The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), with its colleges and schools, needed a strong cohesive brand to distinguish it from competition. Our task: find what the campus truly represented and what it could aspire to become in the minds of current and prospective students, alumni, community influencers and those in government and industry. A strong brand, among other things, would allow UAA to tell its story clearly, consistently and cost-effectively, enhancing recruitment, retention and fund-raising.
For the brand to truly represent the University, we needed to get input from a broad group of stakeholders. We fielded qualitative and quantitative research to develop a new brand grounded in solid insights and data. We held discussion groups with current students, staff/faculty, alumni and community members; 1:1 key influencer interviews; secondary competitive research; and a 3,200 sample qualitative study.
Developing the Brand
The brand refresh goal was to enhance (and for some, change) the public perception of the school, and create an informative and persuasive marketing campaign targeted at community leaders, influencers, prospective students and the general public. Our research identified key brand characteristics (forward-looking, networked, hands-on, remarkable and welcoming) and created a positioning statement for the University that focused on its relevance and incomparable urban/wild environment. A new tagline, "Amazing Stories Being Written Every Day," was quickly embraced in and outside UAA.
SHARING UAA'S AMAZING STORY
Our campaign launch and follow-up strategy profiled specific stories, sharing them in advertising, social, internal communications, signage and elsewhere. The brand launch campaign highlighted the great things happening at UAA, as well as created excitement for the new brand in the local campus community and beyond. The stories themselves were a keystone that helped us integrate a traditional media campaign with a localized on-campus presence.
AMAZING STORIES NEVER CEASE
UAA's brand took off, continuing into a second year, with more on-campus signage and giveaways and a hashtag social media campaign. We created "The Howl," a social media aggregation site that collected and displayed response to the many hashtags commonly used by the UAA community. Today, UAA continues to build the brand every day around Alaska, with new media campaigns and campus engagement.