When the Message Sent isn’t the Message Received

I was cruising down the Jersey Turnpike this morning when I spied a billboard for Rutgers University. It read, "Jersey roots. Global reach."

I did a quick double take. Global reach? Rutgers?

The Rutgers billboard is a classic example of inside-out branding. Rutgers may think it has global reach. It may have a significantly diverse student body. It may have any number of multinational faculty. And, for all I know, it may have a few "partner" campuses on other continents. But, common sense rejects Rutgers’ claim of being global. Heck, I don’t even think of Rutgers as being much more than a decent Jersey school. Rutgers

And, if the message recipient (moi) rejects the marketer’s claim as being bogus, the marketer has lost any chance of engaging in additional dialogue.

Rutgers needs to go back to the drawing board on this one. While I admire their goal, I’m left shaking my head at their logic. Jersey roots, yes. But, global reach? Nope. No way. Sorry. Rejected. 

While the school’s football program may have put them on the radar screen in, say, Bangor, I seriously doubt the same holds true for Berlin, Beijing or Budapest.

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