Virginia Tech’s new tagline debuted a month ago after a series of brainstorming sessions, surveys, focus groups and consultations with marketing professionals.
“Invent the Future” is meant to sum Nike LeBron 12 up the school’s desire to contribute to the community and the world through research and developing new technologies.
The phrase is at the forefront of a multimedia campaign to attract the best and brightest to Blacksburg. The three words, university officials believe, put a fine point on how Virginia Tech views itself and tells its story.
But a quick Internet search reveals that “Invent the Future” isn’t unique to Tech.
It’s not uncommon.
In a battle to distinguish themselves, colleges throughout the country are considering taglines to plead their case. Tech and Radford University have theirs, and Roanoke College is working on one.
A crowded field and similar goals make original phrases hard to come by, and other colleges, including the University of Virginia and James Madison University, have decided against them.
USC, UNLV, Tech similar
Tech’s new tagline has been used for campaigns at other universities and in the business world.
That’s not news to Larry Hincker. The Tech spokesman said the school was careful not to infringe on any trademarked phrases and chose a phrase Air Jordan 14s that specifically fit.
The fact that it’s being used for a fundraising campaign at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is indicative of the climate in higher education, he said.
“In a sense, there’s nothing new under the sun,” Hincker said. “There’s 4,000 universities in this country. We’re just going to try to provide language about who we are and what’s special about us.”
UNLV debuted “Invent the Future” as part of its 50th anniversary campaign in September. Like Tech, UNLV is a land grant, research university of about 28,000 students. But it sits in the middle of a major city, about 2,000 miles Jordan Winterized 6 Rings away from Southwest Virginia.
Tech officials, who notified UNLV about the new tagline, have already trademarked the logo Air Jordan 15s and are in the process of trademarking the phrase. UNLV didn’t bother to do that and intends to retire it when the campaign ends in 2008.
“For us, we don’t think there’s a likelihood for confusion between the two universities,” said UNLV spokeswoman Hilarie Grey.
The same is true at the University of Southern California, where spokesman James Grant said his school intends to retire its “Inventing the Future” when its 150th anniversary campaign ends this spring. Like UNLV, his university didn’t bother with a trademark and he’s not worried about it causing much confusion.
Several businesses also use different variations of Tech’s new tagline.
Dow Corning Corp. has even trademarked, “We help you invent the future.” But even if the company pursued a case and had trademarked just “Invent the Future,” the vagaries of the law limit the trademark’s scope.
Sally Wiant, a law professor at Washington and Lee University, explained that colors, style of letters, geography and industry are all variables that allow for the same phrases to be used by Air Jordan 7s different organizations.
Taglines of all sizes
Fritz McDonald, creative director for Stamats, an Iowa based college marketing firm, said colleges are bound to duplicate one another when marketing themselves.
His company has a feature on its Web site titled “The great Stamats tagline repository.”
The repository contains 643 taglines. It includes various phrases from the brief Concordian University’s “See You” to the lengthy Valparaiso University’s School of Law is listed next to the following phrase: “Our students come to us seeking the freedom and ability to change their lives and the lives around them. And we deliver.”
The site quotes taglines for colleges all over the country. Many are asking prospective students to come to their institutions to think, lead, learn, look ahead and, yes, invent.