Passion, Purpose and the Power of Brand at Georgian Court University

As a member of the Georgian Court University community, you share a belief in this institution, and an interest in its progress. And that’s because, somewhere along the line, GCU entered your head, and eventually, your heart.

Why Brand Matters

Guest post by Peter Holloran

There was a time in each of our lives, of course, when the only way any of us could have answered the question: “What do you think of Georgian Court University?” would have been to say: “I don’t think a thing about Georgian Court University: I’ve never heard of it!”

Of course, none of us started life knowing anything about Harvard, either.

For most of us who have come to care about Georgian Court and to believe in its purposes and competencies, our path from ignorance of its existence, to the conviction necessary to “invest” in the University, began with what marketers call “word of mouth.” Someone we knew, who also knew GCU, made an “introduction.”

While word of mouth always will always be a primary means of “spreading the word” about Georgian Court, we can and must help the process along by developing a strong institutional brand, and making sure everyone who is willing to spread the word about our University knows what it is, and believes in it fully.

There are nearly 4,600 two-and four-year degree granting colleges and universities in the United States today—1,200 more than existed in 1980. Many of them have excess capacity, because they are having trouble filling their classes. In marketing terms, we have too much supply for the demand, and this is true for a number of reasons. The population of traditional-aged college bound students in the US today is actually declining, especially so in the Northeast, and this trend will forecast to continue until 2022. But the challenge runs deeper: there is increasing public outcry about the ever rising cost of U.S. college education, decreasing public confidence in the value of a college degree, and a disheartening level of negative industry press: virtually every week new stories appear about malfeasance  occurring on campuses all over the country. This is not only tarnishing the reputation of many institutions whose brands once shone brightly, but it is casting a pall across all of higher education.

Some college and university brands simply will not prove strong enough to compete effectively for students and the resources. But Georgian Court University is on a path to grow stronger. And one reason why is because we have made a strong commitment to developing our brand.

An institution’s brand represents it in the world. For example, we can probably agree that it is not necessary to actually take a class or attend a football game at Notre Dame University to have a developed sense of that institution: its brand is distinctive in our minds, and so the University has a permanent place in our collective consciousness. One reason this is true is because the University’s graduates–as well the thousands of other Fighting Irish fans who make sure Notre Dame stadium is always full to bursting, comprise a particularly loyal and enthusiastic “army” of institutional brand champions fully invested in the school’s success. Suffice it to say, the brand that is Notre Dame gives the University that is Notre Dame a tremendous advantage in a competitive world.

Whether a University focuses in a given moment on recruiting students, faculty, or staff; or on increasing its endowment, or on generating capital dollars, if it has a strong brand message that its stakeholders can and do believe in, the task will be infinitely easier, and a successful outcome almost inevitable.

Great brand schools are made, not born. Great brand schools are not necessarily big, or at the very top of the rankings. And they aren’t necessarily known far and wide. But they are great brands because they come to stand for something distinctive in the consciousness of the markets they are committed to serve. They have distinct personalities, clear missions, and communities of students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends who have an abiding faith in them, and a deep affection for them. Georgian Court University has everything it takes to join the ranks of America’s educational brands.

If we are true to ourselves, if we continue to work everyday to deliver our promise, and if we are committed to telling our story within earshot of prospective students, faculty and staff–the people who will one day shape tomorrow’s Georgian Court, we will be not only an ever-better University, but an ever-better known and respected “brand.”

Loyal readers of this magazine know that the faculty and staff of Georgian Court University commit themselves everyday to deliver to the world engaged citizens who have integrity, intellectual surety, and a powerful sense of purpose. As a university community in the Mercy tradition, we know what our job is:

Expand possibility.

 

You are hereby enlisted in our army of brand champions!
Help us spread the word: Georgian Court University is the perfect choice for students who are determined to lead lives of purpose.

About the author

Peter Holloran is Co-Founder and CEO of Cognitive Marketing, a higher education marketing firm that works with Georgian Court University on a range of branding and marketing efforts.


As a member of the Georgian Court University community, you share a belief in this institution, and an interest in its progress. And that’s because, somewhere along the line, GCU entered your head, and eventually, your heart.

Why Brand Matters

Guest post by Peter Holloran

There was a time in each of our lives, of course, when the only way any of us could have answered the question: “What do you think of Georgian Court University?” would have been to say: “I don’t think a thing about Georgian Court University: I’ve never heard of it!”

Of course, none of us started life knowing anything about Harvard, either.

For most of us who have come to care about Georgian Court and to believe in its purposes and competencies, our path from ignorance of its existence, to the conviction necessary to “invest” in the University, began with what marketers call “word of mouth.” Someone we knew, who also knew GCU, made an “introduction.”

While word of mouth always will always be a primary means of “spreading the word” about Georgian Court, we can and must help the process along by developing a strong institutional brand, and making sure everyone who is willing to spread the word about our University knows what it is, and believes in it fully.

There are nearly 4,600 two-and four-year degree granting colleges and universities in the United States today—1,200 more than existed in 1980. Many of them have excess capacity, because they are having trouble filling their classes. In marketing terms, we have too much supply for the demand, and this is true for a number of reasons. The population of traditional-aged college bound students in the US today is actually declining, especially so in the Northeast, and this trend will forecast to continue until 2022. But the challenge runs deeper: there is increasing public outcry about the ever rising cost of U.S. college education, decreasing public confidence in the value of a college degree, and a disheartening level of negative industry press: virtually every week new stories appear about malfeasance  occurring on campuses all over the country. This is not only tarnishing the reputation of many institutions whose brands once shone brightly, but it is casting a pall across all of higher education.

Some college and university brands simply will not prove strong enough to compete effectively for students and the resources. But Georgian Court University is on a path to grow stronger. And one reason why is because we have made a strong commitment to developing our brand.

An institution’s brand represents it in the world. For example, we can probably agree that it is not necessary to actually take a class or attend a football game at Notre Dame University to have a developed sense of that institution: its brand is distinctive in our minds, and so the University has a permanent place in our collective consciousness. One reason this is true is because the University’s graduates–as well the thousands of other Fighting Irish fans who make sure Notre Dame stadium is always full to bursting, comprise a particularly loyal and enthusiastic “army” of institutional brand champions fully invested in the school’s success. Suffice it to say, the brand that is Notre Dame gives the University that is Notre Dame a tremendous advantage in a competitive world.

Whether a University focuses in a given moment on recruiting students, faculty, or staff; or on increasing its endowment, or on generating capital dollars, if it has a strong brand message that its stakeholders can and do believe in, the task will be infinitely easier, and a successful outcome almost inevitable.

Great brand schools are made, not born. Great brand schools are not necessarily big, or at the very top of the rankings. And they aren’t necessarily known far and wide. But they are great brands because they come to stand for something distinctive in the consciousness of the markets they are committed to serve. They have distinct personalities, clear missions, and communities of students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends who have an abiding faith in them, and a deep affection for them. Georgian Court University has everything it takes to join the ranks of America’s educational brands.

If we are true to ourselves, if we continue to work everyday to deliver our promise, and if we are committed to telling our story within earshot of prospective students, faculty and staff–the people who will one day shape tomorrow’s Georgian Court, we will be not only an ever-better University, but an ever-better known and respected “brand.”

Loyal readers of this magazine know that the faculty and staff of Georgian Court University commit themselves everyday to deliver to the world engaged citizens who have integrity, intellectual surety, and a powerful sense of purpose. As a university community in the Mercy tradition, we know what our job is:

Expand possibility.

 

You are hereby enlisted in our army of brand champions!
Help us spread the word: Georgian Court University is the perfect choice for students who are determined to lead lives of purpose.

About the author

Peter Holloran is Co-Founder and CEO of Cognitive Marketing, a higher education marketing firm that works with Georgian Court University on a range of branding and marketing efforts.


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