Laurie Taylor column

July 30, 2004

V-cs buy into idea idea of building the brand. Times Higher , July 23.

Good morning. I'm Mike Stance, Poppleton's new marketing director. There it is in PowerPoint. MIKE STANCE. Today I'm going to unveil the results of two years' work by leading brand consultants, which has produced not one, but five unique selling propositions for this university. Yes, the elderly gentleman with the thick glasses. Your name and your point.

Professor Lapping. You can't have five "unique" propositions.

Taken aboard. But hey, let's press on. First up was the idea of capitalising on Poppleton's unique nominal features. It is the only UK university with three letter Ps in its title. So what about "Mind your Ps at Poppleton"? Here it is in PowerPoint. MIND YOUR Ps AT POPPLETON. Yes, the gentleman with the thick glasses.

What about the Qs? You can't just mind your Ps.

Very helpful. Then the team turned to the "Pop" part of the word and combined it with a reference to lecturing. "Life's such fun at Poppleton: Pop Goes the Easel." Let's see that. POP GOES THE EASEL.

No one's used an easel for years. It makes us sound like Goodbye Mr Chips .

Thanks again. Then the team thought about linking Poppleton with the idea of fun. How about "HellzaPoppleton"? Apparently, there's a film of that name.

It was made in 1941. No student would have heard of it.

Very useful feedback. Then there was the suggestion that we link our name to the Government's concern to widen access: "POPPLETON UNIVERSITY IS PEOPLETOWN UNIVERSITY".

Makes us sound like a 1930s fictional American suburb.

Thank you again. And finally, how about associating the university with the world of pop. If Britain's top musical performer would endorse us, we could announce ourselves as "Pop Elton" John. Let's see it on the screen.

POP-ELTON-JOHN. The man with the thick glasses?

Where's this screen you keep talking about?

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