Building a Brand

Be An OriginalIn 2010, Randolph College launched a new rebranding campaign that did more than reach prospective students. The vibrant yellow background, candid, student-shot photographs, and declaration to “Be an Original,” quickly resonated with both the on-campus community and alumnae.

“When you pick up a brochure and it says ‘You are not a clone’ and ‘You are not the boss of me,’ and it has buttons hanging all over it, it makes a statement. Randolph was bold enough to do that,” said Lisa Jordan, owner of the Atlanta-based Mindpower branding agency.

When it went coed and changed its name in 2007, Randolph College faced a difficult marketing challenge. Even though R-MWC was well-known for its excellent academics as a woman’s college, Randolph was an unknown and needed to rebuild its reputation. As the transition to coeducation progressed, the institution needed a campaign that would express its identity to the world. “We were a College that had a strong sense of history, traditions, and value but had not yet found a voice with which to articulate that,” said Mike Quinn, vice president for enrollment management.

So Randolph asked Mindpower to develop a new brand that accurately reflected the College and its community. Jordan and her team interviewed alumnae, students, faculty, and staff to get a picture of the spirit of Randolph. In almost every interview, a common theme started to emerge.

“It seemed that from its inception, the College created space for the individual,” Jordan said. “That hasn’t changed. There are all of these authentic, original people who have always been at Randolph. The word ‘original’ just seemed to work.”

“It seemed that from its inception, the
College created space for the individual.
That hasn’t changed. There are all these
authentic, original people who have
always been at Randolph. The word
‘original’ just seemed to work.” – Lisa Jordan, owner Mindpower branding agency

Mindpower developed a series of brochures, a web design, and on-campus banners that focused on that theme and used the College’s history as a woman’s college as a testament to original thinking. That move was crucial to the campaign’s success and acceptance by constituents, Quinn said. “It showed that we had maintained our heart, our guiding principles, and our mission, despite the fact that we had become a coed institution,” he said.

Even though colleges typically refresh their marketing campaigns every several years, Quinn foresees some aspects of this brand remaining constant. “It is not just a tagline that you put on a brochure,” he said. “Regardless of where our outward facing promotions take us, ‘Be an Original’ will always be a part of our institutional and community identity.”