University of Puget Sound

Purpose and impact

The Situation

Leaders were struggling. Significant strengths, many strong programs and a solid reputation didn’t answer “How is University of Puget Sound distinct?” Schedules for a new website, enrollment materials and a capital campaign made the need for a consistent brand message urgent. The message had to be different, relevant and true. And a community accustomed to debate had to embrace it.

The Solution

We put a brand team on it, a group of alumni, students, faculty and staff. Clear expectations and a well-managed process encouraged full participation. We audited Puget Sound’s communications, analyzed the positioning of five competitors and conducted focus groups. Team meetings were lively, interactive exchanges. Together we tackled the identity question by defining Puget Sound’s personality, position and promise. These informed a “message map” to guide all communications. We field tested the message early as part of a prospective student mailing that couldn’t wait for the work to be complete.

The Results

The messaging hit a chord. We heard it quoted back to us. It led to our refreshing the brand’s visual elements, creating a brand guide and designing campus environmental graphics. The latest? The prospective student mailing is being adapted for next year’s recruitment campaign.

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