Feb 13, 2013
By Renea Morris
With a vision to become the nation's best, transformative learning community, Ohio University's brand is rooted in its rich history and identity.
Because the University does not have a "product" but rather a service that it provides, it is important to ensure that for all of our key stakeholders – whether they are on the Athens campus or any of our regional campuses or centers, enrolling as an e-learning student, or considering an opportunity to join as a prospective employee – the University assures them of our quality and heritage, thereby communicating an intrinsic value in the brand.
Since 2007, Ohio University has been engaged in harnessing efforts to better position its brand among its most important audiences.
Now, after several years of a successful "Promise" campaign, OHIO is repositioning the brand in order to communicate more clearly about the University and what it means to be connected to the place that many of our students call home, where employees find ways to live their passion, and alums credit with being able to nurture and shape them into who they are today.
In the fall of 2010 and again in 2012, prospective students in Ohio participated in a brand perception study, which suggested that while our marketing efforts are raising awareness, we have an opportunity to differentiate our messages from those of similar institutions by continuing to refine our brand position and focus.
In addition to this quantitative research, dozens of University stakeholders have engaged in interviews, focus groups, and workshops – aimed at capturing the essence and unique value proposition for the University. In addition, the entire University community was given the opportunity to give feedback to sample creative concepts to reveal more insight into how to best express OHIO's transformative experience.
This diagram (image also displayed at top of page) shows OHIO's brand repositioning process, which began with research-driven creative decisions and will continue with unique and authentic OHIO-branded communications.
It is important to convey messages that yield accurate perceptions of who we are in a way that builds a powerful brand. Strong brands attract the best students, faculty, staff, and alumni support as well as generate more donated dollars and media attention. All of these factors working together ultimately help to more positively position and strengthen the image and academic reputation of the University.