Does your Alma Mater Make You Feel Good?

Colleges have become very sophisticated marketing machines, keeping in deliberate touch with alumni in hopes of increasing contribution levels to their beloved alma mater. Wedded to this marketing strategy is pulling at their heart strings to not only reminise of the good times at college but more importantly, the impact those 4 years (or two for graduate school) had on their lives.

So this season, I received a holiday greeting from my alma mater, New York University. And while I thought it was creatively nicely done, I also thought it catered a bit to those who either travel internationally extensively or live abroad with its theme “NYU is always with you…no matter where you travel.”

While a lot of my former classmates probably do live abroad and/or travel, I felt that this message didn’t effectively reach the largest majority of alumni who reside within the US and may not travel as extensively as this message would lead you to think. Therefore, it almost had the opposite effect on me. Am I a loser as I do not regularly go to Dubai, Buenos Aires or other more exotic places? Maybe my NYU education did not help me meet my full potential as I am not jet setting around the world?

Lesson learned –being too aspirational in messaging can backfire. The need to get real is evident for real consumers living real lives in a real world (and sometimes in their very real backyard). What do you think?

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