College delays next phase of rebranding initiative

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff • September 3, 2015

A survey to collect data for the next phase of Emerson’s rebranding initiative, originally expected to launch on Sept. 2, has been delayed until later in the semester. According to Andrew Tiedemann, vice president for communications and marketing and the head of the rebranding project, the survey will be released to undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty and alumni.

The initiative is part of the college’s first comprehensive market research since 2004.

Tiedemann said that the committee decided that releasing a survey on the first day of classes would likely yield a lower response rate.

The first phase of the project was completed spring 2015. SimpsonScarborough, one of the consulting firms Emerson has hired for the rebranding initiative, facilitated focus groups and conducted interviews to collect qualitative data. They asked questions about Emerson community members’ perceptions of the college, including strengths and weaknesses.

Focus group data revealed Emerson students to be offbeat and career driven, and cited the hands-on learning environment as what sets Emerson apart from other schools. The limited amount of financial aid available, however, was viewed as a weakness.

The rebranding committee is writing the upcoming school-wide survey from the information gathered at the qualitative stage, according to Tiedemann.

After the survey is released, the next phase of the rebranding involves the project’s advisory team, made up of approximately 40 members of staff, students, and alumni.

At a meeting on Aug. 26, members of the advisory board broke into groups to begin creating potential narratives or portrayals of the college’s reputation. The narratives will be used in a section of the survey to see which are most accurate according to survey takers. The data will then be used to create a new website and logo for the college.

“I’m really appreciative of this advisory committee coming together and contributing to this process,” Tiedemann said. “I think they really represent the entire community and I look forward to pulling them together after the survey.”