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Enhancing Reputation through Targeted Communications

Clarkson University

Enhancing Reputation through Targeted Communications

When leading faculty, exceptional students, and innovative curricula are at the core of a school’s reputation, how do you best convey that to prospective students, donors, and alumni? By telling the right stories. Clarkson was at a pivotal moment in their history with the receipt of the largest philanthropic gift in the school’s history. It was time to build on their reputation.

Our team, including strategic partner Michelle Lansing, engaged from strategy through delivery of key print communications. 

To begin, we conducted a thorough review of all current/relevant institutional publications and reports. From these, a situational analysis was developed to provide a thorough understanding of the existing brand and to develop the project goals. Key business objectives were identified and aligned with creative strategy, audience needs were determined, and differentiators were defined.

Clarkson’s strategic framework was a critical component in developing the communications. The eight elements served as a roadmap for the editorial. Story ideas were measured against the strategic framework to ensure all elements were represented through diverse and engaging storytelling. In addition to the strategic framework, all communications pointed to the needs and drivers of the audience, as well as Clarkson’s brand personality.

The next step was to map a plan. Knowing that we wanted to connect with three very different audiences — students, donors, and alumni — it was critical that each communication be aligned with its target audience. We approached the projects holistically while considering the strategic vision, marketing goals, and individual audiences. An overarching creative and editorial direction guided the development of all of the content and individual pieces.

The resulting plan included a comprehensive suite of communications with throughlines that allowed for maximum use of individual elements.

With an editorial plan in place, we defined the visual language of each piece. Conceptual and graphic illustration, engaging environment portraiture, and active campus moments provided each with a unique and robust visual presence. The Clarkson typography and color palette was at the core of all of the designs to ensure cohesiveness between pieces, as well as brand alignment.

We developed a visual framework based on the Clarkson identity and varied the treatment based on the intended audience.

The first piece to mail was an experiential brochure for prospective students. The visual language was applied to create a dynamic, layered, visually rich piece highlighting first-person experiences of current students.

The signature publication was published in time for the Presidential inauguration. This oversized publication focused on the success of the program and alumni through a wide variety of stories about faculty, students, and alumni.

The final piece in the suite is focused on prospective donors. The cover line, “Challenge On,” speaks to the competitive nature of a Clarkson graduate.

By the end of the engagement, 2communiqué produced a suite of intelligent communications that shone a bright light on Clarkson’s exceptional education, reputation and future endeavors. The bar was raised.

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