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Extension > Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Intranet > Archives > Branding Resource Archive

Recently in the Branding Resource Category

Recent updates to Extension's website template mean the layout automatically adjusts to suit your device. Check out extension.umn.edu on your smart phone or tablet (or just resize your browser window) and notice how the page changes: fewer images use less data, resized type is easier to read, and a single column minimizes resizing. This is known as responsive design. Now your audiences can easily browse the site, even in the garden or field.

With all of our websites now in a single template, it's easier to adapt our code to current technologies--leaving more time for content.

Katie Gallagher, communications designer

Create a Google Alert of your name

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Set-up takes just seconds, and it provides valuable information on the success of your promotional activities. Was your press release or event notice effective? Which publications picked it up? When you establish a Google Alert, Google will automatically send you an email when your search term appears on news sites, in blogs, or anywhere on the web (depending on settings you choose).

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Setting up a Google Alert is easy.

Why use your name? Usually your press release or promotions include your name as a contact. But you can set up countless additional alerts with whatever terms you choose.


You can also select to receive notices immediately as they occur, daily, or weekly. In some cases you may wish to add quotation marks around your name or add additional terms to the same query such as "forestry" or "University of Minnesota Extension."

Take a few seconds now to set up your name as a Google Alert.

Have questions? Try the Google Alert Getting Started Guide or contact me.

-Maggie Frazier, editor

5 tips for better article titles

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Whether your article is read is often determined by the title. Are your titles doing the job?


Create a promise of what they will read.


  • OK: "Downy mildew"

  • BETTER: "Why conditions are right for downy mildew"

Use a number--it's a proven technique to grab attention.


  • OK: "Soil testing"

  • BETTER: "3 reasons to get your soil tested"

Tell the reader how.


  • OK: "Emerald ash borer identification"

  • BETTER: "How to identify emerald ash borer"


Use a call to action. What do you want your reader to do?

  • OK: "Invasive species workshop"

  • BETTER: "Join us for the invasive species workshop"

Ask a question that you will answer.


  • OK: "Nitrogen after the rain"

  • BETTER: "What's happening with my nitrogen after all this rain?"


Try one of these methods!

-Maggie Frazier, editor

Adding video to your programming?

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Extension has pulled together resources, tips, processes, and policies to help you with your video work.

Take a look at:


  • Editable graphics, such as title slides and copyright/closing slides in PowerPoint and PhotoShop formats.

  • Branding and channel recommendations based on the type of video it is (eg: promotional video, educational video, "just in time" short videos, etc.)n

  • Plus planning, production, and sharing tips so you can produce the best possible video and get it seen.

Video is a useful way to communicate educational content to your audience. And now it's easier than ever to create videos. Let's get started!

View this recent Master Gardener video for an example of a good quality and well-branded video.

-Maggie Frazier, communications

Have an event or trade show coming up?

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Request or print these branded resources!
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Bookmarks: We have a variety of bookmarks related to agriculture, small farms, gardening, and environment. Bookmarks are great for trade show booths or other events. These are professionally printed--just request how many you need (supplies are limited; the opportunity to print more is available).

Mini brochures: These brochures describe our work in food, agriculture, and natural resources in Extension. They are about four inches square. These are professionally printed--just request how many you need.

Extension display boards: These Extension display boards (21" x 42") adhere to Velcro tri-fold tabletop displays and describe Extension's work across the state. These items are available by request through your Extension Regional Office or Center. Remember Extension tablecloths and retractable banners are also available on request.

Preloaded fact sheets: These are on-demand fact sheets that have content already in them! Just print as many as you need for your event.
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Templates: As always, there are customizable Extension templates.

-Katie Gallagher, designer

Consider the price tag

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Dr. Stephen Castleberry's presentation "Marketing in the context of Extension" was a highlight for me from Program Conference last month, particularly the portion on pricing.

The airline video illustrated (entertainingly) the reality that the "social contract" has changed: we expect to be charged for things. With Extension, government funding has decreased so user fees have become applicable in many cases. Castleberry acknowledged that this implementation can be hard for parties from both sides of the equation.

How do we ensure the price tag doesn't scare our audiences away? Consider what Castleberry said about elasticity.

Elasticity = % change in number who will attend/% change in price
Examples (gasoline = .2, clothing = 1.2)
  • If greater than 1, then the price is elastic. "You raised the price? I'm going elsewhere."
  • If less than 1, then it is inelastic. "You raised the price? I can handle that—this is worth it."

Incorporating inelastic components (high-value things that you can't find elsewhere) in your program will help you impress your audience, build revenue, and enhance the brand.

Revisit Stephen's slide deck from Program Conference, which includes four steps to setting a price.

-Maggie Frazier, communications editor

Harness our brand equity to support your work

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Are you familiar with brand equity? It's the value of a brand. It is a major asset of a company or organization, and—like any other asset—it can be used to help you accomplish work. By using the University of Minnesota Extension branding and templates, you can harness the power of the brand to enhance attention to your message. While everyone may not be familiar with your work or event, they are more than likely familiar with the University of Minnesota Extension.

Consider: Would you buy a car without knowing its make and model? And would that knowledge help you establish whether the price is reasonable? The brand is one of the major signals people use to establish quality—and therefore price. Brands also carry an emotional tie. All of these can add up to brand equity. Brands with increased brand equity tend to have greater success because people feel more comfortable with what they know.

Our brand has value, and we all benefit from it. To extract more value in our everyday work, we need to be sure to use it properly and remember to protect it.

For guidelines and templates, click here. Also, Katie Gallagher and myself are available to answer branding questions.

-Maggie Frazier, communications

Consider using the 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) as you work on your program business plan to help you frame the discussion and make decisions.

Product
The products of Extension programs include events such as conferences, seminars, and field days, as well as items such as publications, websites, and apps. Is your product high quality? Is it unique in the marketplace? How is it packaged? Is it convenient? Is it designed to allow for repeat consumers?

Price
Many times our frame of reference for pricing is related to business models where the goal is to make a profit and always watch the bottom line. Our situation is different, yet we need to be sustainable. Pricing serves as a signal about value to your target audience. If your product is priced too low (or free), this may reflect on the perceived value of the product. If the pricing is too high, you may exclude some users. It is a careful balance and experimentation may be warranted. What do competitors charge? What will the market bear?

Place
Are you meeting your customers where they are? What distribution channels do they prefer--online, in person, or both? What's your program's service coverage? Who are the competitors in this space? Is it easy for your target audience to access your products and events?

Promotion
Lastly, promotion encompasses all the communications you use to let people know about your program. This includes press releases, postcards, posters, flyers, email marketing, social media, and so on. Do your promotional efforts use the appropriate branding? Do they have a call to action? Do they tie to the overall goal of your program? Do they get results?

-Maggie Frazier, communications

A closer look at market demand

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What kind of demand exists for your program? Are there enough "buyers" for what you're "selling"? Market demand is participation in your program in a set time period. Evaluating market demand goes hand in hand with identifying your target audience--both are important components of your program business plan.

When you know your audience, look at data to establish the level and frequency of demand for your program's products (events, newsletter, etc.). Analyze your market through focus groups, interviews, and/or surveys. City Data (includes areas far beyond cities) is a good place to start gathering data for determining your market demand.

-Maggie Frazier, editor

Effective branding, marketing, and communications require a rich understanding of audiences backed up with data whenever possible. The following steps will get you on your way to developing your target audience profiles for your program business plan.

  1. Assemble historical demographic data you have on file from evaluations.
  2. Supplement with new data, which you can gather yourself or look to secondary resources. Pay particular attention to gathering demographics and psychographics. Here are a few places we recommend:
  • City Data (you can search by county)
  • Mapping America, New York Times
  • American fact finder
  • Also, think of people you've known and met in your target audience. Anecdotal references help us understand our audiences, which is particularly useful for gathering psychographics
  1. Consider trends. Demographics are changing all over the US. For an overview of projections, see "Demographic changes in Minnesota" by Susan Brower, State Demographer.
  2. Imagine ideal audiences. Your current audience is not necessarily your target audience. Consider the characteristics of who, within reason, your perfect audience would be.
  3. Pull it all together. Compare and contrast. Challenge your assumptions. Based on commonalities and groupings, establish audience groupings (two to four). Give each audience grouping a name so your program team can refer to them internally. For example: Beginner Livestock Producer, Turf Care Crew, Curious Home Gardener, Farmland Owner, Woodland Steward, etc.
  4. Divide these groupings into percentages that are relevant to you (percentage of revenue, attendance quantity, etc.). For example: Audience Name 1 (primary audience): 75%, Audience Name 2 (secondary audience): 15%, Audience Name 3 (secondary audience): 10%. For each audience name, list relevant demographics and psychographics found in research.
  5. Get feedback from your whole team. Compare notes with other, similar program teams. Gathering different perspectives will help solidify your grasp of target audiences.
-Maggie Frazier, editor

More photos added to online image gallery

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Goat

Photo credit: Aimee Viniard-Weideman

Over the past couple weeks, more than 100 photos have been added to the online image gallery, including several photos in agriculture and water quality.

Photos will continue to be added to the image gallery throughout the year as professional shoots are coordinated. All of the high-quality photos found in the gallery can be used for brochures, flyers, or other Extension educational and program marketing templates. The high-quality professional photos, paired with the templates, are an effective way to communicate with our many audiences while strengthening the Extension brand.

High resolution versions of staff photos are available for download from the gallery. Extension Communications will continue to offer opportunities throughout the year for Extension staff to have their staff photos taken or retaken.

For questions or comments about the image gallery, send an email to epromo@umn.edu.

-Sarah Bjorkman, internal communications & brand manager

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