If asked in the elevator, could you describe DePaul’s distinctiveness in just a few words? EMM’s Marketing Strategy and Branding team is leading an initiative to articulate the university’s brand essence and educate the university community on what makes DePaul’s story unique and compelling.
Defining DePaul’s Brand: Urban Educated, World Ready
The university’s brand is more than just its name or logo; it is reflected in how each university community member embodies and communicates DePaul’s story as we interact with others.
Understanding the brand, and then articulating what it means, did not occur over night. Building on 15 years of extensive brand research that included perception studies, stakeholder interviews and focus groups, a university brand narrative and message map were developed to support faculty, staff and current students to confidently and consistently talk about DePaul. In the process, the university’s key brand elements were grounded in three defining qualities—a purposeful education, bold environment and caring ethos—and DePaul’s story was synthesized in just four words: Urban Educated, World Ready.
The team then took these findings to the university community. They facilitated brand roadshows, called “Telling Our Story: The DePaul Brand,” for more than 1,000 DePaul employees in multiple schools, colleges and administrative divisions. These sessions have been consistently well received.
Tailoring the DePaul Story
One of the initiative’s key goals is creating greater synergy across the university in how we talk about DePaul. Recognizing that each area of the university also has its own unique set of purposes and needs, the team has begun facilitating brand strategy workshops to help departments and colleges think strategically about how the brand essence can be understood, embraced and implemented in their area.
During a brand strategy workshop, Marketing Strategy and Branding staff use messaging maps and brain storming sessions to help participants understand the nuances of how their area connects to the brand narrative and framework. By the end of the workshop, participants walk away better grounded in DePaul’s story with a set of concrete next steps on how to best incorporate the brand into their larger planning as well as everyday tasks.
The customized workshop is one of several tools that Marketing Strategy and Branding is implementing to help the university community tell DePaul’s story. In January 2016, the team plans to launch an integrated brand website. It will serve as a resource and media hub, including a series of brand videos, for sharing DePaul stories that reflect the brand essence.
Interested in learning more about the DePaul brand and setting up a workshop for your area? Contact Verna Donovan, associate vice president for Marketing Strategy and Branding.