College Launches New Brand
Herkimer, NY—Herkimer County Community College unveiled results of a brand development initiative publicly today. Today’s announcement identified a core brand message and brand strategy that builds on the foundation of the College’s strategic plan.
College President Ann Marie Murray and Timothy Trainor, founder and CEO of Trainor Associates and Trainor Digital, presented to the campus community an overview of the brand development process and the reasons for the initiative. “Competition has never been more fierce,” said Dr. Murray, “and everything we are doing is to stabilize enrollment and sustain the College in the future. This is a proactive approach to ensuring the long term health and viability of this institution.” Dr. Murray cited increased competition from other colleges, particularly as it relates to on-campus housing; a decline in the number of high school graduates statewide; and deliberate steps the College has taken to raise academic standards.
The initiative began in January 2012 with an RFP process to select an agency to work with the College. Trainor has led the College through a comprehensive process that began with a lengthy discovery session with representatives of all areas of the institution, followed by many discussions, meetings, focus groups, workshops and presentations. “The resulting new Herkimer College brand is strong and clear, and it exemplifies the rich academic and athletic history of this institution. Our mission is to provide a premier two-year college experience, and we now have a way to communicate that to the world,” said Murray.
The brand initiative was identified as an action item in the College’s strategic plan and supports community relations, marketing and recruitment goals. “The brand development work is an extension of our strategic plan, and it takes who we are and what we do, and what we value, and makes it tangible. It is so important to recruitment and retention of students and employees, as well as fundraising and sustaining the college going forward,” said Murray.
The brand strategy presented includes new brand marks for Herkimer College and the Herkimer Generals, as well as for College auxiliaries including the Herkimer County College Foundation and Faculty Student Association. Additionally, new websites for the college (www.herkimer.edu) and athletics (www.herkimergenerals.com) were launched today.
The new college logo includes the words “The State University of New York” and features the traditional college seal. “Our name remains Herkimer County Community College, but we now have a new powerful image that respects our history, acknowledges our sponsor, ties us to the State University of New York and brings us to the world and the world to us,” said Murray. The new athletic logo includes the words Herkimer Generals and features a serious looking General Herkimer icon. Several auxiliary logos have been designed in collaboration with the new college logo, including the Herkimer County College Foundation, Internet Academy, Residence Life and Faculty Student Association. The former brand marks have been in use for approximately 10 years.
The new websites were developed with optimal user navigation as a priority with the goal of two clicks or less to get to any information. They also were built in responsive design for an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices, from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors. The academic and athletic websites run on an open source content management system, Silverstripe, which will allow college staff to update and manage content in an efficient manner.
“Our website is our most important marketing and communications tool. Over the years, our sites have become stale and information was difficult to find. We needed a new platform for the future. The new sites are easy to use on mobile phones and tablets, and have been developed and content written in a way that will help us be more easily and immediately found in online searches,” said Rebecca Ruffing, director of Public Relations. “We were looking to provide a better user experience and we have that and much, much more now,” she added.
The College partnered with the Herkimer County College Foundation, Faculty Student Association and Housing Corporation to fund the brand development initiative over a three year period. The next phases of the project include development of a mobile application, virtual tour and new recruitment video. “This is a significant investment in the future of Herkimer County Community College and the community we serve. We are bringing Herkimer to the world, so the world can come to Herkimer,” said Murray.