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Top 5 Summer Reads for Universities (and How They Can Inspire Your Marketing Campaigns)

July 25, 2018
4 months, 2 weeks ago
by

If we were to choose the best song to summarize our feelings on working during the summer, we’d go with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Don't Come Around Here No More.” With the majority of universities officially closing up shop for the summer, already-enrolled international students have probably booked their flights home, planning for this summer’s family dinners and spontaneous all-nighters with their friends.

What are universities going to do with all this spare time they've got on their hands? To help you out, we thought we’d bring a few refreshments for the new academic year to the table: our top five summer reads for 2018–2019. We’re referring to those covers that through their storylinesometimes unrelated to higher edstill manage to school us on what we (may) already know but didn’t have the time or chance to put on paper—and, more importantly, put to good use.

They are not, as one may expect, books on marketing KPIs, brand positioning, or consumer psychologynot in an obvious way, at least. They are reads about life, humanity, and ways we can change and better our thinking by opening our eyes to new perspectives. Meant to first solve our souls’ queries by either making us laugh, cry, or rethink our thinking, these books bring another angle to the way universities could approach their marketing message and how they could mold their branding as a whole. Because only when we understand human minds can we truly look to start a dialogue with each other.

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 

Short synopsis

Kahneman's entertaining and touching approach toward overconfidence and human irrationality puts under scrutiny our two methods of thinking and embedded self-delusions. One is the rebellious mode that quickly delivers us a draft of what reality is; the other is our more slow, effort-free reasoning about the world. The book is open to all of those who are ready to acknowledge the role of chance in life and demystify the self.

Favorite quote

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you're thinking about it.”

How this book can inspire universities

By penetrating humanity’s mind and seeing how little control it has over things, you penetrate your students’ mind automatically. Hence, you are able to shape your brand message more accurately, perfecting it until it becomes one with the receiver. A brand that empathises and relates to its audience is a brand that has a team behind it, completely dedicated to keep the brand promise and welcome and support their international students.

2. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Short synopsis

In this sarcastically humorous tale of a trio that decides to row up the River Thames, Jerome K. Jerome meanders through diverse topics on companionship and human foibles, adding more value to the “character is action” concept than ever. During the characters’ trip from London to Oxford, we study familiarity in a comic way, witness British absurdities and the common frustrations we all experience, and ponder upon life.

Favorite quote

“But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.”

How this book can inspire universities

What you say on your institution's website, on Instagram, and in your ad campaign is an extension of your services all the way to the students’ expectations. Use a touch of humor and a down-to-earth approach in that communication as humor is the magnifying glass for your brand. It strengthens that bridge.

3. Living on Thin Air: The New Economy by Charles Leadbeater

Short synopsis

This book zooms in on our everyday idea, creativity, and judgement trading in the so-called “knowledge economy.” Charles Leadbeater points out that we are making a living in an economy where the only brand that’s constantly promoted is ourselves. So, how do we reconstruct our social and economic institutions to get them to suit these new brands in the global age?

Favorite quote

“Knowledge is our most precious resource: we should organize society to maximize its creation and use. Our aim should be to harness the power of markets and community to the more fundamental goal of creating and spreading knowledge.”

How this book can inspire universities

By forecasting what opportunities new technologies can bring, universities can prepare themselves better and devise a cohesive communications plan based on personal approach and engaging, useful content. Aim for one-on-one student campaigns. Isn’t that the dream?

4. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Short synopsis

A simple spiritual writing on how to find meaning and purpose, a massage for the soul: that’s what this read is. Written by an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor, the first part of the book chronicles Viktor Frankl’s experiences during his time as an inmate in Auschwitz, followed by a chapter on therapeutic philosophy that discusses the biggest search of humankind.

Favorite quote

“So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”

How this book can inspire universities

International students take on a tremendous journey from the moment they hit the apply button. They experience new feelings and fears never imagined before; everything - from the language you speak to the food you cook - is different for them. Assume your new role: not just as an institution with modernized programs, but as a mentor that guides them during these winds of change while they search for their own meaning and role in life.

5. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Short synopsis

If life would be vinegar, what would it taste like for you? Sour, bitter, satisfying? Benjamin Hoff creates an incredible story based on this vinegar-tasting analogy. Quoting excerpts from Alan Alexander Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner books, Hoff introduces us to the concept of “effortless doing” and “being open to experience,” the Taoist concepts of wei wu we and pu.

Favorite quote

“Rabbit's clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit's clever.” “And he has Brain.”

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”

There was a long silence.

“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that's why he never understands anything.”

How this book can inspire universities

The Tao of Pooh is meant to show us that we can’t always play by the book. We can’t build campaigns by ticking off must-dos without relaxing our minds a little bit and rely on the small moments that link us together, brands and people. We can’t always think of international students as our target audience, as our consumers and users. Program your brand to regard them as people and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by thousands of unofficial brand ambassadors.

To understand student behavior, you have to understand human behavior. To understand international students, you have to understand cultures. You’ll never find the best ideas on how to attract them in Google’s search results, just like you won’t find insights for your campaigns in books with SEO-optimized titles. You’ll have to search deeper than that.

This blog article was originally published on Carnegie Global's blog page.

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