Promoting the Brand Mission: Barkley’s marketing strategy

Entrepreneur magazine defines branding as “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products,” highlighting how important the marketing aspect of branding is. At William Jewell College, new marketing materials are one of the most tangible products of the Brand Mission. This article is the second installment in a series highlighting the Brand Mission.

Marketing materials produced throughout the Brand Mission include billboards, posters, a website redesign, a Brand book and email signatures. The intention of these products is to advertise and promote Jewell to the wider Kansas City community.

Throughout this campaign, marketing materials have been designed and managed by Barkley, a large design and marketing firm located in downtown Kansas City.

Jason Parks, Earned Value Professional and Managing Director at Barkley, said that the firm has used the data collected to clarify the Brand Mission message and how best to apply it. This was a multi-step process, including marketing and action oriented phases.

Page from the Brand book

“The first thing we did was we created a brand book that brought to life what this brand is,” said Parks. “Then we’re also creating collateral materials for college fairs and when prospective students tour Jewell. All the collateral that’s provided is sort of bringing the idea to life, so we’ve provided that. The first big activation was the escape room tournament among all the high schools in the area, that was our idea and we executed that. From the social media perspective, we’re partnering with Cara [Dahlor, Director of Communications], and the team there at Jewell. So, we’re providing guidance for that, for the big topic areas. There’s some staff at Jewell that does kind of the daily stuff and we’re working with them on that. Then, we’re also responsible for a complete website redevelopment.”

According to John Dobson, account supervisor at Barkley, the redesign of will be complete this February. Statistics obtained regarding site usage will be used to gauge the response to the new look and identify what appeals to users.

Information will be gathered from website visitors in a few ways. Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are two free tools that are often utilized to monitor a number of data points including page views, traffic source, time spent on site, among others. These tools integrate with paid search and display banner ad campaigns, such as student recruitment advertising, in order to track the effectiveness of messaging and targeting,” said Dobson.

While website analysis will allow for the marketing material’s reception to be assessed, the initial materials distributed have been constructed based on data aggregated about Jewell by Kurt Bartolich, Founder and Brand Internalist at Gutsbranding.

Over a period of 12 months, fall 2016 to the present, Bartolich has surveyed approximately 2,500 individuals to assess Jewell’s climate and identify strengths and weaknesses. This process has generated approximately 26,875 pieces of data, which have been used to inform the marketing materials Barkley produced. Of these data points, 1,063 were qualitative and 25,822 were quantitative.

The number of data points collected is calculated by multiplying the number of interviewees by the number of answers they provided.

The most comprehensive piece of marketing material is the Brand book. Initial designs and drafts of this book were created in August and a final version was released to faculty this October. This book is 34 pages long and contains images, key words and slogans, which have been used to inform all subsequent marketing material that Jewell has released. This book also features alumni and their accomplishments, including those of Trevor Nicks, Marqus Moye, Conner Hazelrigg and Daniel Belcher.

Page from the Brand book

Representatives from Barkley are pleased with the reception of the Brand book.

“We’ve only heard very positive things… it’s been a hit with everyone. The feedback we’ve received has been very positive,” said Parks.

The response to the brand book has been one of excitement and optimism,” said Dobson.

Bartolich has also been pleased with the progress of the Brand Mission. Commenting on the Net Promotor Score (NPS) values, which have had slower than expected growth, he asserted that any positive growth is a good sign and that it is not uncommon for change to occur slowly.

“When we say change we can’t expect revolution, we can only expect evolution,” said Bartolich.

Over the past 12 months the average NPS for Jewell across all student groups has increased from -13 percent to +2 percent.

Bartolich does not believe that these scores are reason for alarm and thinks that they may reflect the critical thinking of Jewell students. He commented this attitude meant gathering data at Jewell was particularly enlightening.

“[The] passion of students, their forthrightness, their candor. I never once felt like I wasn’t getting their truth, about the campus, their environment,” said Bartolich. “Students will tell you what they really think and believe. I think that’s, in part, the kinds of people who go to Jewell, and it’s the way you engage in your classrooms and I think it’s also the expectation to critically think.”

Overall, those involved are pleased with the progress of the Brand Mission and will continue to promote Jewell using Barkley’s marketing materials.

“The goal really is to help make Jewell famous,” said Parks.

Photos by Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe. 


Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe

Sofia is a senior chemistry and communication major at William Jewell College. Currently she serves as the Editor in Chief of the Hilltop Monitor.

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