical of how to transform as much of the experience as possible into virtual activities.

From the Camper Guide we received:

This program takes place entirely within the normal activities of Facebook and Twitter. Campers will only need a basic knowledge of those two channels, as well as the basic ability to navigate the web, to participate.

So far, this has been absolutely true! I am particularly interested in how to effectively utilize social media to energize your passionate base, as well as pull a few folks into the brand experience who would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and experience camp Ondessonk. More interesting though is how you can invoke visceral emotional reactions in the “guests” to this virtual event—so much so that they continue their engagement with Camp after virtual camp is over. Whether volunteering for work days, contributing money for campership and general operating funds, or helping recruit by talking about their great experiences, I truly hope this is one more way to keep our constituents engaged and attract more.

For now, you can watch the event unfold by following @OndessonkGA and the #ondessonk hashtag on Twitter, and the chatter on the Camp Facebook page, facebook.com/CampOndessonk. As with all things, the participants have to put effort forth in order to reap benefits after.  I’ll report back the success when the week is finished.

What other events or experiences are successfully conducted online and utilizing social media? What was effective? What wasn’t?

February 9, 2012 Posted by | connecting, engaging, marketing, social media | , , , , | Leave a comment

Forbes College Ranking: True Gauge or Sketchy Data?

Forbes recently released their annual rankings of colleges. The rankings were calculated in partnership with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. My institution was conspicuously absent, and I was asked to investigate why. (The responsibility for responding to external credibility surveys lies within my unit.) What I have subsequently found is that the rankings are based on existing, publicly available data (IE no surveys were sent to each institution requesting data, information.) Which in and of itself would not trouble me, except that the data points used, to me and others, are questionable at best. Additionally, information like the infamous “other cost” category institutions report as an allowable cost at the discretion of the student to cover expenses like mileage to clinicals, internships, etc. in their financial aid package, are treated as actual billed charges, therefore increasing the “cost of attendance” and subsequently this elusive “net price” calculation and the debt load calculation (predicted, I might add).

I have several excerpts from articles, blog posts, and even their own methodology posted below giving a glimpse of the, in my humble opinion, “sketchiness” of this ranking. I can only hope that Joe and Jane Sixpack are able to sort through the variables…oh wait, they likely can’t. So now we have another “think tank” with a clear agenda (political or otherwise) leveraging a brand like Forbes to advance their cause.

How important are rankings like this and U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges? Only the audiences we are trying to attract will tell. And believe me, I intend to ask them just that, so we can tailor our approach accordingly to these surveys.

Compiling the Forbes /CCAP Rankings (excerpt from the methodology document, full document can be found on their site)

By the Staff of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity

 Ranking Factors and Weights

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), in conjunction with Forbes , compiled its college rankings using five general categories, with several components within each general category. The weightings are listed in parentheses:

1. Student Satisfaction (27.5%)

  • Student Evaluations from RateMyProfessor.com (17.5%)
  • Actual Freshman-to-Sophomore Retention Rates (5%)
  • Predicted vs. Actual Freshman-to-Sophomore Retention Rates (5%)

2. Post-Graduate Success (30%)

  • Listings of Alumni in Who’s Who in America (10%)
  • Salary of Alumni from Payscale.com (15%)
  • Alumni in Forbes/CCAP Corporate Officers List (5%)

3. Student Debt (17.5%)

  • Average Federal Student Loan Debt Load (10%)
  • Student Loan Default Rates (5%)
  • Predicted vs. Actual Percent of Students Taking Federal Loans (2.5%)

4. Four-year Graduation Rate (17.5%)

  • Actual Four-year Graduation Rate (8.75%)
  • Predicted vs. Actual Four-year Graduation Rate(8.75%)

5. Competitive Awards (7.5%)

  • Student Nationally Competitive Awards (7.5%)

School Selection

The 650 institutions of higher education in this ranking are schools which award undergraduate degrees or certificates requiring ―4 or more years‖ of study, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and only those schools categorized by The Carnegie Foundation as Doctorate-granting Universities, Master‘s Colleges and Universities, or Baccalaureate Colleges are included in this sample of schools.

Of the 650 schools included in the sample, 608 wereincluded in the 2010 college ranking. (A total of 610 schools were ranked in 2010, but two of them, Bryant University and Missouri University of Science and Technology are now classified as ―Special Focus‖ institutions by the Carnegie Foundation). We have accounted for any name changes that have occurred over the past year. The 42 schools added this year to the sample are all institutions classified by the Carnegie Foundation as Doctoral/Research Universities and were added based upon undergraduate enrollment size.

A Little History of the Forbes Rankings from 2008-present, excerpt from a commentary on methodology (full commentary can be found at: http://bestcollegerankings.org/popular-rankings/forbes-college-rankings/)

2008 marked the first year that Forbes entered the college ranking fray. They choose to use a methodology that included the following percentages: Listing of Alumni in the 2008 Who’s Who in America (25 percent); student evaluations of professors from Ratemyprofessors.com (25 percent); four-year graduation rates (16 2/3 percent); enrollment-adjusted numbers of students and faculty receiving nationally competitive awards (16 2/3 percent); average four year accumulated student debt of those borrowing money (16 2/3 percent). They did not break colleges down into different schools as U.S. News does, but instead choose to separate private and public colleges instead.

Methodology: In conjunction with Dr. Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University, and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), Forbes inaugurated its first ranking of America’s Best Colleges in 2008. They based 25 percent of their rankings on seven million student evaluations of courses and instructors, as recorded on the Web site RateMyProfessors.com. Another 25 percent depended upon how many of the school’s alumni, adjusted for enrollment, are listed among the notable people in Who’s Who in America. The other half of the ranking was based equally on three factors: the average amount of student debt at graduation held by those who borrowed; the percentage of students graduating in four years; and the number of students or faculty, adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive awards like Rhodes Scholarships or Nobel Prizes. CCAP ranked only the top 15 percent or so of all undergraduate institutions.

Negative Commentary on the Methodology (Excerpt from Suite101.com: The Forbes Best College Rankings 2011: Are They Kidding?

What Goes in Must Come Out

First of all, a quick review of the Forbes methodology. It is the goal of the rankings to evaluate college as a consumer or investor would evaluate a commercial product. The focus is on the return on investment–for what you pay, do you get a good “value”? The most important element in assessing this value is “Post-Graduate Success,” accounting for 30 percent of the total.

This “success” is measured by the salaries of graduates as reported by Payscale.com; membership in “Who’s Who”; and by alumni representation on a list of corporate officers chosen by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). CEOs and board members of leading companies are the only persons who are eligible, thereby narrowing the definition of “success” to achievement in the business world only.

It is interesting that Forbes would allow use of “Who’s Who” listings as a measure of college success. In a 1999 article for the magazine called “The Hall of Lame,” Tucker Carlson, a Fox News commentator, derisively showed how inclusion in Who’s Who publications did not require notable achievement.

Another 17.5 percent of the total is based on student evaluations of instructors, taken from the website Ratemyprofessors.com. While student evaluations are useful, they can also lead professors to emphasize popularity at the expense of scholastic rigor.

An additional 17.5 percent of the total comes from actual and anticipated four-year graduation rates. Using four-year rates rather than six-year rates clearly favors colleges that are wealthy enough to subsidize virtually all eligible students based on need or merit, or whose student body is made up of highly-prepared students with sufficient economic support. State universities, whose students often have to work part-time or even take a semester off from school, usually cannot match the four-year graduation rates of private colleges.

Likewise, the rankings penalize colleges whose students have higher student debt loads, and this also slants the rankings toward wealthy colleges and parents.

Academic Reputation—Forget It

The most glaring deficiency of the Forbes survey is that the only standard it uses to assess the intellectual credibility of a college is the data from Ratemyprofessor.com. Academic reputation and faculty achievement count for nothing, even though a recent UCLA study of more than 200,000 freshman across the country revealed that undergraduate academic reputation was the most important factor for these students when they were choosing a college. Forbes wants to change that perception, but does the magazine really believe that reputation counts for nothing in the business world as well?

It is ironic that a survey that is supposed to be student-centered disregards the one factor that students themselves cite as being most important to them: quality. Interestingly, the UCLA study also showed that prospective students are learning to be guarded in their use of college rankings, a healthy sign indeed.

August 10, 2011 Posted by | higher education, marketing, reputation management | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data”

I love the quote from W. Edwards Fleming, “In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data”. [Excerpt from Wikipedia: William Edwards Fleming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant. He is perhaps best known for his work in Japan. There, from 1950 onward, he taught top management how to improve design (and thus service), product quality, testing and sales (the last through global markets) through various methods, including the application of statistical methods.]

I came across a few blog posts/articles recently addressing marketing trends, stats, etc., that I found interesting. Just sharing light reading to consider as we continue our marketing and advertising efforts!

How are we paying attention to data? How do we have the right blend of data versus instinct? For my job specifically, how is higher education marketing and recruiting adapting to the changing consumer behavior, specifically on the web, and getting away from the direct mail (spray and pray, shotgun method, etc.) strategy? What is a good percentage of your budget to move away from the “tried and true” methods and test in some of the strategies described in the following posts? So much to consider!

June 17, 2011 Posted by | communication, higher education, marketing, social media | , , , , | 2 Comments

University Branding Takes to the Air

I know this is not “new” news, but the recent addition to the fleet of Horizon Airlines airplanes to don public university branding caught my attention again. The Montana State University Bobcat theme brings the total to eight planes in the airline’s fleet promoting public universities in the northwest.

How do you measure success of that brand advertising initiative?? More importantly, how do you justify the cost? I have no clue what the price tag was for those branded planes, nor am I aware of the budget situation in these states. I do however know about the state of Illinois budget situation and the resulting pinch the public universities are facing. (And pinch is an understatement!) I would find it very hard to justify the cost without being able to prove a direct link to enrolling more students or raising more money for the foundation.

I do also recognize that each of us in the marketing field is trying to be more creative than our competition in getting our message out to our audience. This latest advertising space is certainly creative; I am just not sure how effective it is. Thoughts?

If you are really bored, you can watch the video of the Washington State University plane being painted with the school’s fight song in the background. 

November 13, 2010 Posted by | higher education, marketing | , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Easy to Ruin Your Credibility on LinkedIn

One wrong tap on the keyboard, one too-fast click on the mouse–that’s all it takes to put a serious dent in your credibility on LinkedIn. Two times in the last week I saw group postings come through LinkedIn groups with substantial misspellings in the headline. And it’s not like they spelled the championship-winning word for the 2010 Spelling Bee wrong.

“Business Journal rolls out redisigned site”

This was my favorite so far. How well is this positioning the person as a credible source for the business journal? How professional is it making the publication itself look? (Note: the individual posting is an official representative of the publication.)

I can’t find the other one…they must have realized the error and fixed it. Are my standards too high? Is it too difficult to proofread your own material? If you are an admittedly bad speller, have someone proofread your work. Or, if you are posting on a site that doesn’t have a spell checker built in, write your content in MS Word FIRST, then paste into the site.

I have misspelled words before. But it usually is a result of working too fast or trying to do too many things at one time. To me, misspellings in the group situation on LinkedIn is saying that you don’t care enough about my time or interest to spell check your work or go through the same process to ensure accuracy as you would on a direct mail piece. Just because the medium of social media/networking is easy, convenient and lightning fast doesn’t mean that my time online is not as valuable as with more traditional media.

I truly do want to know if my standards are too high. Yes, I can claim several spelling bee championship titles and I realize my standards for myself are much higher than others. But I still stick by my statement that your audience’s time is precious and you should treat it as such by not only posting things that are relevant, but making sure you have checked your work!

October 25, 2010 Posted by | marketing, reputation management, social media | , , , , | 1 Comment

I Have Seen It All…Facebook Credits for Sale at Target!

You could have picked my jaw up off the floor in the checkout line at Target. I don’t know why I allow myself to be surprised by things like this anymore, but I am. Right next to the gift cards you could purchase from Applebees, Target, iTunes, etc., was a gift card to purchase Facebook credits. Yep, you could give as a gift more reasons to waste time on the most popular social networking site. Amazing isn’t it that folks now actually spend money on Facebook for their additions to Farmville and other games/applications I routinely block.

So if you were still skeptical that people were spending inordinate amounts of time on Facebook being lured into the games and third-party applications out there, are you convinced now? Are you going to take advantage of their ad-serving platform (remarkably similar to the Google Adwords platform) or perhaps build a third-party application for folks to get addicted to?

October 15, 2010 Posted by | marketing, resources, sales, social media | , , , | Leave a comment

Hunger Strike to Challenge College Rankings

Continuing with the season of college rankings, here is an interesting story about a student embarking on a hunger strike to draw attention to the inadequacy of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings process. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think there are more important issues in the world about which we should go on a hunger strike.

Washington Monthly College RankingsWashington Monthly puts out an interesting college guide. They rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories:

  • Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students)
  • Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs)
  • Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country)

This certainly sounds like a much more worthwhile ranking system for prospective students and parents than the U.S. News rankings based on fame, exclusivity and money.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | higher education, marketing, public relations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Would You Like to be Given a D+?

Drake D+ CampaignIs Drake University’s new ad campaign a bust, or successfully getting everyone talking about the school and its benefits to prospective students? It has been the center of significant attention on the web, including just a few I ran across recently:

If their marketing team’s purpose was to create something viral that everyone would talk about, mission accomplished. However, the fact that people are referring to the education you can get at Drake as a “D+” grade is probably not the image they were hoping for.

I also found it interesting that the marketing team did not even include their own staff and faculty in the testing of the new campaign. Your internal audience does not necessarily have to approve everything you do, but you can certainly create a sense of ownership and buy in if you involve them in the process where appropriate. By not including them, the marketing team had to backpedal and be on the defensive, explaining what the ad campaign was about in an internal email that of course someone posted online.

And what does this mean to the reputation of their advertising partner in the process, Stamats? Are they now branded as an agency that can create edgy advertising campaigns, or a team that didn’t include all stakeholders in the testing process or notice that ramifications of a “D+ Grade”?

In today’s communications climate, everyone is searching for the story or idea or campaign that is going to get everyone talking about their product/service/school. Was Drake successful? What do you think?

September 5, 2010 Posted by | engaging, higher education, marketing, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment