Brand positioning: Bring Your Aspirations
A campaign rooted in research
The basis for NAU’s “Bring Your Aspirations” campaign is research with all our key stakeholders—current and prospective students, parents, and alumni, as well as faculty, staff, administration, and the Arizona Board of Regents.
Perceptions of the Northern Arizona University brand
The Lipman Hearne 2018 Brand Assessment Study shows that NAU gets high marks for providing a personal, student-focused approach to learning, and we are perceived favorably in particular for outdoor experiences, community engagement, and providing opportunities that build students’ ability to succeed professionally.
Among the various attributes probed in the research with statewide students, Flagstaff undergraduates, and graduates, we rate at 4.1 to 4.3 (out of a five-point scale) on the following attributes: “faculty are researchers/scholars,” “faculty is committed to teaching,” and “research plays a vital role in students’ intellectual development.” This tells us that the concepts of teaching, research, discovery, and student-centricity are considered authentic strengths across all of our student populations.
Alumni perceptions provide further support for the brand campaign
These results are bolstered by a 2018 Strada-Gallup Survey for NAU’s Office of Alumni Engagement that shows that NAU students are much more likely to cite the inspirational influence of a faculty mentor as key to their personal growth than alumni of other universities. 30 percent of NAU grads strongly agree that NAU prepared them for life after college, versus only 23 percent of grads from peer institutions strongly agreeing to the same statement.
In addition, the researchers noted that, “compared with its peer institutions, NAU provides support to a greater number of its students.” The study cites 19 percent of NAU grads strongly agreeing that they were supported during their time as students, versus 11 percent for peer institutions, and only 9 percent for universities overall. In addition, 38 percent of NAU grads would say that their professors “cared about me as a person,” versus only 18 percent for both peer universities and universities in general.
Tying it all together
The NAU brand positioning—underpinned by the “Bring Your Aspirations” campaign—reflects a culture of caring, mentorship, student-centricity, research, scholarship, and engagement. It leverages our historic strengths in sustainability, our natural surroundings, and our focus on innovation to drive the theme of “discovery”—of both the students themselves and the world around them. It ties to the reality of the NAU experience as articulated by our alumni, lived by our students, and delivered by our faculty.
Learn more about the Bring Your Aspirations campaign.