CMU launches brand celebrating learning, leadership

Yearlong process identifies pillars of the Central experience

| Author: Heather Smith

Central Michigan University has a message for the world, distilled from extensive conversations about the CMU experience: "We do."

Central's new brand stems from more than a year of work, beginning with extensive market research. The quantitative and qualitative research was conducted over several months by Simpson Scarborough, a higher education research, marketing and branding agency. Input was gathered from stakeholder groups including alumni, faculty, staff, parents, students and the public.

The brand promise — "You will learn to lead in life" — built through these research results encompasses four pillars: We focus on real-world results, we set the leadership standard, we lift each other up, and we exemplify a Fired-Up attitude.

"You'll see those pillars stated or implied throughout our internal and external communications," said John Veilleux, CMU vice president for University Communications and chief marketing officer, "because the more consistent and focused we are when telling our story, the better our audiences will understand us."

CMU's brand campaign kicks off this month with a series of print, billboard, radio and digital advertising to appear across the state throughout the next year.

"It is intended to increase recognition and awareness of our propensity for action and the impact that has on our students' futures and the future of our region, state, country and world," said Abby Dean, CMU director of integrated marketing.

wrap-BrandAs part of the brand, a new visual language adds fonts, graphics and accent colors to CMU's familiar maroon and gold palette. The design also combines the familiar Action C with the Central Michigan University name to create a new visual identity for CMU. The new look is already being incorporated into the university's website and other materials.

"Last fall, we conducted internal and external research to inform this new brand," Dean said. "It captures our earnest dedication to our students' growth and success, the outstanding academic work of our students and faculty, the hard-won successes of our alumni and our impact as a community of doers."

Dean said the new brand will help distinguish CMU among thousands of colleges and universities across the country.

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