Strategizing Branding That Sticks

Strategizing Branding That Sticks

As part of the celebration of 35 years of MessageMakers, we're telling the stories of 35 great projects throughout our history. This is one of them.

In 2011, Lansing Community College's Division of Extended Learning and Professional Studies (DELPS) contacted MessageMakers for assistance with branding and strategy visioning.

DELPS helps LCC meet its goals to extend learning opportunities in non-traditional ways. Individuals can prepare for traditional college activities, receive both credit and non-credit certifications, and essentially go beyond an associate’s degree to higher levels of achievement. DELPS has various units within it that have different functions. In particular, the Business and Community Institute (BCI) and the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) within DELPS were the focus of this project. DELPS felt they needed to regroup and focus their energy in order to evaluate for these units exactly who they’re trying to target and exactly what they’re trying to accomplish for these audiences.

“[The people of DELPS] feel that they have a very high quality product with the Business and Community Institute, and it wasn't necessarily getting the respect it deserved,” explains Matt Penniman, one of MessageMakers’ facilitators. “People would say, ‘oh, community college, that's not the grade of advice that I want for my business.’ So we brought together some stakeholders from DELPS to figure out who they're trying to reach, what kind of messages would speak to those people.”

MessageMakers created and distributed a pre-survey to stakeholders across DELPS and LCC in order to identify strengths and weaknesses of the division. Then, a visioning session was held with some of the stakeholders of DELPS in order to brainstorm on the best direction for the division in terms of branding strategy.

Matt Penniman and Terry Terry facilitate the LCC DELPS branding strategy session.During the meeting, individuals wrote down ideas on different colored slips of paper and stuck those ideas up on a giant blue sticky wall to organize ideas and create a visual of exactly what the division wanted to accomplish in a tangible, constructive way that allowed revision as discussion of ideas progressed.

MessageMakers and DELPS developed three key marketing objectives: creative a distinctive, compelling and consistent brand; build awareness of BCI’s brand among key audiences; and measure cost versus effectiveness of marketing. In order to ascertain the current status of DELPS, the survey data was considered.

“We used SurveyMonkey to look at what they thought their purpose was, who their target market was,” explains Glenna DeJong, evaluator for this project. “We did a SWOT analysis, and then we were able to report that out to the brainstorming group.”

After the survey and the branding strategy visioning session, MessageMakers developed brand strategy recommendations to guide DELPS as they develop their branding plan. Through the planning and developing of strategies to assist DELPS, the division gained a more concrete idea of the direction they plan to take and decided to involve MessageMakers as they continue developing strategy.