With some lingering PR issues, a competitive landscape, and declining enrollment, Washington State Community College (WSCC) sought to better understand its perception in the marketplace and build a foundation for improved branding and marketing.
B63 Line recommended a research project to reveal brand recognition and perception in WSCC’s communities. In an effort to stretch a limited budget, B63 Line focused on methodology development and third-party interviews, while WSCC utilized their internal resources for survey implementation. Aggregated data from interviews, focus groups and surveys indicated confusion with the name and a negative perception of quality associated with community colleges in general.
Line refined the existing logomark to look more modern and to downplay the community college aspect, while taking care to protect existing brand equity. A complete brand architecture was designed to support brand continuity at the program, department, and office level, and graphic standards were developed and adopted for usage consistency. Strategic messages were developed for distinct customer personas and a creative recruitment campaign was launched.
B63 Line also uncovered a significant level of confusion in the marketplace, particularly with regard to online and distance learners. Recommendations included developing a strategy for an institutional name and identity change in the future.
Establishing strategic messages, defining the brand voice, refreshing the logo and developing a “Be Inspired” marketing campaign helped stop the downward trend in enrollment. Designing templates and other resources for WSCC’s in-house marketing department allowed them to leverage their own resources to keep advancing the effort.