Overwhelming Response to Our Announcement About Jason Simon

On Friday, SimpsonScarborough announced that Jason Simon will be joining the firm as a partner in February. The response we received from friends and colleagues around the country was quite overwhelming. Thank you for all your notes and well wishes. Here is a sample:

  • “Congratulations Jason. Well deserved, well earned. I’m excited to see how you’ll change the industry next.”
  • “Congratulations. You can count me in as a future client.”
  • “Congratulations, Jason! This is a great move for you and your career and I hope it goes really well for you! Sorry to lose you from UC.”
  • “That is AWESOME!! I have four projects ahead with SimpsonScarborough this year, so it sure would be awesome to get to work with you! Congratulations!”
  • “Thanks so much for sharing with me. Can’t tell you how excited I am for you. I have a ton of respect and admiration for what SimpsonScarborough does and, with you in a leadership position there, I can only imagine what you’ll accomplish.”
  • “Congrats to you all! Jason is a great hire, and SimpsonScarborough shouldn’t settle for any less! I look forward to the next era for you all.”
  • “Congratulations on bringing in Jason. You guys will be phenomenal together. Looking forward to finding more ways to work together.”
  • “A great addition. Congrats!”
  • “What terrific news. Congratulations to you, Jason, and to everyone at SS. Looking forward to more great projects together.”
  • “Congratulations Elizabeth on a great addition to your already impressive team. We are excited about the potential of working with you all in the not-too-distant future.”
  • “Congratulations, all. Nice. Excellent choice. I thought Jason’s presentation at AMA was brilliant, and – more important – I thought the work he led at UC system was brilliant and well managed. Hmmmm, a ‘best’ joining the best. As life should be.”
  • “This is excellent news!!!! Congrats to Jason. What an asset for SimpsonScarborough.”
  • “We’re sad to lose him as a colleague but delighted to work with him as a partner. Welcome, Jason!”
  • “Congratulations, Elizabeth! You’ve landed a great catch, which will make a great firm even greater.”
  • “Congratulations to Jason and what a great addition for SimpsonScarborough!”
  • “I am very happy for you, but sad for the UC. I think you were the most innovative and forward looking person I have worked with at a university.”
  • “You will be terrific at this new work, and many institutions will be better off for having worked with you. Enjoy the journey!”
  • “Congratulations, Elizabeth! Jason is as lucky to be part of your team as you are to have him as one of your partners. His hire is truly on brand for SimpsonScarborough. Very cool.”
  • “I am very excited for you guys! Jason is awesome and I hope with all the work we’re planning to do this year that we get to work with him at some point! :)Congratulations!”
  • “That’s great for you. Really. I’ve conducted over 150 interviews and I was so impressed with Jason — whipsmart and really nice / professional. He will be a great asset, I’m sure! Congratulations!”
  • “Congratulations, Elizabeth, what a very smart strategic move!”
  • “What a match made in heaven. Congrats to you all.”
  • “I am so sorry to hear you’ll be leaving. What a loss for the university! But this sounds like a great opportunity. Congratulations and good luck on your new adventures!”
  • “Congratulations. Sounds like a good move for you. Thank you for you strong leadership at UC! Let’s stay in touch!”
  • “Congratulations!! For some reason I knew after your impressive presentation at AMA this year, which SimpsonScarborough obviously enjoyed, you would be moving on to bigger things! We have worked with Liz and Jeff for many years and would love to work with you also. “
  • “Congratulations on your move. Please use your great brain, however, to continue to advance understanding that “brand” as conventionally considered will not solve the great ills of higher education. I was so impressed by your capture of the larger concerns about value and service you were tackling in California. Keep that flame burning!”
  • “I am NOT surprised!”
  • “Exciting news! A great hire for your firm, as well!”
  • “Wow – great “get”! Well done!”
  • “That’s great news, Jason. SimpsonScarborough is a great company, and in fact they are on my list to contact about a new awareness study we need to do very soon.”

Marketing Research Industry Trends Report Publishing Soon

The new edition of GreenBook Industry Trends Report (GRIT) will be released January 27, and GreenBook has been offering some interesting “sneak peeks” at what’s coming. Recent blog posts identified the 10 most innovative companies in market research, the top five emerging research methods, and how the industry really feels about change. For the study of research professionals’ emotional response to change, GreenBook used the product MindSight developed by Forbes Consulting to explore unconscious emotional reactions, and the blog post provides a good overview of this model. The good news: 80% of respondents felt optimistic about industry changes. Keep an eye on the GreenBook website for the full GRIT report later this month. You can also download full versions of previous GRIT reports here.

Improve Your Content Marketing with Youtility

Have you struggled with determining what prospective students, parents, alumni and other constituents would find most interesting or meaningful when they hit your websites, social channels or email newsletters? Then Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help Not Hype is a must-read. Author Jay Baer tells readers to stop trying to be amazing and start being useful. Instead of marketing that’s wanted by companies, Youtility, he says, is marketing that’s wanted by customers—useful and free information that builds a long-term bond between an organization and its customers.

What does this look like in practice in higher education marketing? With more than 125,000 views, University of California’s video about why foam makes beer taste so good is a great example. Why does it work? 1) People like beer. 2) The storyteller is an interesting character. 3) The content itself is interesting—it explains why foam matters, and it’s a service to people making beer.

You’ll find dozens of additional examples—and a six-step process for creating Youtility—in Jay Baer’s book. Read the free sample chapter today.

Facebook Studio Awards Recognize Creative Excellence

Facebook is currently accepting submissions for their 2014 Facebook Studio Awards, which recognize the brands and agencies doing the best work on Facebook. Submissions will be judged on craft and execution, scale and targeting and business results, with four award levels: blue (top level), gold, silver and bronze.

Last year’s blue-level award went to DraftFCB and 360i for their work on Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign, which celebrated Oreo’s 100th birthday by posting 100 ads on its Facebook page in 100 days. Featuring Oreo’s “twist” on current news and pop culture topics, these ads triggered 1.3 million likes, shares and comments and received attention on shows including ABC News, the Colbert Report and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Gold-level winners included the Graubunden Tourism Board, Turner Network Television, Allstate, Nike UK and AT&T. Read about these and other winners at the Facebook Studio Awards page for great insight into Facebook marketing that works.

Did your institution implement an innovative and successful Facebook campaign in 2013? If so, submit your work for consideration by January 31. You’ll find criteria and submission details here.

River Hawks Rising: UML Brand a Success Story in the Making

UML's new, $40 million Health & Social Sciences building, which opened in 2013
UML’s new, $40 million Health & Social Sciences building, which opened in 2013


A Lowell, Massachusetts resident since 1998, I’ve watched with fascination as UMass Lowell (UML) has transformed itself under the leadership of former Congressman Marty Meehan, who became Chancellor in 2007. When I moved to the area, UML was widely perceived as a safety school—one lifelong Lowell residents have described to me as “a place for local kids to go get a bargain-basement education”—not a bad school, but nothing stellar.  It’s not that school anymore.

Enrollment is up 40% since 2007. UML ranks 158 in U.S. News & World Report’s2014 edition of Best Colleges, National Universities category, up 12 spots since 2013 and 25 spots in the past three years. It ranks tenth this year on Forbes magazine’s25 Best Value Colleges, and was ranked tenth by Payscale, Inc. on return on investment among public institutions nationwide.  Business Insider  named it the No. 1 “Most Underrated College in America.”

UML successes don’t end there.  In 2013, the UML River Hawks Division 1 Hockey Team won Hockey East and advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time since it entered D1 in 1984. All other sports, formerly Division 2, made the jump to Division 1 as part of the America East Conference this fall.

All these changes are getting attention. The regional newspaper, the Lowell Sun, last year featured a 72-page digital special on the University’s achievements. And last month, WCVB-5 Boston’s award-winning Chronicle program featured the transformation of Lowell—both university and the city itself (you can watch the UML segment here starting at the 2:10 mark).

None of these successes happened by chance. As the Lowell Sun reported, when it proposed naming its feature “The Miracle at UMass Lowell,” Chancellor Meehan balked, emphasizing that “every improvement has been strategically planned by university leaders.” That planning has included more than $500 million in capital investments, including new student housing, dining hall upgrades, new parking garages, and two new academic buildings—the first academic buildings constructed on campus since the 1970s.  Construction is currently underway on University Crossing, a hub that will connect the University’s three campuses to each other and to downtown Lowell and feature a one-stop service center for students, a new bookstore, a café, space for 150+ student organizations, and more. Planning has begun for the new Pulichino Tong Business Building, which will house the University’s Robert J. Manning School of Business. And on November 20, Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick announced a $20 million investment to renovate and modernize Perry Hall, home to the university’s engineering program. The River Hawks move to Division 1 was also a carefully plotted step in that strategic plan—a move to increase the university’s visibility and improve the student experience.

These successes also reflect a strong partnership between the University and its home city, a place with its own story of reinvention. This shared purpose and spirit of collaboration is visible everywhere, from the transformation of old properties into gleaming new facilities, to the university’s incubator program for high-tech startups, to the Graduate School of Education’s partnerships with the Lowell National Historical Park and the city’s public schools.

Through all of this, one thing is clear: the transformation of UMass Lowell is a story in progress. The River Hawks are rising—and driven to continue their momentum toward the top.