Allegheny seeks to update public marketing message

A process that happens every so often at Allegheny that many might not be aware of is the administration looking at the way the college presents itself to the world. 

A college’s marketing message is the message that it sends to the world, mainly prospective students, to generate interest and grab their attention, according to Vice President of College Relations Susan Salton. Since the 2000s, Allegheny’s message has been “unusual combinations.”

Salton described how every few years the college will look at this marketing message and decide it is time to “refresh” it, and look for a new message.  

“Something that students and prospective students have probably noticed is that most college materials look alike,” Salton said. “It is very important for us to differentiate, and to show the market what makes us unique.” 

There are many important points of figuring out this differentiation, and the main point is the evaluation. 

“Our brand, or message, is the total experience,” Salton said. “It’s everything that we do here as an institution; everything our institution does and says. A lot of research goes into finding the specific points (that we want to present), and this research takes time.” 

According to Salton, the departments of the administration who have been working on this project are hoping for the research on what the new message should be, to be essentially done by January 2020. 

Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole reiterated this, adding that a lot of things are still being planned at this time.

“A lot of this is still in the works,” Cole said. “We really just want to be able to develop an authentic message and provide that in a clear way to our prospective students.”

Due to traveling for the college Cole was unavailable for further comment.

Salton described the different steps being taken at this point in the project, which included more steps than just preliminary research.

“This new brand has its own timeline,” Salton said. “First we have to do the research, then we have to find the points that we want to focus on. We then have to validate those points. It’s only then that we can move into what we want the message to be. Then we test that message, and then we can fully execute it.” 

Salton added that a lot of how the new messaging campaign will be implemented is through print, videos and social media, describing how it is not about the phrase of the message but the visibility of the college. 

“We really want our college’s visibility to be clear to what our institution is about,” Salton said. “Typically with a new marketing message visibility is raised, because that’s what a strong marketing program is designed to do.”

Once the overall process is finished, and Allegheny sends out its new marketing message, Salton said she thinks there will be a positive effect on the college overall. 

“It’s like President Link said during her speech at her inauguration,” Salton said. “Allegheny really is a ‘gem of an institution,’ and that is not as known as it could be. I think this new message will help that to become more widely known, so I think it will have a really positive impact.”

Beginning with the official inauguration of Link, and now moving into the process of a new message, Salton said she believed the college is currently in the midst of an exciting new chapter.

“This is a very exciting time,” Salton said. “There has been a lot of support and energy around this project. This is a very exciting chapter for the college.”