This fall, Goshen College is set to update its branding and communications strategy, a change that has been in the works since last year. Two of the main motivators behind the change were to increase awareness about GC and to change several misconceptions about the institution.
According to Jodi Beyeler, vice president of communications and people strategy, Goshen College is a place where “we can be proud and compassionate at the same time. We can be selfless and courageous, and we can be both artful and logical. This is a place where those come together.”
These ideas are brought together in Goshen College’s new brand, “Where Everything Connects,” which is about “recognizing that this [Goshen College] is a place where connections are made between the contrasts,” Beyeler said.
The process to refresh GC’s brand began last year under the leadership of Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, vice president for marketing and enrollment.
Research was done by SimpsonScarborough, a higher education marketing and branding agency. They gathered data from prospective students, alumni, faculty, staff, community members and students in order to hone in on a few overarching themes and ideas.
“A brand is really just what people think and say about you,” Beyeler said, “And our work is trying to inform that ... in how we project and communicate and talk about what kind of experience people have when they connect with Goshen College.”
The research found that, in some circles, Goshen College is seen as too expensive, too small or not academically rigorous enough. This new campaign hopes to combat these ideas by highlighting the financial aid, educational opportunities and academic rigor that can be a part of a student’s college experience at GC.
Beyeler said that the campaign also aims to build pride on campus by communicating to those looking in that “this is a place we are proud of.”
Goshen’s last true rebranding campaign was in 2009, when the campus adopted the slogan “Healing the World, Peace by Peace.” Eventually the phrase was phased out, but another official rebranding process never took place, until now.
As GC slowly rolls out the brand, fresh banners and promotional materials are popping up all around campus, announcing that GC is a place “where everything connects.”
“I wouldn’t call it a tagline,” Beyeler said, “But it is language you will hear frequently.”
A new website will also be unveiled sometime next week, Beyeler said, although it will take some time for the entire website to transition to the new format and style.
Users will notice “more white space, energy and a joyful feel,” Beyeler said. “Initially, the homepage is what will primarily change, along with the header and footer across the site. More changes will be rolled out throughout the site over time. The navigation is going to be pretty much the same.”
She emphasized that this new campaign is more of a routine update, rather than a full overhaul. Goshen College’s identity will stay, for the most part, the same.
“You’ll still see a lot of purple - purple remains part of our identity in a strong visual way,” Beyeler said.
Beyeler does not see this rebranding as anything too noteworthy and wouldn’t say that, by taking part in the process, GC is following any one trend in particular. She said that rebranding is simply something colleges and other institutions do every five years or so.
“We always have to be thinking about who we are and how we are perceived, and remaining fresh and current,” Beyeler said.
Coincidentally, Goshen College has also been working with a campus master planning consulting firm, CREDO, on rethinking the physical spaces and design on campus. While both the SimpsonScarborough and CREDO campaigns aim to revitalize Goshen College, they are unrelated.
Brian Yoder Schlabach, news and media manager for GC, said it’s been exciting to see the new visual impacts of the updated brand.
“Since our office works with our visual identity every day, it's exciting to have new tools and a new visual identity to work with,” he said. “Our main hope, though, is that the first impression people have of Goshen College is one that is authentic and exciting, and provides a real glimpse into the opportunities that a GC liberal arts education offers.”