Title page for ETD etd-0127103-164555

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Tisdell, Jacqueline Eiswirth
Author's Email Address jeiswir@lsu.edu
URN etd-0127103-164555
Title A Diffusion of Innovations Approach to Investigate the Brand Name Change of a Higher Education Institution
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Denis Wu Committee Chair
Gene Sands Committee Member
Richard Nelson Committee Member
  • communications
  • public relations
  • university of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • university
  • innovations
  • diffusion
  • authement
Date of Defense 2002-12-03
Availability unrestricted
Understanding the communication concepts behind promoting a brand name is essential to the successful adoption of that innovation. This research links diffusion of innovations theory, branding, and public relations by exploring the name change of a higher education institution. Extensive work has been done in the areas of branding and diffusion of innovations theory. However, this study links the two.

The adoption of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette new name by its alumni was studied by analyzing the public relations campaign post-name change and by gathering background information on previous diffusion of innovations research and the importance of brand names to products, specifically higher education institutions. This background information set up a framework for testing diffusion of innovations theory with a marketing innovation. A survey was administered to a random sample of UL Lafayette out-of-state alumni to determine their opinions of the new university name, the rate of adoption of the new name, and the modes of communication utilized in the diffusion process.

The approval rating of the new name by out-of-state alumni was split, with almost half of the respondents using the new name in everyday speech and a little more than half using it in everyday writing. In addition, while the public relations campaign did reach some out-of-state alumni, most learned of the new name through word-of-mouth and most were influenced to use the new name by other persons rather than by the university or university publications. The researcher also learned that the out-of-state alumni that approved and adopted the new name are also valuable supporters of the university through recruitment and funding. However, those who did not approve and adopt the new name now feel disconnected from their alma mater and do not choose to support it.

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