1. Ground your brand in truth. During a daylong brainstorming session, administrators at Indiana State University kept coming back to a comment a student made about why Indiana State was different. On move-in day, he had seen a sign about a need for student newspaper reporters. He stopped by the office and was immediately put on staff. He commented on how surprised and pleased he was to be given this experience from the first day of his college career. That comment became the inspiration for Indiana State‟s tagline “More. From day one.” Since the brand launched four years ago, officials have heard stories from others whose college experiences have mirrored that of this student‟s. According to Steve McKee of McKee Wallwork Cleveland, institutions tend to focus their identities on things like research capabilities and academic reputation, but that‟s not necessarily what hits the emotional buttons of prospective students. When undergraduates are asked about their school selection, they‟ll say things like “I just fit in here” or “It is close to home.” 2. Act on perception study data. A 2006 study of Bucknell University (Pa.) constituents?from prospective students and their parents, to guidance counselors, donors, leaders of peer institutions, and higher education groups?revealed its strong, yet poorly defined, reputation. Audiences indicated that messages about academic strengths often seemed hidden under messages about the institution‟s comprehensiveness. The conclusion: Academics must be the priority message, with breadth of opportunity supplementing and extending that message, not overshadowing it. Now every aspect of the communications strategy, including story and photo selection and the use of new media tools, reflects that decision.

3. Team with other institutions to brand the local college experience. What‟s it like to attend college in New York City? Seven private institutions and 21 City University of New York schools worked together to launch the website OneCampusNYC and tout the city as a university town. The site‟s tagline?”The NYC college experience. Simplified”?and content shares what it‟s like when the city is your campus. An FAQ section provides succinct information on housing, transportation, and what New York offers students that other cities don‟t.

4. Make your place matter. Facilities help differentiate you from your peers, so make sure campus buildings reflect your identity. The Paul Barret Jr. Library at Rhodes College (Tenn.)

and thought leaders as a resource. The campaign included tent cards placed on tables at local restaurants. maybe you're not everyone. This fall‟s enrollment is its highest ever. Students attend by choice. 6. Western Connecticut State University has long been considered a “best-kept secret”?not the best of identities to have when competition is so tough. Enrollment increased from 211 students in fall 2006 to 650 in fall 2007. pedestrian-friendly. and sponsorship of local events. and Columbia College Chicago partnered to create the University Center of Chicago residence hall. Accept that there‟s no single perfect phrase to sum up your institution. The marketing department at Stonehill College (Mass. Play with words." 7.) had to remind themselves as they began their campaign. One Purpose” a “tagline. art. and theatre arts program (plus construction of a $97 million Visual and Performing Arts Instructional Center).) was concerned the internal audience would resist the idea that one phrase could sum up the entire essence of the college. T-shirts. which . 8.” they distributed it as a “headline” to be used as a quick way to describe the essence of the institution... A new branding program positions the school as a center of artistic enterprise in Western Connecticut. Be mindful of how brand campaign language may be perceived internally. so instead of calling “Many Minds. When Roosevelt University. not circumstance.) niche is its students‟ strong interest in service-oriented and environmental causes. Its tagline is appropriate: “We‟re not for everyone . 9. Be for some if you‟re not for everyone. 5. the planning team gave each school a dedicated floor to help keep students immersed in their home culture. Combining affordability (among the lowest tuition in New England) and a nationally recognized music.incorporates symbols to reflect its connections with the Presbyterian Church and the college seal. but then. The college‟s Triad Education Program merges fieldwork and community service with academics. DePaul University. That‟s what team members at Centre College (Ky. businesspeople. playing on the abbreviation of the school name GCSUMacon.C. Let the “secret” out. Warren Wilson College‟s (N. And administrators at The University of Akron (Ohio) took steps to make the campus more park-like. Located amid a variety of respected private institutions in the region. and wireless-enabled to support their “Landscape for Learning” brand. Wide acceptance led to banners on campus and a commencement speaker using the theme for his speech. Administrators at Georgia College & State University Macon boosted enrollment in the graduate program with the “Sum Up Your Education” campaign. candies. with 923 full-time students. Western is increasingly embraced by politicians.

viewers can click on stories or download ads highlighting recent graduates or alums and their accomplishments. BRAND PROMOTION 10. now Georgian Court University.) administrators for years. Achieving university status allowed for a complete transformation of the marketing plan and graphic identity of the school. . Planning for the transition offered a chance to articulate the institution‟s unique qualities. What they understand is that saying a lot of things at the same time ends up saying very little to the public. Put your best face forward. Fight misperceptions. and to inform the public that prominent local business and civic leaders are RMU alums. Little brand recognition and an outdated image of a “girls‟ finishing school”?not to mention a name that implied it was located in another state?had been challenges for Georgian Court College (N. 11.J. civic engagement. But making a decision and being persistent in communicating that choice is what brings success. Extraordinary success. On the “Choose Your Success Story” webpage. Its goals were to build affinity with the university‟s alumni and pride in its community. the “I‟m a Valpo Graduate” campaign for Valparaiso University (Ind. many of whom are involved in global learning. direct mail. radio spots.” several years ago. advertising includes photos of both females and males. and the web are the communication methods.carries the tagline “Personal education. Similarly. Posters.) touts the institution‟s high job and graduate school placement rates via stories of alumni. And just in case anyone wonders about its coeducational status. Robert Morris University‟s (Pa. including a recognition of its core strength: providing a valuesbased education based on a Sisters of Mercy education imprinted with social action.) “Found Success Here First” campaign was not only about enforcing the school‟s brand. and environmental causes. and parent feedback indicates that the campaign has identified the university as offering a quality education.

14. The University of San Diego‟s comprehensive but user-friendly manual promotes a consistent look and feel for all print and electronic materials. a women‟s college. Administrators at John Brown University (Ark. Acknowledging the distance (or proximity) of constituents is a nearly cost-free way of solidifying and nurturing relationships. Some have even applied and matriculated at Mount Holyoke. 15. and trustees should not receive information meant for a general audience. a Boston-based strategy and integrated communications firm. Adjust the branding message to the audience. has collaborated with a well-known private institution to ensure that different constituencies receive the appropriate letter. Both are used in print and online materials as well as open house and recruitment events. In addition to increased enrollment. students.” a leadership program for motivated high school junior girls who want to make a difference in the world.” 13. Recognizing that the traditional age students it serves have a different frame of reference from its working adult and military students.600 nominations. Each ad ends with the phrase “They knew I had it in me. They have spread the word about their experience and nominated others for the program. the program has attracted more than 5.12. and writing style when creating everything from apparel to websites and PowerPoint presentations. launched “Take the Lead. 40 girls are selected. donors. 16. Peace College (N. As separate groups. while “What you need for where you‟re going” launched in 2004 for older students. In the fall of 2000. variations on those taglines have begun appearing in students‟ National Survey of Student Engagement responses. alumni. It offers stepby-step guidelines for the proper use of USD‟s colors. “You‟ll love the person you become here” launched in 2003 for the younger generation. 17. there‟s an abridged reference guide in PDF form. and special access to people and ideas.) provided sample paragraphs to faculty and staff for use in promotional . logo.C.) is a 150-year-old women‟s liberal arts college that has taken advantage of its unique name in a series of ads and branding initiatives that emphasize how the school enriches the lives of its students at a particularly unsettling period in the nation‟s history. Mount Holyoke College (Mass. Saint Leo University (Fla. Make each constituent group feel valued. Make it easy for constituents to spread the word. Sametz Blackstone Associates. their own space online. After undergoing a rigorous application process. Colleges can raise visibility and build their brand with their target audience by offering programs tailored to that audience. In eight years. Use multiple meanings.). For those at USD who don‟t have the time to read the full manual. Create a branding manual. Let students lead the way.) came up with two taglines. “Peace Strengthens” is the tagline for a series of ads that show young women pursuing studies in such fields as microbiology and anthropology.

A new motto. outreach. Use your admissions application as a branding tool. Despite a national decline in law school applications. and concern for ethics.and professional materials after student focus groups were conducted to test the “JBU Characteristics. This year.” The list was edited to fit on a single sheet and is referred to as the “Message-on-aPage. and alumni that showcase what makes PLU special instead of the facts and figures found in a typical college brochure. Published three times a year. the class that enrolled in fall 2006 is both the largest in three years and considered the best-fit group ever seen at the institution. academic rigor.) replaced its viewbook for prospective students with U magazine. compassion.” Sametz Blackstone used a similar tactic for one of its higher ed clients?ATM-sized cards that trustees. faculty.” A branding process at Texas Christian University was used to develop a list of a few main themes identified by various groups asked to characterize the institution‟s “competitive advantage. Edward‟s University (Texas) admissions staff craft unusual essay questions each year to grab the attention of smart. faculty. St. “What law school ought to be. Pacific Lutheran University (Wash.” 19. Create a conversation starter with applicants to find those with the best fit. and those who aren‟t the best fit now tend to opt out of the applicant pool. The launch issue included stories about campus life and tips on arranging a visit and applying to college. One example: “On a high school field trip to the symphony. versatility. the institution‟s leaders created a brand identity reflecting its diversity. it features real stories about students. and admissions materials. The campaign draws prospects into a conversation about how the school views the law. Working with CRANE Metamarketing in Georgia. collaboration. creative students. alumnae. To help reinforce its image as a school that encourages individuality. as its high attrition rates reflected. Ditch the admissions viewbook. and students could use to reference group-specific messages and be effective ambassadors in conversations with their peers. 18. you and two friends get lost and become trapped in a . plus some quirky pieces such as a professor‟s philosophy on The X-Files and tongue-in-cheek recipes such as “top ramen parfait. 20.” has been used since spring 2005 in a variety of marketing. California Western School of Law used to get enough applicants but not enough who were truly a good fit.

a link that recaps all brand initiatives was placed on the college‟s homepage. With volunteer hours on the rise among high school students.” administrators began referring to employees as “dreamographers” and provided each with a laminated card that espouses the core values of customer service: respectful. In 2007. “Secret shoppers” on each of Mohave‟s four campuses gauge the level of service being offered. prompt. integrity.” Taking the words “map” and “dream.” in the classroom. and in the community. and students to provide a benchmark for measuring progress in the understanding about character. How do you escape?” 21. accountable. on the field. Make brand connections in the classroom and beyond. and respect for yourself and others. Last year a Task Force on Character Development was charged with helping officials create opportunities for character development. an acronym to show what Bryant means by character: self-management. individually or as a group. an iPod. “The Character of Success. friendly. reliable. Show some serious service opportunities. 23. responsibility. exemplify one or more of the brand‟s selling points. 24. Mohave Community College (Ariz.I. a protractor. Research had determined that faculty and staff at Mohave did not feel empowered to make things happen for the students. who viewed a 60-minute educational presentation and heard about the opportunity to win a Brand Illumination Award. Jumpstart your brand campaign internally. Bryant University (R. Ensure that all staff exemplify the brand. and a note from Mom to save you. responsible. faculty. staff. 22. with the slogan “We map futures and fulfill dreams. The annual award is given to students. at the request of Ursuline employees. staff. along with quotes explaining how the experience affected their values and career goals. Also.) leaders have incorporated their brand.) has initiated an extensive rebranding program around the concept of customer service. The task force developed SIRR. Ursuline College (Ohio) launched an internal campaign for its new brand “Good to Great” with a college-wide community day for 250 faculty and staff members.wolf pit with only a history book. Valparaiso University tapped into that urge with full-page advertisements and direct mail to Lutheran high school students showcasing current Valpo students performing service projects abroad. and each month an employee on each campus with exemplary customer service is awarded a giant stuffed bear. many are interested in continuing their efforts in college. A Bryant market research class surveyed family. A notebook detailing every aspect of the campaign was distributed to attendees. there were nine award nominations. honest. or alumnae who. . and sincere.

27. Sametz Blackstone has collaborated with a major medical school to ensure that learning a prospect‟s interests will lead to passing along further materials that progress a chat. Video e-messages. and other resources. certificate programs. on campus kiosks. and sharing information about the instructor. the site is designed for conveniently planning and booking courses online with quick navigation. providing its content and benefits. The Industrial Relations Center for Executive Education‟s website got an overhaul to better market professional development courses to executives at technology-driven companies. Walk the walk and talk the talk. explaining who should attend. schedules. 28. in turn maintaining its image as a tech-savvy institution. “We Mean Green. centers on sharing information by students. and credits. phone and text messages. The University of North Texas athletic teams are known as the Mean Green. Marketing materials should allow development officers and others to begin and advance dialogues. created video segments with students talking about everything from what they enjoy about Marquette to why they chose to attend the school. increasingly specific stories and proof are on hand for the next meeting. California Institute of Technology leaders also work to show they walk the technology walk. and telemarketing are currently used.25. and in event-type programs. Each course has its own page. The goal: match donors‟ passions with institutional priorities. on Facebook. Capture thoughts on film. Development officers can customize materials for each interaction. Show your sense of green.” an internal communications campaign. virtual viewbooks. California Polytechnic State University uses a “lean and green” paperless strategy for marketing to prospective students during the decision-making process. Marquette University‟s (Wis. Incorporating Web 2. parent and student blogs. but the nickname is now helping to build understanding and engage students. from high-production printed materials to ones printed on demand from templates.) “Project Green Screen.” a two-day effort. on specialty items. a student portal. instructors. 26. Connect donor passions to institutional priorities.0-inspired applications. and staff online. faculty. Visitors can find information about course details. faculty. More than 30 videos were added to the . hours. and staff in the university‟s sustainability efforts.

about 160 stories have been submitted. the site also encourages locals to submit stories about individuals doing some good of their own in their communities or tell how VT has impacted them. to developing fraud detection software. 32. and alumni/community events across the country and around the world. to improving medical or environmental conditions.Undergraduate Admissions landing page on Marquette‟s website in late July. From August to October. In September. the time spent on the page increased by 44 percent. the University of San Diego has launched an expansive multimedia campaign highlighting USD‟s past achievements and heralding its vision for the future. the website was created by Boston-based BigBad. for example. 30. It includes slideshow presentations and videos of various spots on campus that are narrated by a self-absorbed duck. Through audio. customizable website serves more than Promotional pieces include a variety of print materials. Users are introduced to the online community through a puzzle challenge that requires them to delve deep into the site in search of clues.” the MIT Alumni Association‟s interactive.000 undergrads and graduate students. Dubbed the “Infinite Connection. two measures of web traffic?page views and unique views?were higher than they were around the same period in 2007. a black-tie fundraiser. all designed to give prospective students a look at what people on campus are like. can‟t help but walk away with a sense that the institution isn‟t afraid to show its less serious side after exploring the “Got Duck?” tour. Additional activities include a traveling historical display. apparel and merchandise. Build a web portal just for alumni and students. and graphics. In preparation for its 60th anniversary in 2009. Mark your milestone. Designed not just so that the university can let others know of its accomplishments.000 alumni as well as more than 10. Virtual visitors to William Woods University (Mo. visitors can access stories about university research projects?ranging from developing alternative fuel resources. video. Virginia Tech launched ThisIsTheFuture. Create a virtual tour with personality. 29. . television spots. By clicking on orange-colored words. a website designed to spread the word about how the university‟s research programs are making a daily impact in the communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia. online campus tours can provide potential students with a personal experience that identifies the unique offerings and culture of the institution. 31.). So far. Make connections to constituents‟ daily lives. and an anniversary website. Designed to reflect the university‟s techno-culture and attend to the desire of alumni for intellectual inspiration and exploration.

) as “A Great Education.” The campaign. shot. really find my inner wolf in sheep‟s clothing. has 30-second and 60-second TV spots (the 60-second one made its debut during the university‟s first televised football game over Labor Day weekend).” describe the institution‟s history of helping students discover their own potential. changed its name in June.‟" How did he land at UNM? “I want to get out and see the world. was written. The campaign‟s concept is now being used in departments besides marketing. and resources. The University of New Mexico‟s “Be a Lobo! Be Yourself!” campaign for prospective students and their families features Sam the Sheep. An alum even donated extensive billboard space throughout the state. . For example. Within Reach” to students from area high schools?who used to make up 80 percent of the student body and had in recent years begun to perceive the school as too pricey?the talents of current students were highlight the promise represented by the students and by OU‟s people. created by McKee Wallwork Cleveland.” 36. 34. Go for includes photos of Sam and other characters around campus and allows viewers to comment. Various outlets for Ohio University‟s branding campaign.unm. featuring students from local counties who discussed how the college went to great lengths to make it affordable. bringing the school exposure outside of the Baltimore area. Give students the chance to contribute to the branding effort.) made an agreement with GEICO to lease studio space so the insurance company could tape a series of television commercials this past summer in exchange for the university‟s name being featured in two of them. One being aired nationally now has the university‟s name in the background. To promote Juniata College (Pa. The 30-second commercials feature Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. formerly Villa Julie College. and produced by current students. a “rebel without a cause” who is “tired of being your stereotypical „cloven-hoofed mammal. Stevenson University (Md.ohio. this year Admissions created four viewbooks on different topics that feature “The Promise. edited. programs. Building name recognition is a key part of early efforts in a branding campaign being developed since the 60year-old institution. A series of four commercials. 35. featuring the students in the commercials. Four television commercials featuring 12 young individuals (www. The campaign website (http://beyourself. you know. “The Promise. Consider product placement. research. Show you deliver on a promise.

is filmed at Pace University (N. and football programs. The University of San Diego took its brand on the road. 40. It featured billboards on highways and major crossroads and in the center field of a popular minor league baseball team‟s stadium.Y. but it leads to name recognition. The official website features a link to Pace‟s MFA program. Georgian Court University‟s statewide image campaign took advantage of the school‟s location in the most densely populated state in the country. Parsons comes to mind. The University of Maryland‟s “Fear the Turtle” campaign. but it can help boost admissions if it happens. literally. Busing has not only bolstered the brand‟s exposure but has also created a sense of pride and excitement for USD athletes and their fans. and now when the average person thinks of fashion education. Thanks to the trucks?and to marketing leaders‟ ability to grasp an out-ofthe-ordinary opportunity?the institution has delivered millions of impressions as the trucks have traveled between Washington and New York City along I-95.Y. The New School for Design (N. and its episodes feature regular interior and exterior shots of the facilities?so the school must make itself available for filming. 38. 39.).). Become a part of reality TV. Inside the Actors Studio. . Reality TV might not be real. basketball. as well as large bus posters and train station platform posters. a sleek design was developed for the athletic team buses. sped up when a trustee (and alumnus) offered advertising space on 17 of his food company‟s trucks. Follow the crowds. which has helped put a spotlight on the institution‟s research mission. Maybe not every college aspires to reality TV fame. the university‟s 30-second spot gets high visibility?while being an efficient media buy compared to costly advertising on a major network. Give your vehicles a facelift.37. Be prepared to jump on unplanned ideas that may drive the brand message. The Bravo TV series Project Runway is based at Parsons. To capitalize on the recent success of the university‟s baseball. another Bravo show. With New Jersey having one of the highest cable penetration rates in the country.

” a reference to the school colors. The site is featured in a 30second commercial that will run during UConn‟s football and basketball games through March 2009. 42. Riff on your strengths. . California Lutheran University‟s Cal Lutheran Sports website ( has been attracting virtual visitors and prospective students due to continuous ESPN-style coverage of both women‟s and men‟s teams.000 visitors. post photos or videos. The University of Kentucky leveraged its athletic program to increase pride in its academic program by telling people to “see blue. The site has press releases and scores posted immediately after most athletic events. alumni are seen displaying their school‟s sweatshirts. a diploma. histories. staff. 43. the contest entries were due in this fall and a decision is being made now by school officials. In it. As of late October. Open to students. and flags. And at Roanoke College (Va. It also contains photos of players in action. and records for each sport. license plate.). and friends of Maroons worldwide. Since its inception in 2005. faculty.41. Big sports schools have a loyal following that goes beyond their alumni. guitars. parents. Throughout the that allows users to download the Husky fight song to their cell phones. Promote school loyalty. A recognizable visual beyond the school logo is another way for people to remember you. CLU experienced record enrollment in its freshmen class. The University of Connecticut has developed a website (http://alwayspartofu. and a Hawaiian lilt. the site had reached more than 230. administrators organized a contest to find a Maroon mascot to support the team as well as epitomize all that Roanoke stands for. This fall. Get a cute mascot. schedules. Direct mail pieces that promote the website have also delivered results. the Husky song goes from the familiar marching band version to variations featuring a soft piano. or join one of a half dozen UConn-related social networking programs. Sport a website that highlights all student athletic teams. The University of Maryland based its “Fear the Turtle” campaign on the mascot and rallying cry for its athletic teams. team rosters and stats. alumni. 44. Additional text in campaign materials highlighted student GPA and faculty accomplishments. where there has traditionally been no mascot because it‟s hard to personify the word ”maroon” (the nickname of the school‟s athletic teams).

50. and resources. In 2007 the football teamed played in the Fiesta Bowl. and seminars presented by Tides president Ken Young for sports management students. and are upholding branding guidelines. Website hits spiked. Created with a fiveyear strategic plan in mind. Most everyone knows of Gatorade. Strike while the iron is hot. an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. 47. After months of deliberation. With the University of San Diego‟s preferred vendor program. Play ball with local sports venues. This relationship has grown to include a fundraising game between ODU and the Tides every spring. Recent TV commercials have highlighted the fact that University of Florida doctors invented the beverage to benefit the football team. Stick with what works. colors. faculty. for example. Immersive learning is expected to be offered to every student by 2012. 49. Mailings to donors included newspaper clips of game coverage. In response the school sprang into action. George Mason University (Va. who supplied images and people. businesses. 48. scheduling interviews for the president and reaching out to regional media. Boise State University (Idaho) administrators launched the “Beyond the Blue” campaign in 2004.5 percent (reaching a school record last year). effectively showcasing research and athletic programs along with the drink. and retention has increased by more than 3 percent since fall 2006. applications have increased 38. Ball State University‟s (Ind. Over the past three years. students wrote the crisis communications protocol for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.45. Last spring. The increased school pride helped boost growth plans already in place. Make a branding deal with vendors. and several have landed full-time jobs with the organization.) have gotten internships with the Norfolk Tides baseball club.) brand repositioning centers on student-driven teams working with communities. participating vendors must complete a comprehensive training workshop to ensure they are properly using the university‟s design elements. Immerse students in the real world. Pro sports teams view colleges as a feeder for their business ranks and are getting more involved in institutional support. Westminster College (Utah) decided in 2007 to retain the school as a college instead of changing it to a university?since the word . and fonts. and government agencies to develop solutions to real-world problems. and hats and T-shirts flew off the shelves. the commercials required permission from university officials.) experienced a similar phenomenon in 2006 when its basketball team reached the NCAA tournament Final Four. Allow others to toot your horn. Although a Gatorade effort. the overall branding effort will help attract students. Students from Old Dominion University (Va. including the logos. 46.

Extraordinary success. and digital media. and with a program for graduates that aids in financing their advanced studies. . student-centered learning environment. In the past five years applications have increased by almost 40 percent. web. is highlighted in print.” its brand promise. “Personal education. In the fall. Trying something new doesn‟t make sense when the existing branding is working. Centre College officials. the college opened with more than 1.“college” implies a personal.200 students for the first time in the school‟s history. meanwhile. have kept their brand look consistent over many years. which the president felt adequately characterizes Westminster‟s appeal and value.

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