The student response to the Brand Mission

The process of branding is complex. It requires an intimate knowledge of the product being represented and the ability to encapsulate all aspects of that product to market it to wider audiences. The products of branding are seen by many and broadcasted externally, but they are felt most intensely by those familiar to the product.

In William Jewell College’s Brand mission, Jewell is that product. This is the third installment in a series highlighting the Brand mission and will focus on the perspectives of current Jewell students.

Dalton Nelson, junior mathematics, Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry and dual-degree biomedical engineering major, thinks that the Brand mission is a constructive means for Jewell to combat decreasing incoming class sizes.

“I think that, as a whole, the Branding mission is good,” said Nelson. “I think that for a while William Jewell has been sort of going downhill, you can see that with admissions getting smaller and smaller every year and something had to be done. So, where do you start? You start with the identity of the campus, you start by getting recognized for something new. If you keep trying to do that same old thing and get a worse result every time, then clearly, it’s not working. I think the Brand mission is rejuvenating, and at first we’re drowning in it because it takes a lot to make a new identity but at the end of the day I think that’s what’s necessary to make an actual change to what Jewell is.”

William Hyde, senior business and political science major, agrees that the Brand mission is generally good but disagrees with some of the methodology used for its implementation.

“I think the whole process of identifying the brand mission statement was good, was admirable,” said Hyde. “I think that the brand mission statement that came out of it is good, I like it, I resonate with it. But, I think the implementation of it from then on was something they very easily could have included the Jewell community in but, from my reading of past articles and my understanding of the whole process, they did not. I do know from firsthand accounts that they did not include any of the business department in general, whether that be faculty or students. That just seems like a really big disconnect to me, it feels like that would’ve been the natural next step. Like, you’re living in community, why not include the Jewell community in this next marketing and rebranding campaign? We have marketing experts, we have brand and business experts. We have all of those people on campus.”

Nelson disagrees with Hyde’s concerns about inclusivity.

“I think that it’s enough to have had the input on finding what the brand mission statement should be, beyond that I don’t think you need to ask a student how to design a flyer or banner,” said Nelson.

Zak Carroll, junior Oxbridge Institutions and Policy major and former Student Senate president, was a member of the Brand Mission Steering Committee along with Freja Ingelstam and Ben Shinogle, graduated former Student Senate cabinet members. Carroll says that this platform allowed them to represent students throughout the decision-making process.

“I was quite impressed by the seriousness with which committee members took each other’s ideas, including those of the three student members,” said Carroll. “There were distinct moments when other committee members would ask us as students if we could share our experiences so that they could understand why students felt a certain way or how students view their time at Jewell. In addition, we were as much a part of the generative process for finding Jewell’s Brand Mission as any other member, including Administration members and Trustee members.”

Carroll emphasized that student representation was a large factor in the decisions made about the Brand mission, but admitted it is difficult for three people to represent an entire student body.

“Even if you intentionally try to represent the views of other students, it is hard to be constantly viewing a problem through the lens of somebody who is very different than yourself. I think the key to this was ensuring that the student representatives on the committee were not homogenous,” said Carroll.  

Despite students having different opinions on the process and implementation of the Brand mission, there has been limited pushback to the newly articulated central Jewell Philosophy: we are critical thinkers in community pursuing meaningful lives.

“I think it’s the meaning and the value behind our education,” said Nelson. “I mean, before they had these values, so you could say, ‘Oh, it’s good to have faith, or promote service,’ any of these different things. All of that is great, but, at the end of the day, what does it mean? Now that this is here, and after now being a part of our community for quite some time, it’s not so much about drowning in it, but more about implementing it. I think that it’s definitely impacting the students and I think that it should. I think students should be trying to reflect [on the Jewell philosophy] because I think that it’s only when we as students embrace it that it’ll actually become true and will have the positive influence that it should on the Jewell community.”

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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