Seton Hall University has again hired marketing firm Lipman Hearne to conduct a branding study in an effort to rebrand the school and its image.
The University hired Lipman Hearne just over a decade ago to revamp the school’s reputation after the tragic Boland Hall fires of 2000. According to Dan Kalmanson, associate vice president for public relations and marketing, the branding study began with a small study conducted in the summer and then took off after representatives of the firm spent a weekend here in early September to gather data.
“What they’re asking about is what makes Seton Hall special, how do we differentiate ourselves from other public universities and even how are we different from other leading Catholic universities,” Kalmanson said.
The study’s analysis will be both quantitative, focused on the numbers of attending and prospective students, and qualitative, focused on the actual voices of the faculty, staff, students, prospective students and their families.
The University hopes the study will be completed by the spring semester and afterwards they will look to hire another firm, not ruling out Lipman Hearne, to complete an actual rebranding process of the motto, possible logos and how the school markets itself based on the study’s findings. SHU sent more than a dozen proposals to different firms around the country.
Soon after the University cut the options in half to hear just six final pitches. The University’s Branding Committee, which is made up representatives from different departments, decided to go with the Chicago-based firm again. One of the many reasons for choosing Lipman Hearne was because they knew the University and had done good work before, according to Kalmanson.
“It is a significant investment but one the University thinks is well worth it because the goal of this branding is really to help the University best communicate its mission, its core values and really its distinctive strengths to a variety of audiences,” Kalmanson said. “The whole idea is to help with recruitment of students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, but it’s also to help raise and build the University’s visibility on a national level to help achieve its stra- tegic goals.”
Kalmanson declined to reveal the amount of the investment because the study is still ongoing. Kalmanson also said that this branding study will largely focus on a main theme: President A. Gabriel Esteban’s 10 year “Strength to Strength” Plan, an outline of which can be found on the school’s website. One major aim is for the school to be recognized as a top 10 Catholic University and a top 100 academic school.
“All of this branding is based on the university’s mission, we’re not changing who we are; and our core values, we’re not trying to change that,” Kalmanson said.
Eric Hostettler can be reached at email@example.com.