Small private colleges in the United States are under existential threat in the face of continually rising costs and heightened competition to attract shrinking numbers of potential students.
Institutions such as Rochester College are faced with the challenge of broadening their appeal and increasing enrollment if they are to survive. For Rochester, this required navigating the tricky transition from small college to full-fledged university, and driving expanded awareness of the new Rochester University and its unique value proposition.
Research demonstrated that prospective students had few firm ideas of what Rochester College was. The new University would need to make a strong declarative statement of aspirations and principles that would align with those of its target audience. The theme “Rise Together. Stand Apart.” was selected to differentiate RU as the school of choice for those seeking an inclusive community dedicated to spiritual and academic success.
A comprehensive reworking and modernization of Rochester’s visual identity (including distinct branding initiatives for the university and the athletic department), a video series, special events, publications, outdoor and display advertising, social media outreach, and paid digital audio/video placement were employed to convey the new identity to the surrounding community and to prospective students nationwide.
The University has received a highly favorable response to the rebranding and outreach initiatives from the campus community, prospective students, and the community at large. The University’s success in clearly defining its new identity and conveying it to the wider world have resulted in more interest from prospective students, increased enrollment applications, and a renewed sense of excitement among alumni, RU’s most important donor base.