Women Graduate at Higher Pace than MenWomen are graduating at a much higher pace than men. Overall, 140 women graduated with a college degree at some level for every 100 men.

For the class of 2013, 61.6% of all associate’s degrees, 56.7% of all bachelor’s degrees, 59.9% of all master’s degrees, and 51.6% of all doctor’s degrees belong to women.

The year 1978 was the first time in history women earned more associate’s degrees than men.  Since that year, women have risen in the number of college graduates each year and increasingly surpassed men in numbers.  By 1982—only five years later—women began earning more bachelors degrees.  By 1987—another five years later—women began earning more master’s degrees.  By 1997 women were earning more doctor’s degrees, and within another decade every college degree was dominated by women

Any concern for gender imbalances might need to be reevaluated.  With women earning more degrees each year, it is important to consider who will be running the majority of businesses in the future.  To summarize the statistics, women have earned 4.35 million more bachelor’s degrees than men and 9.7 million more degrees for all levels since 1982.  This means that not only do women in the workforce have degrees, but many moms at home do too.  With so many women holding degrees, it is important that marketing realize the number of well-educated women in the United States.

Redmond_elaine_300x250Testimonials may be one of the oldest forms of marketing and for good reason.  Testimonials are a way of capturing word-of-mouth in digestible stories.  The power of authentic testimonials continues to be important in marketing.  And the facts support it.  Some 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and a whopping 70% even trust unknown users.

That’s why healthcare advertising depends on testimonials.  We do a good bit of research with hospital patients and we frequently ask where people get dependable information on healthcare.  And 85-90% of those we ask say Friends and Family.  Testimonials are just a way of growing our universe of friends and family.

But testimonials have to deliver the goods.  The target audience must perceive the testimonial is real, from someone like them.  The message must be authoritative, trustworthy, credible, very specific about results, and relevant to the audience.  Video and photography help deliver the authenticity of the testimonial.  Academic research shows that people are more likely to believe a statement if it is accompanied by a photograph, so the images of your case study need to be the centerpiece of your testimonial.

Recently we asked patients of Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome, GA to tell us their Redmond story.  And the response has been overwhelming.  We heard some incredible stories like Barry who had a major cardiac event while driving down the highway at 50 miles an hour.   And Scott who had a massive heart attack running up the high school bleachers.  And Elaine who thought the nurses who treated her were angels.  Even more people have stepped forward to be screened for possible heart and stroke symptoms.  So that more hearts and lives continue to be saved in Northwest Georgia.

Meet Deby Samuels, VP University Communication and Marketing

Samuels_Deby_colorThis is the first in our series “5 Questions” where we ask some of the top folks in their fields to answer questions about their world, their brand, their marketing challenges and their life.

1.    What makes you smile? 

Easy. A really great headline. Makes me envious too.

 2.    What is changing the most in education today?

The entire value proposition of higher education is changing. Once, all a university had to do was offer a set number of classes that started at a couple of predictable times a year and attract a number of 18-year-olds and that was pretty much it. Over simplification, of course, but as a rule, no one questioned the cost, the quality, the delivery methods, the choices, or even when and what time of year it was offered. Consumerism and competition have changed everything in higher ed now, especially our dear Four Ps:  product (classes are offered at all hours of most days, price (discounted rates strategies to compete), place (from off-campus to online to thousands at one time through Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs]), and promotion (gone are the days of just mailing out a catalog with a letter to recruit). The quest is no longer knowledge as value leader, but attractiveness to the workplace. Colleges and universities are held accountable for proving quality, cost, the success of the graduate in the workplace and more.

3.     What is the most exciting thing you have worked on during your time at Lipscomb?

For years, each entity within my university had pretty much done their own thing through a decentralized budgeting approach, including communication design, messaging that was all over the waterfront, absolutely no voice echo, etc. We were losing a huge synergy dividend, and, on very, very slim nonprofit budgets, that is nigh unto catastrophic!

So we undertook a process of listening to our various markets and discovered our brand essence, as it plays today, for the university. We then applied it to a brand look, a brand voice and brand message, through everything including a new website, and “encouraged” the campus to embrace it. Not saying they all did, but we came mega-miles down the road.

My proudest moment was when my boss (President Randy Lowery), who was looking at a file of completed communication pieces I had handed him, looked at me and said, “I see what you mean. I get it. These all look like the same Lipscomb talking.” This may be the only place in marketing that “sameness” is the best thing you can hope for! And I think it is not an accident that about that time I started hearing over and over and over again from the community, “Lipscomb, they sure are doing a lot!” Yes we are, but they were also hearing an message-consistent institution.

4.  Tell us about strong female role models in your career.

I cannot remember a single woman who worked at my first ad agency who was not a secretary.

But as my career moved on, there have been many in which I’ve found qualities I wanted to emulate. The strength of Janice Ericson at EE&A, an advertising powerhouse in the Southeast in the ‘80s.   The leadership capability of Audrey Seitz Kidd who is COO at United Methodist Publishing in Nashville and has had a successful career in health care as well as her present publishing path. The message management skills of Linda Peek Schacht, a college classmate who is presently on the faculty at Lipscomb after a distinguished career in the White House, Coke and Harvard.  The balanced, analytical mind of our Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Nancy Magnusson Durham. Diane Cothran’s ability to maintain a sense of humor and balance in the storm — Diane was HR head for one of my major national employers. And, of course, Jamie Dunham, whose insight into consumer behavior and understanding of the owner and application of brand is deep (don’t edit this out, Jamie…).

5. What’s your favorite part of the week?

Saturday mornings when I wake up with absolutely nothing to do! What a decadent feeling to just follow your nose around for a few hours.

Deby Samuels is Vice President of University Communication and Marketing at Lipscomb University, a private, faith-based, doctoral-granting university that has been a part of Nashville since 1891. Deby’s 40-year marketing career includes a range of experience in the various tools of marketing. She has worked as a copywriter, an account executive, a strategist, a public relations professional, a marketing head, in both for-profit and nonprofit, as well as in agency, corporate and, presently, in university-based higher education. She spends her free time kayaking, playing the hammered dulcimer, doting on Campbell the Wonder Dog and wondering where all her free time went…

IMG_9505Around Brand Wise, we love to cook and relate almost everything to food.  We started thinking about back-to-school and decided that milk and cookies shouldn’t be just for afterschool kids. What better way for us hardworking adults to chill out than with a grownup milkshake and indulgent cookies.  We took some of our childhood favorites and put an adult spin on them adding premium chocolate, sea salt and decadent flavorings.

So what does this have to do with branding?  Well, it seems that cookies are like content marketing in today’s world.  Every piece of content needs to be important little bites of information, served up beautifully and truly habit-forming! We started with the humble Chocolate Chip Cookie and elevated it with premium chocolate and sea salt.  The cookies are also the secret ingredient in our Chocolate Chip Cookie Milkshake. Since we were on a sea salt craze, we decided to mix up some Salted Caramel Milkshakes.  And serve them with our favorite Almond Cloud Cookies.


 New York Times Famous Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tbsp. cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1¼ tsp. baking soda

1½ tsp. baking powder

1½ tsp. course kosher salt

2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

1¼ cups light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1¼ lbs. bittersweet chocolate chunks (recommended 60% cocoa by Ghirardelli)

sea salt (recommended Maldon)


Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk well and then set aside.  Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, which should take about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla, reduce the mixing speed to low, and then add dry ingredients until combined.  Add in chocolate chunks and disperse throughout the dough.  Use an ice cream scoop or spoon to scoop the dough onto a sheet pan.  This will make about 2-3 dozen cookies.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for two to three hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, place on a nonstick or greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown but still soft.  Hold 3 cookies for later to use in each milkshake.  As for the rest, serve and enjoy!


 Almond Cloud Cookies

10 ounces almond paste ( We use King Arthur)

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

¼ tsp. gluten-free almond extract (We use King Arthur)

1/8 tsp. extra-strong bitter almond oil (We use King Arthur)

confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease two baking sheets.  Blend the almond paste, sugar, and salt until the mixture becomes uniformly crumbly.  Add the egg whites while mixing until the dough forms a smooth paste.  Next, stir in the flavorings and scoop the dough using an ice cream scoop or spoon onto the prepared baking pans.  Sprinkle the cookies heavily with confectioners sugar and then use 3 fingers to press an indentation into the center of each cookie.  Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are brown around the edges.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Milkshake

2½ cups coffee ice cream

1½ cup milk

½ cup Irish cream liqueur

3 large chocolate chip cookies

6 ice cubes


Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.  Pour into a glass and top with your chocolate chip cookies.


Salted Caramel Milkshake

 1 Cup Caramel Sauce

1 Teaspoon Flaky Sea Salt

1 Cup Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 1/2 Ounces Rum

1/2 Cup Whole Milk


Pour caramel into milkshake glasses.  Mix ice cream, milk, and caramel sauce in a blender.  Add rum and salt and blend again.  Pour milkshake into the glasses and garnish with caramel drizzle.  Serve and Enjoy