Western begins media campaign

Joe Lord

Western may soon find itself in prime time.

A marketing campaign has been launched to promote awareness of the university. The effort is focused on Kentucky and the surrounding areas and is expected to gain steam next semester.

The marketing campaign is aimed at increasing awareness among potential students, faculty and donors across Kentucky and the mid South region, said Bob Edwards, assistant vice president for University Relations.

The university is considering using television, radio and print advertising to reach outside the Bowling Green area, Edwards said.

The marketing campaign does not yet have the funding needed, said Tom Hiles, vice president for Institutional Advancement. The cost of the campaign is to be determined.

Western will send out its message through existing publications, such as newsletters and the alumni magazine, Edwards said. The university is also trying to improve its communication with the news media.

Edwards said while Western is well-known locally, its programs often lack notice in other parts of the region.

Much of the focus would be placed on Western’s most prominent programs, such as engineering, forensics and journalism, he said.

Hiles said the marketing campaign could improve Western’s image throughout Kentucky.

“We think that adds value to everyone’s degree,” he said in February.

Residents of Kentucky and the surrounding states haven’t yet heard of the university’s strong suits, such as the School of Journalism and Broadcasting’s strong placing in national competitions, Hiles said.

“I have colleagues in the state who don’t even believe that’s the case,” he said.

Hiles said recent achievements of Western’s strategic plan make now a good time to launch a marketing campaign.

But Robbin Taylor, director of government relations, said getting the word out about Western across Kentucky won’t have as much impact as face-to-face communication.

A committee was formed in May to help create standard messages for Western to market upon, Edwards said. That committee has representatives from several departments across campus.

He has also met with 31 university groups to discuss how to market Western.

Edwards said Western had a marketing campaign with good messages and ideas before he arrived on the Hill last year.

“It was just not well promoted or advertised,” he said.

Work has already begun on the new campaign.

An effort to create a family of publications from the Gordon Ford College of Business is underway, Edwards said. The program will make its brochures and newsletters consistent in appearance and message to make them more recognizable and understandable.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]