Mount Allison looking to distinguish itself from competitors
Staff at Mount Allison is currently working to identify the university’s greatest strengths and assets in order increase their competitive edge when it comes to attracting top students.
Published on December 23rd, 2010
What makes Mount Allison unique? What differentiates it from its competitors? And how exactly does a small-town undergrad university vie for the best students and faculty in an increasingly-aggressive market?
These are just a few of the questions being explored as part of a branding project that aims to provide a snapshot of the university’s greatest strengths and assets.
The purpose of the initiative is to provide Mount Allison with its own distinct identity, says Tony Frost, director of marketing and communications for the university, “so students really know what they’re getting when they come to Mount A.”
This will help pave the way for the university to distinguish itself more clearly from its peers, he says.
Today, universities need to be more competitive than ever in their efforts to attract top-notch students, faculty and donors, says Frost, and Mount A has to keep up with the best if they want to attract the best.
But with the number of high school students declining in the Maritimes, that poses a significant challenge for universities in the region that rely on 50 per cent of their students coming from the Maritime provinces.
“There’s a demographic challenge here in the Maritimes,” he says, “so we need to start looking outside the region.”
Through the brand positioning project, Mount Allison will be taking a “more integrated approach to who we are and what we are saying,” in order to market the university to a wider audience outside the Maritimes.
Fortunately, he says, the good news is that students, both national and international, are now more transient than they were 20 or 30 years ago and many of those students are looking for an experience outside their home university.
“So this is an opportunity for us to say, ‘hey, why not an Atlantic experience, why not a Mount Allison experience?”
The research phase of the project has just finished up, with a number of participants involved, including current, past, and prospective students, as well as business and government leaders.
“We spent time revisiting who we were and what it is that makes us different . . . and how we can market that to an external audience,” says Frost.
Of course, the size and the reputation of the school were the two key distinguishing features that were brought up time and time again during the discussions, says Frost.
But also gaining attention is the “experience” that comes with attending an institution in which students are treated to a “personal , intimate environment” where they can become their own individuals.
“That’s something not found anywhere else.”
The strategy development phase is now under way with the university expecting to come up with a proposed concept in late January, followed up by the creative development stage of the project.
December 23, 2010
Update: Mount Allison University Branding Campaign
An update on the branding campaign I wrote about earlier. A brand concept should be coming out in late January. Story from Sackville Tribute Post.