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Getting Started: A Conversation about Longwood Branding

Welcome to the president’s blog on branding. An important component of the university’s strategic priorities for 2012-13 is to develop a compelling brand for Longwood.

Critical to this process is gathering input from faculty, staff, alumni and students about what they think makes Longwood attractive to prospective students. Your perceptions are important in understanding Longwood’s brand and in deciding how we want to shape it, so please—Join the Conversation.

Each week on the blog, we will post a summary of the week’s discussion. It would be helpful when you post for you to identify yourself as a faculty or staff member or a student.

For the purpose of sparking the discussion, you may want to view the preliminary take on Longwood’s brand. Download/View Preliminary Brand Platform (Word)

Before everyone gets started with providing their input, we should make sure we are all on the same page about what a brand and branding actually are.

Very simply put, a brand is the set of perceptions in a customer’s mind about a product, service or organization.

Branding is the process of creating those perceptions.

Sometimes people think of a brand as something physical, like the Coca-Cola logo, or a few words, like Nike’s “Just Do It” or a university’s tagline. But really when we speak of a brand we’re referring to what comes to a customer’s mind when he or she thinks about a product, service or organization.

When someone mentions Volvo, do you think of safety and quality? When someone mentions Target, do you have a different set of perceptions than when you think about Wal-Mart?

Branding is the process of trying to change and adjust those perceptions, and one way to change them is to articulate what makes us unique.

What do you think makes Longwood attractive to prospective students? What about to their parents? Would the most attractive characteristics of the university differ depending on which of our target areas the prospective students are from? (Longwood’s target recruitment areas are Northern Virginia, Tidewater, Richmond and select areas of Maryland.) How do Longwood’s attractive characteristics stack up against our primary competition, especially James Madison, Christopher Newport, Radford and VCU?

Thank you very much for your participation in this important initiative.

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