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Building a Strategic University Brand Positioning California State University, East Bay as a Regional University of Choice. Jay Colombatto Executive Director, University Communications California State University, East Bay May 2008. Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Agenda.
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Building a Strategic University BrandPositioning California State University, East Bay as a Regional University of Choice Jay Colombatto Executive Director, University Communications California State University, East Bay May 2008
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEBAgenda • Background: California Higher Education, the CSU, and CSUEB • Branding and Positioning in Higher Education: Definitions, Role, and Relevance • Branding Objectives at CSUEB • The CSUEB Approach to Brand Development • Positioning CSUEB — Communicating our Distinctiveness • CSUEB Branding — Vision, Messages, and Strategies • Putting the CSUEB Brand to Work — An Integrative and Collaborative Endeavor
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The Path to Higher Education in California • California High Schools • • 1,182 High Schools • • 1,800,000 Students • •350,000 Graduates/Year CA Community Colleges •109 Campuses •2-Year Associate Degrees • University of California • •10 Campuses • •Bachelor’s Degrees • • Master’s Degrees • •Doctorate Degrees • •Professional Degrees The California State University • 23 Campuses •Bachelor’s Degrees •Master’s Degrees •Professional Doctorate Private CA Universities •100s •Bachelor’s Degrees •Master’s Degrees • Doctorate Degrees • Professional Degrees Source: www.calstate.edu and California Dept. of Education
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The California State University System • Largest, most diverse university system in nation • 23 campuses across state • More than 450,000 students • Graduates 82,000 students/year • Highly affordable @ approximately $3,350/year • Practical, hands-on education • Known for job-ready graduates • Expert, professional faculty • Supports more than 207,000 CA jobs • $7.46 billion annual economic impact • Vital to CA economy — providing next- generation workforce; bridge to middle class The CSU: Working for California Source: www.calstate.edu; 2007
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB California State University, East Bay • The S.F. East Bay region’s CSU • Serves Alameda & Contra Costa counties • 33 communities; 2.5 million residents • 3 East Bay locations — Hayward • Concord • Oakland • Enrolls 12,500 students; graduates 3,500/year • Contributes $341 million/year to local economy • Largest producer of math and science teachers in CA • 90,000 Alumni — 85% live and work in East Bay • Earn $1 billion/year attributable to CSUEB degrees • Committed to regional stewardship, exemplified by: • Academic and strategic planning plus business partnerships focused on meeting workforce needs • Comprehensive campaign with stewardship commitments/programs as fundraising priorities
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB CSUEB Student Profile: As Dynamic and Diverse as the Region we Serve • 13,124 students enrolled (Fall 2007) • 10,681(81%) Undergraduates1 • 2,443 (19%) Graduates1 • 62% Female; 38% Male1 • At least 51% are “minority” 2 • 26% Asian/Pacific Islander1 • 25% White1 • 13% Hispanic1 • 11% African-American1 • 1% Native American1 • 17% Other/Decline to State1 • 7% International • Mean age is 271 1CSUEB IRA Web site; Fall.Headcount.Enrollment.1-1.pdf. 2Sum of Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, African-American, and Native American
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Nature of CSUEB Students • Highly focused on business of being in school • Pragmatic; equate degree with skills needed for jobs • Only moderate interest in a broad general education • Seek rapid/early department, program, major connection • Desire faculty connection/interaction—classroom/beyond; see faculty as “career-launchers” • Interest in campus life, but needs different than residential campus • Undergraduate students much like adult/transfer/grad students • Concerned about time-to-degree, convenience/access, and life/work/school balance • Many are first in family to attend college • Concerned about “fitting in,” succeeding in college … and getting help if needed • Affordability and financial aid is a top concern • Expectations often have been adjusted (cost/location are often primary drivers) • Often uncertain about difference between prestige and quality
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB What is University Branding? • Much more than logo or “look and feel” of publications and advertising • About building and “owning a position” in hearts and minds of constituents (customers) • Provides a distinguishing core idea or image • Communicates value and worthiness … and establishes choice • Our “trustmark” or promise to our constituents
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Positioning — The Brand Foundation What is Positioning? • The verbal component of our brand • Expresses in words what’s distinctive about how we do what we do • Provides a common concept and language set to express brand • Communicates and translates our mission to the marketplace • Used across all institutional communications • Articulates and conveys: • Unique culture, offering, values, and personality • Nature of the student body and experience • Our “promise” to constituents
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEBPositioning — The Brand Foundation What’s Required for Effective Positioning? • Meaningful Communicates simply and clearly • Memorable Can be recalled • Relevant Valued and speaks to what target audiences care about (“resonates”) • Believable Appropriate and “rings true”
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB A Short History of Branding and Positioning in U.S. Higher Education • As competition grows, universities have become increasingly concerned about image • 1980s — private universities concerned about price competition from publics • 1990s — public universities concerned about proliferating competition • Shared recognition that: • Public confused by blurred identities and multiple choices • Prospective students — and their parents — can “vote” with tuition dollars • Prospective friends/supporters can “vote” with donations • Citizens (literally) vote on how tax dollars spent • 2001 — CSUEB begins development of its brand • Recognized need to develop a competitive position — and become a choice • Newest college generation — “Millennial” — attracted to well-defined, well-expressed brands • Assures quality and peer acceptance; simplifies complex choices — including college
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB What’s our Objective? To become a real choice … and get included in the choice set. Are we inside the choice set ? Or are we out? Consider ? Apply ? Enroll ? Recommend ? Donate ? Vote/Support? The stronger our brand … the more effectively we can recruit, secure donor support, and strengthen CSUEB.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Why is Branding (Becoming a Choice) — Mission-Critical for CSUEB? Grow Enrollment • CSUEB has not reached full potential and planned enrollment • Enrollment growth $ = new programs; more faculty, classes, and student services Rebalance Enrollment • CSUEB has out-of-balance 68:32 upper/lower division student ratio1 • Standards for healthy, sustainable university call for 60:40 ratio Preserve Market share and Increase Penetration • CSUEB has lost local market share to SFSU and SJSU Develop new Markets • Too dependent on nearby markets (12- to 15-mile radius) • K-12 populations declining; percentage of CSU-ready HS grads declining Increase Donor Recognition and Private Financial Support • Public support for higher education is declining 1CSUEB IRA; May 2008
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB What’s the Basic Premise? The most effective way to advance the institution is to … talk to our constituents — from our research — about what’s most important to them.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB How CSUEB has Approached Building its Brand • Leadership made commitment (2001) • Created position and hired brand evangelist and “point person” (2001) • Built a solid research foundation (2002 - ongoing) • Tasked two committees to develop brand positioning platform and plan (2002) • Integrated Marketing and Student Research • Staff, faculty, student, administrator representation • Hired full-service agency specializing in higher ed marketing (2002-2003) • Examined existing institutional research (primarily admitted student data) • Conducted internal and external focus groups • Commissioned external market research including awareness and perception • Alameda and Contra Costa (East Bay ) households (1998, 2003, 2005, 2008) • Focus: College-bound high school students and parents/influencers
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB How CSUEB has Approached Building its Brand • Measured awareness and gauged quality perceptions of CSUEB versus competitors • Identified qualities constituents desire; needs they expect us to fill • Identified performance and perception gaps we can and want to fill • Developed and adopted positioning platform — part “promise,” part aspiration (2003) • Put it to work with commitment to “360° marketing and communications” (ongoing) • Changed name to reflect regional commitment, connection, and mission (2005) • Developed and adopted strategic communications guidelines (2005) • Adopted new institutional ID (seal and logo) to reflect regional commitment (2006) • Based decision based on perceptual mapping/graphic communications testing (2005) • Created graphic (brand) identity guide and resource* • Combined Marketing Communications and Public Affairs into integrated unit (2006) • Office of University Communications *Online @ http://www.csueastbay.edu/communications/identityguide/
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB How CSUEB Approached Building its Brand The Office of University Communications provides CSUEB brand leadership. Mission: Increase awareness of CSUEB, shape University image, and advance CSUEB objectives among all constituencies via integrated, strategic communications Role: Develop strategies, create standards, and produce communications in support of CSUEB priorities and initiatives, including enrollment, fundraising, public relations Work: • Public and Media Relations • Enrollment/Recruitment Marketing Communications and Publications • Development (Fundraising) Communications, Publications, and Marketing • Employee and Alumni Communications and Publications • Advertising, Awareness, and Advocacy Campaigns • University Branding, Brand Marketing, Design, and Publication Services
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB What’s Required to Extend, Strengthen and Sustain our Brand? We recognize that for the CSUEB brand to succeed, the University must: • Be funded, operated — and led — to deliver on its brand promise • Have an organizational framework to align brand aspirations with strategic plans • Create a new planning process tying resources to objectives, goals — and brand • Foster a campus culture of brand confidence, pride — and shared vision of future • Institutionalize its brand with every "touch point"/experience reinforcing the brand promise
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The CSUEB Brand Foundation — Our Positioning Positioning Concept/Summary— What Sets us Apart CSUEB is a student-centered institution. While faculty scholarship is prized, teaching and student interaction are our primary mission. Beginning with prospective students' first experience on campus and continuing through their relationship with the University as alumni, CSUEB programs and services are designed to meet student needs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Moreover, with low fees, small classes, convenient locations, generous financial aid, and a overarching focus on student success, Cal State East Bay makes high quality higher education truly accessible to students of all backgrounds.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The CSUEB Brand Foundation — Our Positioning Positioning Statement California State University, East Bay supports the quest of students of all backgrounds to discover and develop their personal potential and career paths.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The CSUEB Brand Foundation — Our Positioning CSUEB Qualities (“Evoke Words”) Personal • Professional • Achievable
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The CSUEB Brand Foundation — Our Positioning Creative Execution (“Tag Line”) Cal State East Bay. Where All Your Possibilities Come Into View.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB The CSUEB Brand Foundation — Our Positioning Put another way … Cal State East Bay offers a professionally focused, academically rich, multicultural learning experience that combines the personalized learning environment of small, private college, with the value and resources of a major state institution. Also see http://www.csueastbay.edu/communications/identityguide/UniversityPositioning.html
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Brand Vision Brand Vision CSUEB can distinguish itself and achieve a position of choice by • Assuming an earnest, active, and highly visible regional stewardship role • Aligning its offerings with changing regional community and workforce needs • Adopting expanded and new models and modes of access, teaching, and learning Brand Strategy By growing enrollment and private financial support through a position of choice, CSUEB can not only meet regional education and workforce needs, but also grow its resource base, enabling it to: • Achieve a new margin of excellence through academic innovation • Provide optimal conditions for student success • Offer the quality of student services, support, and outreach required for truly broad access
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Brand-Supported Enrollment Objectives Key Objectives • Grow enrollment by 3 - 4% annually from 13,000 (current) to 25,000 (capacity) • Manage and rebalance enrollment • Focus on first-time freshmen • Increase lower division/upper division student ratio from 32:68 to 40:60 • Increase local, core market penetration (urban East Bay/non-traditional students) • Build new markets (suburban East Bay and out-of-area/traditional students)
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Key Brand-Vision and Strategic Communications Themes • CSUEB's core mission and vision is to be the region’s high-access university of choice. • Broad access with a commitment to student achievement is a hallmark of CSUEB. • At CSUEB, high access does not diminish — but rather enhances and supports — quality. • CSUEB is the East Bay's CSU, committed to regional engagement and stewardship. • CSUEB works for the East Bay, helping ensure its social, economic, and cultural vibrancy • CSUEB student profile is as dynamic and diverse as the communities we serve. • CSUEB is changing its programs and outreach to serve changing community needs. • CSUEB is known for beautiful campuses with beautiful views — warm, welcoming, and inspiring settings for learning, personal discovery, growth, and friendship.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB CSUEB Brand-Building Messages and Strategies • Focus message on academic experience — benefits students value • Emphasize reputation for small classes/personal attention • Emphasize choice of more than 100 fields of study (majors, minors, options) • Note strong, professional “school-to-career” character with service-learning opportunities • Take advantage of good characterizations of faculty in classroom • Discuss how faculty serve as mentors, advisors, and career launchers • Showcase achievers/success stories to prove quality/goals met • Illustrate quality and student satisfaction via • Princeton Review “Best Western College designation (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) • Princeton Review “Best Business School” designation (2006, 2007) • US News & World Report designation as “Top-Tier" master's-granting university in West
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB CSUEB Brand-Building Messages and Strategies • Highlight distinctive CSUEB Freshman-Year Experience • Point to Freshman Learning Communities proven results • “Better Learning”= higher GPAs, high retention, more reliable 4-year graduation • Lumina Foundation and Syracuse University call it a “National Model” • New freshman year social and academic programs • Guaranteed classes and priority housing for first-time freshmen • Discuss changes, growth, momentum at CSUEB • New Business & Technology Center • Student union expansion • New student housing and dining commons • New “one-stop” student services building • Emphasize up-to-date, in-demand offerings including new/revamped majors
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB CSUEB Brand-Building Messages and Strategies • Leverage awareness of CSU and professional readiness reputation • Leverage awareness of CSU and value/cost reputation • Note major CSUEB advantage: quarter system/year-round learning • Fast, flexible, with ability to accelerate learning or set own pace • Emphasize location, location, location • Convenient/nearby — attractive to local, non-traditional students • Bay Area/northern CA location — attractive to out-of-area traditional students • Midway between San Francisco/Silicon Valley — close to jobs, entertainment, culture • Offer “proof-points” for commitment to access and achievability • Guaranteed admissions to all who meet CSU eligibility criteria • Wide range of students support and services including tutoring and mentoring • More than $37 million in financial aid awarded annually
Putting the CSUEB Brand to WorkAn Integrative and Collaborative Endeavor
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Putting our Brand to Work • University executives strongly support CSUEB branding and strategic communications. • Integrated Marketing Communications Committee sets brand and positioning standards. • Division/unit heads support and encourage brand consistency. • Office of University Communications oversees CSUEB branding and communications. • Planning & Enrollment Management Division deploys CSUEB brand and is major client of UCom. • CSUEB annually invests more than $1 million in combined strategic communications including marketing, pr, publications, advertising, promotion, and events across all units.
Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB Putting our Brand to Work Channels used by CSUEB to Communicate Brand and Position • Publications (csueastbay.edu/communications/marketing_pub.html) • Advertising • Print • Transit/Outdoor • Radio & TV (www.csueastbay.edu/communications/TV_Radio/) • Web/Internet/e-Marketing (www.csueastbay.edu) • Direct Marketing • Media Relations/Public Affairs/News (news.csueastbay.edu/index.php) • Events • Speeches • Word of Mouth
Prospective Students Influencers Current Students Alumni Donors Community Faculty & Staff Friends Voters Legislators Building a Strategic Brand for CSUEB 360° Brand Communications
For more information: Presentation online at: http://www.csueastbay.positioning_primer