BRAND • PROMISE
Morehead State University delivers a strong and affordable education for friendly, ambitious students who thrive in a student-focused learning environment defined by small class sizes and faculty committed to teaching and student success.
Morehead State’s brand promise statement reflects MSU’s mission and vision as you want them to be perceived by your target audiences. It identifies the intersection between your core values and what your key audiences define as important, distinctive, believable, and emotionally engaging.
Clarifying and communicating the Morehead State brand promise statement consistently and repeatedly will reinforce the University’s brand identity and encourage our faculty, students, and other campus stakeholders to speak about Morehead State in powerful and desirable ways. The brand promise statement will be used as the touchstone of all Morehead State marketing efforts. This is an internal statement—not a slogan or tagline—against which all external messaging will be measured. After the research and test results were gathered and analyzed, the promise—derived from the statement that emerged as the most important—was agreed upon as the statement that best captures and articulates the specific elements that make Morehead State stand out from its primary competition.
A brand promise is a concise articulation of what any institution promises to its target audiences—something that its key audiences view as having intrinsic or extrinsic value for them personally. In the business world, for example, Wal-Mart promises low prices. Apple promises cutting-edge quality, intuitive design, and ease of use. Volvo promises safety. These organizations have become widely known for their brand and for the promises their brand represents. It is no coincidence that all three of these companies have become household brand names. They have conveyed a consistent brand message that communicates their promise to their customers, the audiences that are most likely to find value in those promises.
While colleges and universities may not see the need to have a strong brand promise, it is crucial that they work to develop a strong reputation based on the distinctive experiences and opportunities they offer. The combination of increasing competition, a diminishing pool of traditional-aged prospective students, and tight donor dollars necessitates the need for a stronger brand image and reputation. Colleges and universities that do not have strong name recognition and reputations put their futures at great risk if they do not develop, promote, and deliver experiences that resonate powerfully with their target audiences.
MSU operates in a highly competitive marketplace where prospective students, donors, and other audiences have many different choices—based on a diverse variety of criteria—from which to choose. Without a relevant, distinct, and believable brand promise, the University risks failing to position itself in the most positive and impactful ways within the minds of its most important audiences.
Morehead State contracted Stamats to help develop a brand promise statement and attributes that would further the University’s brand marketing and communication efforts. Following a comprehensive review of the generous data, materials, and documents available from MSU, Stamats designed, created, and executed a web-based survey, inviting Morehead State’s various campus stakeholder audiences (and alumni) to contribute toward further clarifying Morehead State’s core values and institutional perceptions, as well as to help establish an important baseline of data upon which to measure further progress of the University’s brand marketing efforts. Among other things, this research helped us identify perceptions of Morehead State, the University’s offerings, and its programs; Morehead State’s competitive strengths and differentiators; descriptors and attributes perceived as distinctive to the University; as well as the institutional positions and promises most valued by Morehead State’s audiences. In addition to the research with internal constituencies, individual quantitative studies were also conducted with the University’s most important external audiences including prospective traditional students, parents of prospective students, and prospective adult and transfer students.
BRAND • ATTRIBUTES
- Engaging Education
- Productive Partnerships
- Down-to-Earth Atmosphere
- Affordable Learning
The first step in extending the University’s brand promise into the everyday language of its internal and external constituents is to develop brand attributes that emanate from, and support, the promise. Brand attributes come out of ideas inherent in the brand promise, and by articulating them, add substance and depth to its claims. Unlike the brand promise, which serves primarily as an internal guide and touch point for marketing strategies and messages, these attributes and language will be used regularly in all communications, from recruiting and advancement materials to informal conversations with visitors.
MSU’s brand attributes are derived from the brand promise statement and are supported by the findings of our quantitative and qualitative research into current perceptions about MSU among its different constituents. Further, they are relevant, credible, and appealing. Together, they can serve to differentiate MSU and comprise the foundation for all future brand-marketing efforts.
BRAND • CREATIVE
The “Much More” concept solidifies MSU as an institution that helps ambitious students realize their potential and create futures that go beyond what they thought possible.
MSU has a reputation for taking average students and making them great. This is evidenced by high pass rates on national licensure exams and the high rate in which MSU students are accepted into graduate and professional schools. This concept will encourage prospective students to see how they can be, do, and achieve “much more” and, more subtly, cast MSU in a new light (i.e., that MSU is “much more” than they may have anticipated).