The presentation is over. Time to relax and enjoy the ride. The topic table I lead was really just that, a place to discuss a topic. I gave a quick introduction of myself and The University of Montana’s journey into open source. We talked about our similar experiences, getting tied into large products and paying support, and running into road blocks due to lack of flexibility and ability to customize and tweak the different systems we work on.

One of the things that I noticed was that several of the people there didn’t really care if these tools were Open Source, but the fact that they were free and easy for non-techy folks to set up, try out and use. And they’re free. The point no one can get over. It’s free. The red tape disappears. The bureaucracy is bypassed. The pain, is mostly, averted. Really trying out 3 or 4 products, full installations, is an option and gives ownership and power to the people who have to manage them.

Sitting in Branding is not just for cows, (by Ms. Alka Joshi, Director, Marketing and Community Relations, and Shashi Naidu, Web Technician, Evergreen Valley College) given by a marketing director of a community college surrounded by something like 8 other institutions that offer courses in California. They really played up their diversity and the feeling student had of being embraced by the college. Their style guide features colored dots to signify the diversity, a photo collage, and their tagline: We’re proud of you. Their ad campaign focused on the stories of several individuals. This is something the University of Montana admissions office is doing, and the new UM homepage will also be able to do. Really highlighting the individuals, and their goals and achievements.

Budgeting:
Using Open Source tools frees up money that can be spent on marketing exposure.

Points:

  • something she hear from a faculty member: We’re an academic institution, what does branding do for us, we’re above that.
  • Grandmother Research works. She worked for a research firm and was amazed how no matter what the results were, they could always be spun into a favorable statistic. Be skeptical.
  • Web function is a Marketing Function