Brand the University as a remarkable Midwestern institution
- Use a data-driven approach to refine the institution’s brand plan.
- Position the University as a well-recognized institution in the Midwest that offers exceptional value and a personalized experience rooted in: 1) an ideal combination of academic excellence and affordability, and 2) a focus on leadership development that helps our graduates achieve outstanding career success.
Reputation and branding have impacted the world of higher education. As competition for a decreasing number of students increases, the use of terms like “marketing,” “differentiation,” and “identity” are now common on campuses across the country. Over the past few decades, Mount Union has worked to position itself as a leader in Northeastern Ohio with a well-established reputation and improved visibility. All the while, we have garnered regional and national attention from rankings bodies and news media. It behooves the University to leverage this regional and national attention as a means of changing Mount Union’s reach and impact.
The University has an opportunity to build upon previous branding efforts to better position the institution for the future. Our ability to shape and share the authentic, unique, and compelling stories of our exceptional student experience has never been more important. As college-bound students and their families weigh their higher education options, they do so with high expectations for quality, outcomes, and return on investment. It is not enough to simply tell them that we meet these needs; they want tangible proof that we make good on our promises.
Thus, establishing a strong brand with an extended geographic reach will be critical to establishing our identity outside of Northeastern Ohio and strengthening it in areas closer to home. A revised, data-driven brand plan that prioritizes input from prospective students, parents, and current students will be launched. The plan will focus messaging on academics and outcomes with affordability serving as a complementary message. In an effort to enhance word-of-mouth communication, the brand plan will be shared with internal audiences and will leverage current students and alumni as advocates for Mount Union. Plans for external communication will be mapped as well, and an enhanced data-collection infrastructure will allow for benchmarking and measurement.
The University’s goal is to be positioned as a well-recognized Midwestern institution that offers an ideal combination of academic excellence and affordability with a focus on leadership development for exceptional success after graduation. To reach this goal, it will be important to alter existing perceptions that regard the University as a Northeast Ohio-based institution. Equally important will be the expansion of visibility into Western Pennsylvania and Central and Southern Ohio, in addition to other geographic areas that may be identified by the Office of Enrollment Management in the future. All the while, we will work to differentiate the institution from its current private higher education competitors.