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Montreat College Launches Branding Initiative

March 26, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, please contact Annie Carlson
Director of Communications, Montreat College
828.669.8012 ext. 3778 or e-mail acarlson@montreat.edu

Montreat College Launches Branding Initiative

In April 2012, Montreat College kicked off a branding initiative with the launch of a new website: www.montreat.edu. Redesigning the college website is one project in an overarching strategy to re-brand Montreat College, an initiative that began in August 2011 and culminates this week with the launch of a new website.

With a 96-year history, Montreat College has quite a story to tell. The challenge has been to bring all the stories together into a cohesive brand story that authentically expresses the identity of Montreat College to those who have yet to experience it. By clearly defining the fundamental building blocks of the brand, the college can build awareness and understanding of all that a Montreat College education offers.

“We often hear from our students and alumni that Montreat College is ‘the best kept secret’ in North Carolina,” said Dr. Dan Struble, Montreat College president. “Rather than change our identity to match the fluctuating desires of the marketplace, we chose to stay true to who we are, but tell our story in a more compelling way.” He continued, “We believe this strategy will leverage our strengths and capture the attention of students who are drawn to a Christ-centered perspective.”

To gain objective insight on how to articulate its identity, the College partnered with Ologie, an independent consulting firm. Ologie talked with students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and board members across all of the college’s campuses, and developed a brand strategy that highlights the college’s most valuable assets through communicating the Montreat story clearly.

A number of common threads emerged through this process. The team found that Montreat College provides a Christ-centered foundation where faith and learning is intentionally integrated into every aspect of life. Through retreat, reflection, and meaningful relationships, Montreat students discern God’s calling in their lives, gaining a clearer sense of self, greater compassion for others, and perspective centered in Christ. Because of this well-rounded education, Montreat students are equipped to impact the world, ready to contribute to their professional fields, families, churches, and communities.

Because the website is a college’s most important marketing tool, Montreat decided to implement the new brand through its website first. The result is an easy-to-navigate website that illustrates the Montreat brand story through every webpage.

“With a college website, it is easy to fall into the trap of being ‘all things to all people,’ resulting in an end product that doesn’t effectively communicate with anyone,” explained Annie Carlson, Montreat College’s director of communications. A college website has numerous audiences, including prospective students, parents, current students, alumni, donors, employees, and community members.

The web team had to focus site content and tools for core audiences while still meeting the basic needs of others. “Through aligning our web strategy with the College’s strategic plan, we designed the site with prospective students and parents as our target audience. With over 1,000 web pages on the current site to consider, this helped us manage the complexity of the project,” said Carlson.

By providing key content on academic majors, tuition, and admissions requirements upfront, prospective students and parents can find what they need without digging for it. Though the final product is visually engaging, the web team put substance over style in the design process, ensuring content and tools are easy-to-find, up-to-date, and helpful.

Now more than ever, people view the web on mobile and tablet devices. Keeping this in mind, the new site encourages scrolling and skimming for a user’s quick review. The homepage features a Campus Locations map, highlighting the diverse locations Montreat College offers. Important resources such as the Campus Calendar and Academic Catalog are now easily accessible. The homepage includes “Social Stories,” an area devoted to social media that encourages site visitors to join the conversation about Montreat on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

The website launch is the first of many projects representing the new brand. Montreat College has a bold mission to “equip agents of transformation, renewal, and reconciliation.” By sharing the authentic brand story effectively through all of its communication channels, the College can better achieve its mission, impacting future students with the life-changing experience of a Montreat College education.

Montreat College is a Christ-centered liberal arts institution with its main campus for four-year traditional students in Montreat. The accelerated School of Professional and Adult Studies program has campuses in Asheville, Charlotte, and Black Mountain, with satellite campuses in Morganton, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount.

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