New CMO to build USF brand

When you think of USF, Tom Hoof wants you to have a singular vision in mind.

What that is, Hoof said, is something to be determined by the stakeholders of the university in the weeks to come, but as the new Chief Marketing Officer who will take office next Tuesday, Hoof said he wants to clearly define USF as a brand.

“People see USF as an up-and-comer, and they’re probably aware of the research done, USF Health, USF Athletics, but probably are not too much more aware of USF overall. It’s probably not a clearly-defined, ‘This is USF.’”

Hoof, the Vice President of Marketing for the Tampa Bay Rays, said defining a brand will help the university attract “good people” — prospective students, faculty, researchers, business partners and donors.

“Defining helps,” he said. “You tend to do things within the framework of the brand and not do things outside the framework.”

Bill McCausland, executive director for the Alumni Association and a member of the search committee for the re-titled position of Vice President of Communications and Marketing which will earn $275,000 a year, said the committee selected Hoof for the job and thought his experience as Marketing Director for Walt Disney World, an organization with many components, is something that will be helpful to create a brand image at USF.

But in addition to defining an overall brand, Hoof said he wants to work with the individual units comprising USF and develop their unique brands as well.

“There are lots of schools out there that have to define brands and overall personalities of who they are, and if we really define that for USF it might make it easier for people to decide to choose the university,” he said.