Saturday, December 17, 2016

Research Blog #10: Final Abstract, Bibliography, and Link to Your Paper



The brand is a promise of an experience. People think about brands on a daily basis without even thinking about it. When one  walks into a museum the promise is aesthetics, and when one attends a live football the promise is energy and spirit. The best brands are able to maintain legitimacy by being authentic. If the brand promise is kept the buyer will be more inclined to repeat the experience. Many of the top ranked universities in the country thrive because of strategic branding. One cannot deny the fact that branding has become a primary factor in building an image for the university. The brand image of a school creates a sense of identity for the students that attend the school as well as the potential students that may one day attend the school. College Athletics is an optimal way to outwardly brand a university because sports branding is everywhere in higher education. College athletics get media coverage which can be watched by alumni, stakeholders and potential students. The hope is that the brand image will encourage alumni to donate money and stakeholders to continue to invest money into the university, while attracting new potential students. Universities look for something unique that they can advertise to the public eye, to encourage the general population to want to be apart of the schools culture. The game of chess is perceived by many to be a complex game played by intelligent intellectuals which could just be the perfect device to advertise in terms of creating a brand image that represents what University is all about. Chess, as well as other niche sports such as fencing, golf, and crew offer significant scholarships to students who are experts at their craft. Many schools will brand advertise via billboard or internet about how good their teachers are, or how they try to build close relationships with the students preparing them for the “real world” after college. It is all just a facade to attract the student and ultimately make money which is what universities do best. The brand that a university decides to advertise does not always have to be factually true as we will see, however as long as the public perceive the information on the brand as positive then that university succeeded in their mission which plays perfectly into the idea of “brand logic”. This is a market-oriented form of deception that universities officials use in order to make a profit, at the expense of the common people paying tens of thousands of dollars for university. This essay will critique the idea of “brand culture” by discussing specific cases of universities that invested much time into their brand image, as well as discuss the creative branding opportunities that can arise through niche sports like chess. 

Blog #9 Argument and Counter-Argument

Argument and Counter-Argument 

The brand is a promise of an experience. The best brands are able to maintain legitimacy by being authentic. One cannot deny how important branding in higher education has become in order to recruit new students and maintain good relationships with alumni and stakeholders. Troy University understood this idea of how essential brand image is to a University as a whole and as a result they changed the brand culture of the school and continue to thrive as a school to this day. Chess could potentially be a great way to brand a university because of the way chess is perceived by the public. Even though chess cannot be directly linked to intelligence, chess is associated with intellectual ideas that are common in the university place such as focus, calculation, and competition which does not hurt chess advertisement in any way. However In Proffitt, and Corrigans’s article, Penn States Success with Honor”: How Institutional Structure and Brand Logic Disincentivized Disclosure they discuss the dangers of brand logic and brand culture. They critique institutional structure in saying that, “the “brand logic” of bit-time intercollegiate athletics programs places image and profits ahead of people. The leaders of a Penn State protected a man who has molested ten children by not reporting it to the police immediately, in order to protect themselves as well as the Penn state image. At the time this was catastrophic for Penn State. They had to fire all of the coaches from the football program, as well as the athletic director and other university officials. Penn State’s brand promise is "success with honor." There was nothing honorable about the way Penn state handled this entire situation and they suffered major consequences in student enrollment as well as a massive decline in their athletic recruits. Penn state spends a grand total of around one hundred million dollars on its football program and when something as terrible as this scandal occurs none of that should matter anymore. If public universities like Penn State are putting brands and profits before people, than they have truly lost the meaning of the public universities. In Harris’s article, Institutional Brand Personality and Advertisements During Televised Games he speaks on this matter and says, “Also, public universities, in particular, are moving away from public purpose rationales, even rhetorically, and embracing market approaches.”(Harris, 31) 

Blog #8 Case


Troy university officials realized that they could dramatically improve the reputation of the school by having a well thought out and strategic branding plan. The simple logic that is used is, “The public perception of a university’s athletic programs is often considered a principal aspect in building the brand image of the respective institution.” (Lee & Miloch & Kraft, 178) Troy used athletics as the central piece hoping that they would get more student athletes and general students to attend the university, as well as receive more profit and investments into the universities by alumni and key stakeholders. This is the same idea that Penn State and Ohio stat use, and it is the reason why they are they are athletic powerhouses, and worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This attempt to maintain a favorable brand though athletics is much more challenging for a small division two school with almost no visible reputation to the public because they are not getting the media time which makes it highly unlikely for the most talented and elite student athletes to chose Troy University over a school like Penn state. The university brilliantly put all of their efforts into building themselves as brands. Toma (2003) addresses that, “businesses colleges and universities must work both hard and smart to build themselves as brand. They must associate who they are and what they do with what people perceive to be positive.” The change in brand culture Troy University used completely turned the school around for the better. Susan Polgar and Webster University should do their research and try to implement some of these strategies to enhance Webster University through chess. 

Blog #7 Frame


In order for smaller schools to compete in the market with these powerhouse schools means that the university officials need to be tactical and strategic in the way that they brand their school to fit into the schools overall goal. In Jason W. Lee, Kimberly S. Miloch, and Patrick Kraft’s  Building the Brand: A Case Study of Troy University, Troy university is analyzed from a perspective of brand image and how the university cleverly used a similar type of “brand logic” as the powerhouse schools mentioned above in order to improve the school and make a small fortune. Is the power of branding in higher education truly able to legitimize the school to the public eye? If this is the case, than there can potentially be a market for athletics other than football, and basketball if advertised properly. Webster university’s  Susan Polgar, a chess GrandMaster has realized that the intellectual game of chess could be exactly what some universities are looking for in attempt to create a brand of intelligence and strategy and save millions of dollars while still achieving the overall goal of the university.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lit Review #5

Institutional Brand Personality and Advertisements During Televised Games

1. The Journal that the article is in

2.  Harris, Michael S. "Institutional Brand Personality and Advertisements During Televised Games." Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 10 Dec. 2009. Web.2 Nov. 2016. Harris, Michael S. "Institutional Brand Personality and Advertisements During Televised Games." Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 10 Dec. 2009. Web.2 Nov. 2016.

3. This article, much like other articles talks about how important branding has become in higher education in order to connect with prospective students, alumni, and other stakeholders. College athletics has a powerful opportunity to create an institutional identity, and culture that in order to distinguish themselves against competitors.  The author did a thorough analysis of different big universities branding strategies during the college football bowl games during the 2006-2007 season. According to his research if the brand image hits five aspect of human personality the brand is effective. These personality types that brands assume are, sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Naturally,  some of these are more appealing to potential students, while others are more appealing to graduates, alumni, and parents. However, he realized that much of what all of these big successful football schools were advertising was almost identical. They talk about success as depicted through prominent alumni or rankings, long tradition of the university, and they try to appeal to students by showing off the beautiful campus or the energetic environment at a football game. It costs a small fortune for a thirty second slot of time for a commercial during a bowl game, but in order to enhance the brand and legitimacy of the university it is completely worth the investment. It is difficult to capture all of the dynamic pieces or a university in a thirty second commercial, or a billboard. This is why the craft of branding is a work in progress and it gives the universities a chance to show the public what they have to offer. The author then goes into that it is slightly concerning that "public universities are moving away from public rationales"(Harris, 31) meaning that modern day competition in higher education is causing these public universities to move away from caring about the students before anything else and as a result they are embracing market approaches that private schools value.   

4. The author of this article is Michael S. Harris. Harris is an assistant professor of higher education, and works in the college education department at the University of Alabama. His research interests include the policy and organizational implications of market forces in higher education. 

    1. Branding- In every article the author has a slightly different opinion of this word. In this article branding is the act of sense making between institutions and consumers, establishing a foundation for the ongoing relationship between the two. (Weick, 1995)

2. Brand personality offers a lens for understanding these concepts. It is the set of human characteristics (that I mentioned before) associated with a brand, making the conept of brand image more concrete . 

   1. "the head football coach and even the athletic directer have a higher name recognition than the university's president or the most renowned faculty member." (Harris, 23)

2. "The brands are critical of course, in how external constituents come to understand a university or college, especially as a higher education id becoming more commercialized, with traditional rationales for support growing less pronounced and persuasive." (Harris, 29)

3. "But public purposes remain important, in institutional values among other things. This is particularly so with those messages focusing on success that stress the private benefits of higher education while neglecting its public purposes, even though most of the BCS institutions are public." (Harris, 31)

7. Much like the other scholarly articles about branding in higher education, this article stresses the importance of branding for universities in modern day society. Almost nothing gives a university more publicity then when they are playing in a big NCAA football bowl game. Not only is the school represented well by their talented football program, but during commercials there are always advertisements about the school and its appeal. A very long time ago when Rutgers football team was relevant, the used alumni James Gandolfini, most famous for his television portrayal of Tony soprano, and celebrity chef Mario Batali, to reinforce its pitch that "it all starts at Rutgers." The athletic programs as well as strong academic rankings and famous alumni lend legitimacy to the institution and gives them credibility so potential students gain interest in eventually attending the university. Once again, the problem with this type of branding is that the mass majority of these schools are advertising in a very similar way. They use the idea of brand personality which offers a lens for understanding the human characteristics making the brand image more concrete. When all of these universities are so similar in the message they are trying to portray it makes it very difficult for students to "shop" for the right school for them because it is hard to know what makes the school unique. This is why chess and other niche sports should have an increased role in the world of branding. Ideas that you can associate with chess and other niche sports like fencing and crew are, aristocratic, royal, intelligent, intellectual, strategic, tactical, and more. These are unique ideas that tie into most universities overall branding strategies.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blog #6 Visual

This image essentially illustrates my entire project. Many of the most successful schools in the country thrive because of strategic branding. Athletics is an optimal way to brand a university because sports receive media coverage which can be watched by alumni, stakeholders and potential students. As I discussed in my literature review number four, the brand does not always have to be factually true, but as long as the public perceive the information on the brand as positive then that university succeeded which plays perfectly into the idea of brand logic. This picture is really the first advertisement for chess in the University. This billboard is posted on I-70 in Missouri about ten miles away from the Webster football team billboard. The difference between the two teams is that the football team is a division three team that has an average record, and the chess team recruits the top players from twenty different countries and they are back to back national chess champions. This gives off something unique about the university that can attract students to want to be apart of this culture, or even try to become a good enough chess player to play on the team even though the actual academic level of some of the chess schools (UMBC to name another) are not very high quality schools. It also does not have to be chess, other niche sports such as fencing and crew offer significant scholarships to students and it allows the university to brand itself as a school with a top crew or fencing team which is considered a "royal" or "aristocratic" type of sport when comparing them to football and basketball. Chess fits in that "aristocratic" category, "the game of kings." One billboard will not completely change the culture of Webster University however, they are starting to realize that many of the top schools in the country are very popular because of good marketing and branding. Many schools will talk about how good their teachers are, or how they try to build close relationships with the students preparing them for their futures. It is all just a facade to attract the student and ultimately make money which is what universities do best.

Lit Review #4

Does Chess need intelligence? A study with young chess Players


2.  Bilalic, Merim, Peter McLeod, and Fernand Gobet. "Does Chess Need Intelligence? — A Study with Young Chess Players." Does Chess Need Intelligence? Elsevier, 7 June 2006. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.

3. Chess has always been seen as an intellectual game, and in order to be good at chess one must be very intelligent. This article is showing through scientific facts and extensive research data that this connection between chess and intelligence may not be as simply as people think. The scientists in this study did extensive testing on children and adults in order to try to link intelligence to chess. The 57 young chess players and some adults were given many different chess tests as well as different intelligence tests and they tried to link the two tests and find correlations or even causations. They first tried to link visuo-spatial abilities to chess, which ended up having no correlation whatsoever to a strong chess player. One would think that strong chess players have incredible visualization abilities because they are able to calculate and anticipate moves in their heads. It turns out that on the visuo-spatial part of the intelligence test the chess players and even elite chess players did not do particularly well, and no correlations were found. The other areas of the intelligence test included IQ, vocabulary, digit span, recall and more. The chess tests were mainly distinguished by problem solving, practice, experience, and in both of these tests age and gender were considered. It turns out that these researches could link very little about chess needing intelligence. The researchers actually found that if anything intelligence negatively correlates to chess skill. This is unexpected, but can be explained by a negative correlation between intelligence and practice that is put into chess among the elite chess players subsample. The study shows us that focusing on a single factor such as chessin complex real-world situations could be more harmful than helpful. 

4. The authors of this article are Merim Bilalic, Peter McLeod, and Fernand Gobet. Merim Bilalic is a Bosnian and Herzegovinian psychologist at the University Hospital of University of Tübingen, and FIDE Master in chess. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University in 2008 on the topic of Einstellung effect in Chess or why good thoughts block better ones, supervised by Peter McLeod and Fernand Gobet, and was awarded with the Science Prize of the Karpov Chess Academy Rhine-Neckar for his thesis. If any people are qualified to talk about chess and intelligence, it would be these three individuals. 

1. Chess-A two player strategy board game where Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces that are moved and used to capture opposing pieces according to precise rules. The object is to put the opponent's king under a direct attack from which escape is impossible ( checkmate ).  In context of the article the game of chess is much more than this. The game represents the beauty and creativity of two minds battling against one another in order to come out victorious. 

2. Intelligence- the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

 1. "It is widely acknowledged that chess is the king among (board) games. This special status is most likely a result of the intellectual aura which surrounds it." (Holding, 1985;Newell, Shaw, & Simon 1963).

2. "All analyses produced comparable results as presented here, intelligence had a positive albeit weaker effect on chess skill than practice when the whole sample was taken into account, while the link was moderately negative(just failing to reach significance) in the elite subsample. "(Bilalic, 467)

3. "The complexity of the real-world situations with a number of factors and their numerous interactions makes it difficult to disentangle the influences of intelligence and practice."(Bilalic, 569)

7. This article presents a very strong counter-argument to my claim of chess being an intellectual and intelligent niche sport that will attract certain types of students who fit into the university lifestyle. This article is basically saying that you scientifically cannot say that there is a link between chess and intelligence. This goes back to the power of branding at the university's in modern day society. Some of these branding and marketing strategies that schools are using to attract students do not even need to have factual evidence. Another example is Penn State's, "success with honor". There was clearly not very much honor going on when the majority of the football program protected a man who was a serial child molester. In order for schools like Webster, UMBC, Lindenwood, Texas Brownsville to become more well known is through implementing a  branding strategy to advertise there top notch chess programs. Even though chess and intelligence cannot be scientifically linked, it is a engaging branding point that could attract many intellectuals looking to achieve great things in college.