Bucking the trend: staking out and promoting a new, valued position in undergraduate education
Mount Ida has been around for over a hundred years, but unlike some other Massachusetts institutions of higher learning, it’s had a non-linear history. Beginning as a junior college for women in 1907, it closed in the Great Depression, re-opened and re-located in 1939, and subsequently incorporated five different schools––each of which had its own focus, alumni and faculty. As a result, Mount Ida has come to mean many things––many of which are no longer true and certainly aren’t what the school needs to mean today.
Informed by a thorough investigative phase, we crafted a new identity, a robust messaging framework, comprehensive system for visual expression, and a deep suite of recruitment materials: everything from a top-level view book, to collateral for the College’s four schools, through to pieces targeted to transfer students, international students, and those interested in athletics.
Tuition-driven, increasing interest and applications were not electives for Mount Ida. Our task was to work with the new president to redefine the college and to promulgate its new model: a school clearly focused on readying students for their careers––but one that also builds critical thinking skills and has a strong grounding in the social sciences and humanities.
“Mount Ida College’s enrollment has increased dramatically, over 20% during the past three years as a result of restructuring our brand message, emphasizing our focus on career-relevant college education, and adopting a system of visual expression––and all new recruitment materials––that resonate with our prospects. As part of this change, the achievement levels of our entering students have also risen: we’re seeing both higher SAT scores and significantly better grade point averages.”—Barry Brown, President, Mount Ida College
Unlike how one might market a conventional four-year liberal arts college whose name was already invested with accurate and appropriate meaning, we devised a strategy to build on the successes of Mount Ida’s signature programs––and to build the school’s image from the bottom up.
“At a time of heightened concern among other colleges around lower numbers of applications, declining enrollment, and the need to be less selective and to discount more, Mount Ida College, with our partners at Sametz Blackstone, is exceeding its enrollment projections with qualified and dedicated students.”—Barry Brown