Overview

Leading the Radford University rebranding initiative as Creative Director, our mission was to refresh and reposition the university’s brand within the competitive arena of higher education. This ambitious project required a holistic approach, blending in-depth market research, innovative creative development, and a strategic multi-channel marketing campaign. Our objective was to transform public perceptions, cultivating stronger ties with both prospective and current students, alumni, and the broader community.

Challenge

Radford University faced several critical challenges, necessitating a comprehensive rebranding strategy. The university was grappling with declining enrollment rates across both undergraduate and graduate levels, signaling a troubling trend that needed urgent addressing. Additionally, Radford struggled with perception issues, being viewed predominantly as a fallback option, known more for its social offerings than its academic or extracurricular strengths. This image problem was compounded by fragmented branding efforts. Without a unified brand marketing strategy, Radford suffered from a disjointed image and insufficient engagement with the university’s identity across campus. Furthermore, the competitive environment of higher education meant that standing out required a distinct and compelling strategy, a task that Radford was finding increasingly difficult.

Industry

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Role

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Scope

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Tools

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Solution

Extensive Research

We embarked on a thorough investigation that combined both qualitative and quantitative research methods, engaging over a thousand stakeholders to explore the perceptions and expectations surrounding Radford University. We harnessed data from website analytics, interactive forms, surveys, and applications to gain insight into the behaviors and preferences of potential and current students. This broad spectrum of data collection enabled us to formulate a precise and potent messaging strategy that served as the foundation for our rebranding efforts.

Creative Strategy Development

With the insights from our research in hand, we devised a brand narrative that underscored Radford’s transformative impact on students, propelling them toward success. This narrative was succinctly captured in our tagline: “The Reason Is Radford.” The tagline encapsulated the university’s commitment to providing meaningful and impactful education.

Comprehensive Brand Program

We launched an extensive campus-wide engagement program to promote the adoption of Radford’s first fully integrated brand initiative. This phase involved deep collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, ensuring that everyone was aligned with the new brand identity and messaging.

Multi-Channel Outreach

A dynamic campaign was rolled out across web, TV, outdoor, and social media to draw in new students, foster alumni pride, and extend the university’s reach. A pivotal element of our campaign was the complete revamp of the Radford website, making it a true digital reflection of “The Reason Is Radford.” This redesign was aimed at delivering an intuitive and captivating user experience, mirroring the university’s values and mission. A detailed exploration of the website’s design and development is available in a separate case study.

Result

The rebranding campaign led to remarkable advancements in how Radford University is perceived and positioned in the marketplace:

  • Application Increase: We saw a 20% uplift in applications within the first year, escalating to an impressive 96% surge in first-year applications across the first two years.
  • Open House Attendance: Open house attendance spiked by 33%, signaling a growing interest in the university.
  • Multicultural Applications: Multicultural applications rose significantly by 111%, underscoring the brand’s expanded appeal and commitment to inclusivity.

These outcomes affirm the success of our research-backed creative strategy and comprehensive marketing tactics. The revitalized brand not only attracted a broader spectrum of prospective students but also rekindled the enthusiasm of alumni and the wider university community. This success marks a new chapter in Radford University’s story, showcasing the university as a dynamic and appealing choice for higher education.

Conclusion

The Radford University rebranding initiative illustrates the power of a well-executed, research-driven creative strategy. By addressing critical challenges head-on and developing a unified, compelling brand narrative, we significantly enhanced Radford’s market position. The increase in applications, open house attendance, and multicultural engagement highlight the effectiveness of our approach. As Radford continues to build on this new foundation, the university is well-positioned to maintain its upward trajectory, fostering a vibrant and inclusive academic community for years to come.