Alfred University is a private university in Alfred, New York with a nearly 200-year heritage. One of the first coeducational institutions in the United States, Alfred University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business, liberal arts and sciences, engineering, art and design, and the performing arts. They’re also home to the New York State College of Ceramics and the only glass engineering program in the nation.View all Work
Step Inside Your Uncomfort Zone: How going outside of ordinary reintroduced Alfred to the world.
No college or university should ever be a best-kept secret. But in today’s competitive higher education market, when you’re a small, private institution situated in rural New York State, spreading the word and standing out isn’t so easy. With new institutional leadership and a strong desire to boost brand awareness and strengthen enrollment, Alfred University turned to CCA for a complete rebrand and a plan for a three-year comprehensive regional enrollment campaign.
We began with a rigorous discovery, conducting both qualitative and quantitative research and inviting the participation of all institutional stakeholders, including Alfred’s alumni and Board of Trustees. This was the first comprehensive brand study that the University had conducted, and it was essential in order to achieve community involvement and buy-in. We tested preliminary positioning themes and creative directions, and then leveraged the findings to craft a compelling and differentiating brand narrative and positioning platform.
The tagline we created, “Outside of Ordinary,” is a direct nod to Alfred’s “quirk factor” as much as it is about the uniqueness of its bucolic campus and location—a one-of-a-kind destination for like-minded students who share a spirit of kinship and creativity.
The brand creative that followed showcased the distinctive Alfred attributes that define it so well: the magical quality of its valley location, its creativity and maker culture, faculty mentor muses who support and inspire students, a unique constellation of top-ranked programs, and a spirit of inclusion that continues to draw remarkable talent to Alfred after nearly 200 years.
We then activated the Alfred brand in the market through a comprehensive fall and spring media campaign in the University’s primary markets, leveraging both traditional awareness-based media and more targeted digital tactics designed to address the University’s dual-objective awareness and enrollment objectives.
After over just a year and a half of reintroducing the Alfred brand into its primary markets, Alfred asked CCA to replicate its original brand awareness market research study.
- 43% Increase in familiarity of prospects and parents (up from 11%)
- 5% Enrollment increase after year one
- 52% Increase in Open House attendance