Marketing at Kent State University should consist of centrally developed, well-managed, well-funded and strategically placed image, message and marketing initiatives integrated throughout all campuses and beyond. The goals of these initiatives are: (1) to unify the overall competitive institutional position of Kent State University to the public and the legislature; (2) to attract prospective students, faculty and staff; and (3) to interest current and future alumni in their association with a university that genuinely appreciates or needs their continued support and involvement.
The Kent State University "Brand"
Marketing research for years has indicated that institutional focus and consistency are essential requirements to building brand equity. While terms such as "brand," "branding" or "brand equity" are relatively new in higher education, the process of promoting Kent State’s institutional identity must include attention to brand equity.
In lay terms, a brand is … "actually intellectual property: The totality of the thoughts, feelings, associations and expectations a prospect or customer experiences when exposed to a company’s name, trademark, products or to any design or symbol representing them" (Lindsay, Stone & Briggs Advertising Inc. in Branding For A Brave New World).
In 1998, the university convened a Centennial Commission to explore institutional strengths and challenges as Kent State moved toward a new millennium of service. Building on the findings of the commission, Kent State initiated a strategic planning process. Out of both deliberate forums emerged a call for the university to "develop and promote a consistent message" which will "articulate and promote Kent State’s distinct institutional identity." To do so requires Kent State University to engage in a branding process that honors the past but moves the institution forward. Focus and consistency in our visual identity and messages and our service to our constituencies are imperatives.
The university established a Communications Council consisting of internal and external experts in the field of communications and marketing. Before launching the university’s branding campaign, the council discussed the issues and challenges facing Kent State and provided direction on many fronts. A Visual Identity Program Task Force was formed specifically to focus on using the visual elements of our overall marketing effort to help build Kent State’s brand equity. Additionally, a Marketing Advisory Task Force and a Web Strategy Task Force were formed to plan and implement marketing and Web initiatives, respectively.