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Integration of Development and Alumni Relations into AU Brand Strategy

UCM developed the KNOW/WONK campaign in 2010 to position and differentiate the university. In 2011, we integrated the WONK campaign into the work and marketing efforts of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR), which is responsible for communicating with one of AU’s most important audiences.

UCM’s objective was to help DAR achieve its strategic fundraising and alumni engagement goals. We also wanted to encourage alumni and donors to embrace AU’s distinct institutional positioning and messaging. Finally, UCM sought to align DAR communications with the broader WONK brand. To that end, we provided tools and guidance to increase consistency throughout DAR materials.

DAR comprises several areas, all of which are crucial to proper engagement with this important stakeholder group. It was important for UCM to consider this audience in the following targets to ensure our messaging would resonate:

  • alumni relations
  • annual giving
  • fundraising
  • stewardship and donor relations

To create a creative look and feel for DAR, UCM focused on:

  • integration of the WONK brand
  • effective outreach to diverse audiences
  • clear, consistent brand guidelines that also maintained flexibility for DAR
  • alignment with the AU brand campaign and ways to promote engagement and fundraising initiatives

UCM created the concept “Building a Better American University.” This reflects the idea that it takes teamwork and the additive effects of numerous elements to build not only a better AU, but also a better global citizen—and alumni are a valued part of that equation. This concept defines the roles of DAR and alumni in the institution’s progress and applies especially well to development opportunities. Creative materials used bold colors from the brand color wheel and photography of alumni, faculty, and campus to connect alumni to their university experience.

DAR began rolling out new creative materials in the spring of 2012. UCM created brochures, email templates, pocket guides, website graphics, and event invitations. UCM worked with DAR to identify creative priorities that could be supported by new marketing materials and continued to develop the creative as initiatives arose. Alumni feedback has been positive, and the results of stakeholder research indicate that their positive association with AU continues to grow.