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Marketing ideas pitched

Liz Harter | Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Saint Mary’s Vice President of College Relations Sharon Rodriguez visited the Board of Governance (BOG) to discuss the progress of the Saint Mary’s identity initiative at their meeting on Monday night.

The identity initiative is an ongoing process that strives to better understand what image Saint Mary’s needs to present in the college marketplace to gain the attention of prospective students and parents.

The initiative began researching last spring by sending surveys to current students, faculty, staff and alumnae to gather information on what these groups found most important to convey to prospective students.

“As students, as faculty and staff and as alumnae, we are saying things that we find important that are different than what prospective students and parents [think are important when choosing a college],” Rodriguez said.

“Prospective students want to hear about the faculty … and the majors [at the college’s they are looking at].”

Three brand creatives – the visual and verbal ways a brand is presented to the public – were presented to the board. Rodriguez asked for input on how each of the creatives display the information that prospective students want.

The first brand creative presented was the breakthrough creative.

“By using the theme breakthrough we’re trying to show how the Saint Mary’s experience allows students to achieve critical thought, intellectual thought, social justice and spiritual breakthroughs,” Rodriguez said.

The second brand creative presented the Saint Mary’s experience as a conversation. “Collaboration is key [in this creative],” Rodriguez said. “Everything we show here would be two or more people.”

Finally, Rodriguez presented a “She’s Saint Mary’s” themed brand creative.

“What we want to show here is the individual,” she said. “[We want to show] the well-rounded individual and bring out the character of the individual Saint Mary’s woman.”

Some headlines that could be included in the “She’s Saint Mary’s” theme would be “She’s committed to social justice, she’s Saint Mary’s” and “She’s well-rounded, she’s Saint Mary’s.”

After the presentation, Rodriguez asked BOG members for feedback. Many members felt that prospective students would better receive the conversation and the “She’s Saint Mary’s” brands.

“I like [the She’s Saint Mary’s theme] because in my experience … parents and students want to know what is going to happen to them as an individual [when they go to college],” admissions commissioner Annie Davis said.

Some members felt the “She’s Saint Mary’s” theme would not resonate well with prospective parents even if it would be the best received by students.

“I think that the breakthrough [theme] would be more appealing to parents. It is a kind of a more holistic view of where their daughter could go [in college and after graduation],” Student Diversity Board president Angeline Johnson said.

After receiving the board’s feedback, Rodriguez invited the members to email her if they had any other ideas on the brand creatives.

In other BOG news:

uAll school formal tickets can be purchased through Thursday in the lobby of LeMans Hall from 7-10 p.m. There are only 800 tickets available and 408 have already been sold, residence hall association president Amy Dardinger said.