Jun 7 '16
“Do Great Work” – it’s a tagline that sounds like it could be found amongst a sportswear campaign or big charity brand but, in fact, it is the signature line for Gettysburg College in the US. Claiming that it was born from ‘our own words’, the college state that it represents both their reality and their aspiration. It has been the college’s brand signature for the past twelve years and shows no sign of shifting. A feat, they argue, signals the solidity and strength of their college brand in a recent Inside Higher Ed article.
Many think the US desire to tagline their universities is a little corny, see this poem written entirely with university slogans, but more and more UK establishments are beginning to take inspiration from across the pond. The University of Leicester claims to be “Elite, without being elitist.” The Open University argues that we should “Learn and Live.” Staffordshire University says we should “Create the Difference”, meanwhile Nottingham Trent University has joined the tagline party with a rather overenthusiastic paragraph of “Together we can go beyond. A place of possibility. Developing great minds. For student satisfaction. Ambitious and innovative. A world top 100. An engaged university. A research beacon. Be inspired. Change the world. It’s meant to be.”
Catchy slogans do work. “Just do it.”, “I’m lovin’ it”, “Think different”. They’re all taglines that would make for an easy round in a pub quiz. Gettysburg College proves that education establishments can have a tagline that sticks and when it does, it’s hooked you in.
Although their catchy slogan may catch the eye, there’s a lot more to Gettysburg’s brand than just a tagline. One of the cornerstones of their brand strategy is to own their history. Through brand development they have brought to light the traditions of the university that have spanned generations and introduced a new one. Every new student at Gettysburg College walks alongside faculty, staff and other students from the campus to the national cemetery where an invited guest reads the words of the Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It’s a great tradition and, should you want to see what that looks like, Gettysburg College have uploaded the tradition to their YouTube channel.
Here you’ll also find all of their Commencement Highlights, interviews with students, Snapchat stories and a wealth of well-produced, quite extraordinary marketing videos.
YouTube is key. The Gettysburg College channel is fantastic and it gives not only a pristine, polished view of what they offer, it also shows an insider’s student view too. Video content is great for sharing elsewhere and offers a better insight to university life than any words or photos can.
As you’d expect with a good college brand, all of Gettysburg College social media platforms are a hive of activity. In fact, their social media networking is such a big part of their branding they have a devoted page of links and policies on their official website. With nearly 8,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram, 18,000 fans on Facebook, alongside a professional network on Linkedin and a Flickr page, they have constant communication with current, prospective and alumni students. They post a range of informative and interactive posts, all with well-produced visuals to compliment. Likes, shares and comments are in the hundreds every time, they’ve got their communication spot on.
There’s no avoiding social media. If you were on the hunt for a restaurant, bar or business, your first (or second after Tripadvisor) stop would be their social media page. Universities and colleges are no different. Prospective students are looking at them and using them for research so they need to look good!
More UK universities are starting to take inspiration from US college branding and finding new ways to market themselves, and we don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. Follow some of the work of Gettysbury College and, you too, can “Do Great Work.”