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Brand Promise Christine M. LaPaille Vice President for University Relations August 18, 2011
Mission Statement • George Mason University is innovative and entrepreneurial in spirit and utilizes its multi-campus organization and location near our nation’s capital to attract outstanding faculty, staff and students. George Mason will: • Educate the new generation of leaders for the 21st century—men and women capable of shaping a global community with vision, justice, and clarity.
Mission Statement (cont.) • Encourage freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in a tolerant, respectful academic setting that values diversity. • Provide innovative and interdisciplinary undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses of study that enable students to exercise analytical and imaginative thinking and make well-founded ethical decisions.
Mission Statement (cont.) • Nurture and support a highly qualified and entrepreneurial faculty that is excellent at teaching, active in pure and applied research, capable of providing a broad range of intellectual and cultural insights, and is responsive to the needs of students and their communities. • Maintain an international reputation for superior education and public service that affirms its role as the intellectual and cultural nexus among Northern Virginia, the nation, and the world.
Process to Date • 2009 • Launched internal brand/image survey research project • Presented results at August planning conference; led exercise to identify Mason’s brand attributes.2010 • Combined internal survey findings with external research results from Development campaign research.
Process to Date • 2010-2011 • Drafted brand architecture • Launched new tagline: ads, pubs, media, etc. • Engaged consultant Duane Knapp to present at August planning conference. • Conducted informal focus groups with campus leadership as follow-up to planning conference.
I see Mason as the institution of opportunity . . .very often the person who made them or who is selected to pursue them is not the person that you would necessarily think. We try to make a large institution feel very personal and give a student more of a small school experience. I think we do that better than a lot of large universities. Even though we are so big, we can personalize your stay here. Statements from Brand Focus Groups
Statements from Brand Focus Groups • When we have a set of two or three things that we want to deliver on, regardless of who the stakeholder is or the recipient is, you’ll start to manage yourselves and your staffs in a way that you think, “I’ve got to fix this because this is not delivering the Mason promise. “ • As we develop programs, I am pushing people to talk to the real world on what they need, and not just what you think the student needs. We develop the skill sets which the employer needs, and that takes a lot of effort.
Statements from Brand Focus Groups • . . . freedom to pursue things without too much bureaucratic barriers, is another one which people really like, and we do that. • You know what I love about working here is that you grow here not only professionally, but as an individual here because you are encouraged to try something differently. I can think about my work differently. • We have our heads in the clouds, but our feet on the ground.
Statements from Brand Focus Groups • I see all of us really trying to increase the quality and the excellence in our programs. Every single decision that every single one of us makes, I think, has that end goal in mind. And, you know, if you want that, and we talk to our students about that, come to Mason. • These are programs that are built on aspirations of excellence and we are doing everything possible to move us as quickly as possible at this. • One of my board members says we are running, we are not walking to those goals.
Statements from Brand Focus Groups • We deliver our brand of excellence on the education side; but we haven’t caught up to it on the operations side. There is grit in the wheels. • We haven’t made that leap yet where people who can afford to go anywhere are thinking of Mason as one of the options. And I think that we will really turn the corner when people start naming Brown, NY, and Mason as their top three choices. • What I tell employers is that if he’s got a Mason graduate, you have something special. • .
Statements from Brand Focus Groups • So what I want to see is companies that move here because of the expertise at Mason, not move here because we are going to help them have their workforce. • We have a whole different alignment of infrastructure that will allow the best in the world to do their work. • We say to students, OK, when you come to Mason this is what you will engage in. And our goal is for you to be very confident about what happens after you graduate. And so it’s really redefining what constitutes excellence in education
Three fundamental questions: What is the Mason BRAND experience? What distinguishes Mason from other universities? How does Mason become highly valued?
What is the Mason BRAND Experience? Mason’s culture of innovation pervades the campus and inspires students, faculty and staff to be the best they can be every day.
What distinguishes Mason from other universities? Mason’s students are prepared for real world success, with practical experience and the capacity to capitalize on the perspective they gain from our diverse campus and our location in the DC metro region.
How does Mason become highly valued? Students, faculty and staff work together to achieve excellence in ways that are beyond imagination. This inspiring culture challenges us to deliver an exceptional experience every day.
Key Ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . innovativethoughtleadership. . . . . . . .exceptionaleducationalexperiences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .inspired . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .unique perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . success.
Promise Context Innovative: We are the university that owns “Innovation” as a brand attribute. Thought Leadership: We want to educate the next thought leaders; we want our faculty to be thought leaders; we want respect from the thought leaders in the region, we want donors to support a thought leader institution.
Promise Context Exceptional Educational Experiences: Whether attending a class, a performance, a game or just visiting campus, we want to deliver an exceptional Mason experience to the stakeholder at every level. Inspired: We want people to be inspired to think differently. We want to hold ourselves accountable for inspiring others. We want to be a spirit-filled institution.
Promise Context Perspective: Our diverse campus body, our global and international activities, provide our students the opportunity to develop fresh perspectives. Mason can transform lives by giving students a new perspective on what they can achieve. Our hard working students provide employers with a positive perspective on hiring our graduates.
Promise Context Success: This is another solid Mason brand attribute with unique meaning on our campus. We are known for graduating successful students. We have become a very successful award-winning institution in a relatively short timeframe. We have achieved great success in building a beautiful campus. We have won awards for achieving successful work/life balance.
Every person on Mason’s campus should experience at least one part of our promise every day.
Mason’s Brand Promise We are dedicated to innovativethoughtleadership and exceptional educational experiences. Our students, faculty and staff are inspired to work together to develop unique perspectives that will enhance their success.
Next Steps • Feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org • Tool Kit • “Operationalize” the Brand Promise throughout the organization.