UWG partnered with Mindpower Inc., an Atlanta-based marketing firm, in 2010 to create a stronger brand presence for the university.
Our first task was to complete extensive marketing research in conjunction with UWG’s College of Social Sciences Center for Research. We wanted a benchmark on how well UWG was known in the region, and we needed to know if many of the transformative experiences that can be found at UWG were attributed to our university by our prospects and stakeholders.
Marketing research was fielded to ascertain attitudes, awareness, and general perceptions of UWG through surveying opinions of key constituencies and to identify and explore areas of differentiation for UWG. We gathered valuable information to uncover key attributes for defining our brand voice and shaping a distinctive, authentic identity. We then applied the survey findings to our brand development process.
Armed with primary, new-found knowledge, UWG’s communications and marketing professionals - in tandem with agency partner Mindpower Inc. - created the basis for developing a unique and compelling brand presence that has been enthusiastically supported by university leadership as enrollment has increased.
Since its initial launch, the “Go West” brand has been refreshed three times with different treatments of color, fonts, and imagery. The most recent refresh – deployed earlier this year – was built with a keen eye toward Generation Z, individuals born in 2000 or after who comprise the majority of prospective students in UWG’s target market.
With our most recent messaging, we’ve tried to stay salient by balancing the polished marketing that elevates us as a university with honest, authentic storytelling to which prospective students can more easily relate. One of the reasons for the success of this brand is the thoroughness with which the graphics, language, signage, and look and feel of the concept have been incorporated in every facet of university life.
That full incorporation of the “Go West” brand can be seen all over UWG’s campus, with students who “Live West,” “Dine West,” and “Serve West” and alumni who “Went West” and now “Give West.”
The essence of our university is that it’s a land of opportunity and that we’re not bound by tradition. The language and the imagery we’ve highlighted over the past nine years shows that students can enroll here and explore countless opportunities to transform their lives. It’s a unique way to tell a story, particularly in higher education, and we’re proud to have leveraged the word ‘west’ as a metaphor for everything positive that affects our students’ lives here at UWG.
We have also invested in marketing strategies to support the acquisition of graduate and non-traditional adult learners as we offer these audiences their own relatable opportunity to explore west and seek their next personal or career success.
One lasting impression made by the “Go West” brand thus far can be seen in a public relations textbook published earlier this year. “Cases in Public Relations Strategy” features UWG’s brand identity as a case study in its first chapter - a collaborative academic endeavor between the UWG College of Social Science and UWG.
To learn more about the awards UWG has received from its “Go West” brand, visit https://www.westga.edu/ucm/industry-awards.php.