After short reports by the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA) committee chairs, Will Kopp presented OWU’s new publicity strategies to the Oct. 12 full senate.
Kopp, Ohio Wesleyan’s chief communications officer, calls the fresh approach to marketing the “OWU Branding Platform.” Changes include a major overhaul of the website, updated promotional materials sent out to prospective students and alumni and physical modifications to campus.
Facing a declining enrollment, Kopp and his office of about seven full-time staffers asked why OWU wasn’t drawing students. “Research showed that OWU was not students’ No. 1 choice,” he said. “There was no emotional connection for them. We had a lack of identity in the marketplace.”
The new identity is all about impact.
“We wanted to tell the OWU story in a bold, compelling way,” said Kopp. “It’s a crowed marketplace out there. We had to be bold, to stand out, to highlight our strengths and to differentiate us from all our competitors. We wanted to increase enrollment right now.”
Focus groups were organized and an outside branding consultant, MindPower, was called in. After only two months, the communications office settled on a theme: hunger. Kopp emphasized that this theme is encapsulated in a metaphor, not a tagline.
“OWU students are hungry,” Kopp said. “They are insatiable problem solvers, they feast on a bounty of interconnected experiences. Basically, OWU students are hungry to get involved.”
When he had reached the end of his slideshow, Kopp asked for questions. When that didn’t get any response, he asked for complaints.
Sophomore Areena Arora, chair of the academic affairs committee asked if “we are using ‘Opposite of Ordinary’ at all anymore?”
Kopp said that no, the former tagline would not be used in the future.
Senator Billy George, a senior, asked if there was “anywhere online I can find out more about the OWU connection? Because I still don’t understand it.”
Kopp said that the current website has a wealth of information about the OWU Connection and that the new website will have even more.
Senior Emma Drongowski, vice president of WCSA, asked if there had been “any response or feedback from students so far?”
“Yes,” Kopp said, “on social media it has been overwhelmingly positive. Lots of students and parents have been seen taking pictures with the new banners and putting them online. We even had one of the city managers of Delaware, whose son is starting to look at colleges, say that the OWU promotional piece they got in the mail was far better than other schools’.”
Kopp concluded his presentation–and the full senate meeting–by saying that school visits were up, a trend he hopes continues.