Office Of The President
Savannah Morning News – Branding and Marketing Campaign
By Gale Baldwin
Armstrong Atlantic State University is rolling out a new branding and marketing campaign designed to increase awareness of Armstrong, expand recruitment efforts and highlight its deep ties to the Savannah region.
"Through different marketing strategies, we are communicating to all our constituent groups the great work being done by our students, faculty and staff, the high quality of our academic programs and why we are such a vital part of this great place we call Savannah," Armstrong President Linda Bleicken said.
The campaign, which includes advertising materials, internal and external communication strategies and media relations efforts, will provide a consistent look and a focused message to differentiate the university, she said.
The campaign rollout will be gradual. It started earlier in the fall semester with recruiting materials university admissions staffers shared with potential students.
Billboards also have been posted in Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, Brunswick and Savannah.
Bleicken said when she arrived at Armstrong in July 2009, she was surprised the university's identity within the community seemed a bit fuzzy.
"Although the campus is located on one of the busiest roads in Chatham County, the public seemed to know little about us," she said. "In addition, it was clear that the linkages between Armstrong and the city of Savannah were sometimes not known or had been forgotten over the years."
To test this, Bleicken said, the university engaged in a research-based effort beginning in fall 2009, which elicited feedback from current students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community.
One conclusion was that Armstrong is either misunderstood or even unknown around the region and the state, she said.
"Armstrong will use its strong assets - a beautiful campus, our location in the city of Savannah and the natural beauty of our coastal surroundings - as a frame for creative messaging that defines and differentiates the Armstrong experience," Bleicken said.
Images will be vital in describing who Armstrong is today, but will also provide a framework for the university's emerging strategic plan, she said. "Our linkages with our community partners will also be showcased to acknowledge our interdependence," Bleicken said. "We are proud of our 75-year heritage with this community, and we look forward to making those linkages even stronger."
As part of the branding, an emphasis will be placed on the Armstrong name rather than AASU, based on feedback from alumni across the state and the nation who feel a strong loyalty to the institution and the name. The research found the majority of those who attended would choose Armstrong again.