What is St. Ambrose's brand?
The university has spent the past year developing the answer to this question via an institutional integrated marketing campaign being led by Jamie Loftus, vice president of enrollment management and students services, and the Communications and Marketing Office, with consultation by Zehno Cross Media Communications of New Orleans, La.
"Critical to brand marketing is focusing outward rather than inward to first understand and then respond to constituents," Loftus says. Research conducted over summer 2007 elicited how St. Ambrose is perceived by key audiences, who the university's competitors are for each type of student it seeks to attract, and the nature of St. Ambrose's campus climate and institutional culture. "With this research, we have the basis for a shared understanding of what our constituencies value about us and where our competitive distinctions lie."
According to Linda Hirsch, assistant vice president of communications and marketing, a well-developed brand provides the overarching theme upon which all communications and marketing to the university's audiences is built. "At the core of the brand is communicating the long-term value of the St. Ambrose educational experience and degree," she says.
Because the input of all the university's key audiences is essential to building an authentic brand, faculty, staff, current students, alumni and prospective students were invited to provide feedback about different brand statements and creative concepts in two online surveys. "The input of all our audiences is essential to building an authentic brand," Loftus says.
Ambrosians will see the new brand played out first in a redevelopment of SAU's Web site later this year, but branding throughout the university means much more than a new look and feel to communications.
"Educating and motivating faculty, staff, students and alumni are essential for the St. Ambrose brand's long-term success," Loftus says. "Ultimately, we seek to empower Ambrosians to live the brand in ways that accomplish the goals they've been tasked with achieving, while ensuring the university's relevance in a changing society and marketplace."