Refreshing a Brand for a New Era
Marketing for the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) targets multiple audiences, including prospective students, non-traditional students, alumni, community influencers and those in government and industry. The University’s objectives are broad as well, such as enhancing recruitment, retention and fundraising. As a result, over time – with various stakeholders marketing UAA – its brand had become unfocused.
The UAA brand was ready for a refresh and Spawn Ideas was tasked with consolidating its branding and marketing to help the University tell its story clearly, consistently and cost-effectively.
Find the Universal Stories
Despite being seemingly disparate, the groups UAA reaches out to have surprisingly similar goals and modes of storytelling and sharing. Stories, especially academic stories filled with dreams, hopes, achievements and conflicts, are universal.
We developed a media strategy that spoke to these universal goals and told stories that would carry the message of UAA in a meaningful way to all of the audiences the University focuses on.
Sharing UAA’s Amazing Story
Our first task: Find what the campus truly represented in the minds of current and prospective students, alumni, community influencers and those in government and industry – to discover what it could aspire to become.
We fielded qualitative and quantitative research to develop the 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 fielded a qualitative study.
SHARING UAA'S AMAZING STORY
Our research identified key brand characteristics like forward-looking, networked, hands-on, remarkable and welcoming. This allowed us to create 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.
Our campaign launch and follow-up strategy profiled specific stories, sharing them in advertising, social, internal communications, signage and elsewhere. The brand campaign highlighted the great things happening at UAA, and 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.
The brand launched on campus with a week of activities featuring giveaways, campus signage, a video projection experience, a street team to engage students, vehicle wraps and a free tuition sweepstakes.
Television, print, radio, online and mobile ads prompted the broader community to reconsider a university they thought they knew.
AMAZING STORIES NEVER CEASE
UAA’s brand took off, continuing into a second year, with more on-campus signage, giveaways and a hashtag social media campaign. We created The Howl, a social media aggregation site which 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 media campaigns and campus engagement.