A flagship school in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, Brooklyn College serves nearly 17,000 undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students. It offers preprofessional programs in fields such as accounting, business, and education. And its campus, however beautiful, is not residential. None of this is standard “college” fare.
In order to tell its story, Brooklyn College would have to get away from an outdated sense of itself as a public alternative to the Ivy League. At the same time, it couldn’t lose its longstanding mission to – as one alumnus from the 1950s put it – “raise the children of immigrants into the middle class through higher education.” How to do both? Cue Neustadt Creative Marketing.
With a new president at the helm, Brooklyn College partnered with NCM in late 2009 to develop an institution-wide identity system and a clear admissions message. Their first need was research – and lots of it. In the first phase of our work, NCM conducted extensive focus groups and individual interviews, delighting in conversations with alumni from the 1940s through the 2000s that painted a picture of how the institution has evolved.
The results of qualitative and quantitative studies made one message clear: Brooklyn College appeals to students who have well-articulated goals and a strong sense of purpose. And it has the programs students need to get what they want. Driven students and loads of majors and programs. That was the message.
With the brand strategy approved, NCM got the green light to move on to phase two: implementation across the institution, starting with a logo. NCM presented two design directions and the chosen logo was our house favorite. The clean, contemporary wordmark works well on business cards, banners, signs, and T-shirts – even on the gymnasium floor. It represents a break from the past for students who are looking forward to the future that a Brooklyn College education represents.
For admissions, we created a new generation of publications, compounding their impact with an outdoor advertising campaign. The campaign tagline was deceptively simple: Because. It evokes the sense of purpose and desire that leads people to choose this place: Because I want to take advantage of the B.A./M.D. program; I want to become a speech pathologist; I want to publish a novel by the time I’m 25.
Working collaboratively with the interactive design agency Fastspot, we worked on a new information architecture and complete redesign of the institutional website and virtual tour. It embodies the brand strategy in form and function and offers a compelling, interactive user experience.
As a result of NCM’s involvement with the institution, the Brooklyn College administrative structure better reflects the size and ambition of its many departments and research centers. Its logo better reflects the character of the school. And its admissions message is targeted to the students Brooklyn College appeals to most: students who know exactly what they want out of their college experience.