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Communication Strategies for Pushing the Boundaries of Collaboration

Communication Strategies for Pushing the Boundaries of Collaboration



Presentation to the 2011 Association for Consortium Leadership, October 13, 2011, Claremont, CA

Presentation to the 2011 Association for Consortium Leadership, October 13, 2011, Claremont, CA



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  • I have some short obligatory remarks to describe the Claremont Colleges and give you some context on my perspective. We are a set of 7 selective institutions, 5 elite undergraduate liberal arts institutions and two graduate institutions. Our flagship college is Pomona College, established in 1887, and ranked in the top 10 of liberal arts colleges by US News & World Report. In 1925, CGU was founded to provide graduate level education, and is the oldest all graduate level institution of higher learning in the US. The Consortium was founded at the same time as a facility of CGU, and has undergone a few name changes over the years. Scripps College was founded in 1926 and ranks as one of the top women’s colleges in the nation. Claremont McKenna was established in 1946 as Claremont Men’s Colleges to provide education for the many returning GI Bill veterans of WWII. Harvey Mudd college was founded in 1955 to provide residental liberal arts education primarily in the fields of science and engineering, and was follwed by the founding of Pitzer College in 1963 with an emphasis on the social sciences. Finally in 1997, the Keck Graudate Institution was established and focuses its curriculum on applied life sciences and biosciences.The 5 colleges all rank in the top 42 of the US News rankings for liberal arts colleges, and collectively, CMC, HMC, and Pitzer are the only post war institutions to rank that highly.
  • What are the Colleges though?The vision by the founder, James A. Blaisdell, was based on the University of Oxford model of independent institutions that share a geographic location and a set of common services. One of those major services envisioned at the time was the Library, an obvious example of a shared service that had the potential to provide greater efficiencies and on a greater scale of services and collections than could be developed individually.
  • This Key Result Area (KRA) is focused on national reputation and branding, especially the brand of The Claremont Colleges (TCC). In this sense, ‘brand’ is the reputation and image of TCC as a whole and centers on the promotion of our collaborative model that offers high quality, efficient services that exceed in value or quality what any one institution could offer on its own. This distinct model of collaboration in higher education is important to promote proactively and positively to local, regional, national, and international entities as a unique feature of TCC. While there has not been significant and strategic branding activity in this area to date, the time is now appropriate for a number of reasons:A general trend among the Colleges towards collaboration, reliance on CUC services, or centralization of services at CUC. Member institutions have charged CUC with branding and reputation building for TCC.A general sense that the TCC model adds value to institutional efforts to promote both common and individual institutional interests. Increased opportunities to develop potential partners for collaboration as TCC, especially among Asian countries interested in liberal arts colleges and the Claremont model. The most important aspect to this KRA is to emphasize the unique advantages of the TCC in the academic and student services spheres. To build the Colleges reputation and promote The Claremont Colleges as a collective and important entity, CUC will focus on promoting the various aspects of academic collaboration and unique advantages that students and faculty at TCC can exploit. These include the mutual benefit of course cross-registration to students, integrated systems and services that cross campus boundaries, increased opportunities for academic collaborations between faculty from multiple TCC institutions, increased social and cultural opportunities for both faculty and students, a greater ability to offer interdisciplinary research opportunities, and a variety of other mutual-benefit opportunities. Strategic awareness occurs when not only does the person recognize your brand, but they also understand the distinctive qualities that make it better than the competition. Strategic awareness occurs when you have differentiated your brand in the mind of your market. This distinction as to why your brand is unique in your category is also referred to as your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. Your USP tells your target market what you do and stand for that is different from all of your competitors.The Claremont Colleges brand is useful in attracting and retaining students in the liberal arts college environment and gives us a distinct advantage over other non-consortium environments.

Communication Strategies for Pushing the Boundaries of Collaboration Communication Strategies for Pushing the Boundaries of Collaboration Presentation Transcript

  • Communication Strategies for Pushing the Boundaries of Collaboration
    John McDonald
    Chief Information Officer
    Claremont University Consortium
  • A bit about us…
  • Blaisdell’s Vision
    “My own very deep hope is that instead of one great, undifferentiated university, we might have a group of institutions divided into small colleges - somewhat on the Oxford type - around a library and other utilities which they would use in common. In this way I should hope to preserve the inestimable personal values of the small college while securing the facilities of a great university.” - James A. Blaisdell, 1923
  • CUC Strategic Planning
    Development of Key Result Areas
    National Reputation & Brand
    The Claremont Colleges
    Claremont University Consortium
  • The Five KRAs
    Building the Market Competiveness of Services
    Building the Financial Value of Services
    Neutral Center for Entrepreneurship and Experimentation
    National Reputation and Branding
    Our People and Our Culture
  • Bonnie Clemens
    John Beckman
    Shahram Ariane
    Fr. Joe Fenton
    Alissa Vagelatos
  • Additional Team Members
    Barbara Jefferson
    Joel Cinnamon
    Naddia Palacios
  • National Reputation and Branding
    Major Achievements to Date
    Assessment of current positioning and branding of TCC and CUC
    Inventory of potential tactics for optimizing positioning and brand
    Coming Up
    Optimize the TCC brand along three major dimensions:
    1. Building internal clarity and unity about the brand
    2. Communicating brand to key audiences
    3. Enhancing the embodiment of the brand
  • Why?
  • What good does it do?
  • Define the value proposition
    What is the “value proposition” of the consortium?
    Universal understanding of the attributes of the brand
    How these attributes are expressed and symbolized
    Balance collective marketing with individual marketing:
    When is it valuable to each to be known as, or associated with, The Claremont Colleges?
    When does TCC affiliation complement their individual brand?
    When and how can CUC promote TCC in partnership with each College or service?
  • Build a “Brand Toolkit”
    Resources to support the promotion and marketing of TCC:
    Tools that members can use to provide key information that is concise and systematic.
    Clearinghouse that includes: media clips, print graphic elements, common press copy, aggregate statistics, etc.
  • Lead collaborative initiatives
    Improve our ability to enhance & improve the TCC model.
    Promote our ‘local consultant’ and specialized role in unique collaborations.
    Promote our members and their expertise
  • Raise the awareness of CUC
    Leverage participation in local, regional, national, and international events.
    Host conferences & meetings
    Encourage staff participate in associations, especially in leadership roles
    Incentivize writing, presenting, and other professional development activities
  • Embody the CUC brand
    Define our brand as a TCC service provider by leveraging the information and results of strategic planning on other KRAs.
    CUC as a high quality, customer intimate, service provider (KRA 1).
    CUC as an efficient, high value service provider (KRA 2).
    CUC as a partner for innovation and collaboration (KRA 3).
  • Strategies
    Register trademarks, wordmarks, etc.
    Establish CUC Design Center
    Build & enhance ‘Style’ Guide
    Templates& guidelines
    Standardize unit names, uniforms, etc.
    Additional self-service branding options
    Opportunistic partnering with members
  • Collaboration
  • Evolution of a logo