Our brand is our promise. It explains why the University of Lynchburg experience is valuable. Conveying the essence of our new brand is the phrase, “Opportunities for life,” which promises students they will have numerous chances to Discover, Connect, and Achieve, both during their college years and for the rest of their lives.
After two years of intense and collaborative work that engaged faculty, staff, and students, the College Marketing Committee developed this new brand platform to define the College’s overall branding strategy and provide the framework to consistently communicate what differentiates our institution in the marketplace. Our real and longstanding commitment to community sets us apart. The success of our students, faculty, and graduates around the world is a testament to the enduring value of the University of Lynchburg experience. “Opportunities for life” also reflects LC’s reputation — who we are and what people think of us. It matters because it influences the decisions people make about enrolling, working, donating, or even volunteering at University of Lynchburg.
The “Opportunities for life” message will be used consistently in the coming weeks and months on the website and in advertising, brochures, publications, visuals, and videos — all of which are aimed at sharing and celebrating the College’s distinctiveness, innovations, accomplishments, and plans for the future.
Our positioning statement: University of Lynchburg is a nationally recognized academic and residential community that offers students a challenging curriculum of liberal arts and professional programs combined with broad-based internships, study abroad, research, leadership, community service, and athletic opportunities. Students benefit from their engagement with faculty, staff, and alumni in a diverse community that leads to exemplary academic, social, personal, and spiritual growth. Our graduates succeed in the global marketplace.
The process of creating a new message was a serious undertaking that involved research, discovery, creativity, collaboration, and a lot of hard work. “The challenge of the College’s Marketing Committee was to focus on the connection between our core values and the needs and expectations of our target audiences,” said Deborah Blanchard, director of College Communications and Marketing. “Tackling that meant articulating what LC stands for, what sets it apart, and what makes it the special place it is.”
Marketing professor Dr. Stefan Nicovich agrees. “The branding process is a distillation process. We had to take all of the different things that an organization like this does and distill them into clean, clear pieces of meaning.” These were expressed in three key words — Discover, Connect, and Achieve, which form the foundation of the brand and illustrate its personality. “While Discover and Achieve work for just about any college, the word Connect is LC’s lynchpin,” Dr. Nicovich explained. “You can discover and achieve through your connections here, and that’s a big deal. Instead of a huge amorphous message, we now have something that is pointed and clear and will have a greater impact.”
President Kenneth Garren is already using the new branding in his presentations to prospective students and parents. “It is a wonderful message,” he enthused. “When I first heard it, I thought about how my presentation fits into the three brand categories — Discover, Connect, Achieve. I also like the fact that this message puts responsibility on the students: What will you do, how will you take advantage of the opportunities at University of Lynchburg?” Dr. Garren is also pleased that the branding process was done by members of the LC community rather than an outside company. “The creativity on this campus and the freedom for all sectors to express their views are fantastic,” he said. “I didn’t see the cake baked, but I am enjoying eating it.” Steve Arnold, former vice president for College Communications and Marketing, initiated the branding project and guided the committee throughout the process. “He kept us on track,” said Deborah Blanchard, “and never lost sight of the goal.”
“I am happy with the outcome,” said Dr. Lesley Friedman, the John Mills Turner Distinguished Chair in the Humanities and professor of philosophy, who also served on the committee. “The new brand says a good deal; it’s very well-rounded and not clichéd. I think it will serve us well.” From the beginning, the Committee was aware that it had to approach the branding process from an outside-in perspective, not inside-out. “The College has a very important audience, and I realized that I’m not that audience,” Dr. Friedman said. “We are not talking to professors; we are trying to communicate with teens and their parents. They have very realistic goals and serious concerns, so we have to translate our message into something that really captures their attention and draws them in. I think our new brand does just that.”
Rita Detwiler, vice president for enrollment, agrees. “We have to have a message that is honest and impressive,” she said. “Families are not going to look at us otherwise. I believe this brand will give us clarity in the marketplace. When we say University of Lynchburg, people will recognize who we are and connect value to LC. “I loved the level of collaboration,” she continued. “It was so interesting to hear the perspectives of faculty, staff, and students, and particularly staff who live and work with students. It was incredibly beneficial. And the fact that we could all come to agreement was amazing. I think the branding process is reflective of the LC community, because collaboration and cooperation are really a part of this campus. Other colleges talk about it, but here, it is really true.”
LC’s brand is its story, and telling this story effectively will take commitment and consistency throughout the LC community.