Whisper Brand Strategy
Steve Cranford, chief executive officer of Whisper Brand Strategy Consultants, spoke with employees of Cowley College about the brand strategy his company designed for the college during the school’s inservice held Aug. 14 in the Robert Brown Theatre. Cranford’s company came up with a new visual identity for the college, which is a tiger-eye, and a new tag line called “Find the Noise”. Cranford spoke about what the brand strategy is intended to do. “A brand is your promise and how you keep that promise means everything,” Cranford said. “It’s as simple as that and it’s as difficult as that.
The process of brand strategy is finding the compelling story that you can share with the market place that demonstrates your unique difference.” Cranford found the story of the college being formerly referred to as Basement University to be unique as the college began in the basement of the old Arkansas City High School, and has grown to a school with more than 4,500 students. “That is a story that no other institution that we compete against tells, which gives us an advantage in the marketplace,” Cranford said.
Cranford felt a special bond to the project as he graduated from Cowley College in 1972, and his brother, Scott played football at Cowley. His parents, Leon and Dixie live just south of Arkansas City, and his sister, Debbie, still resides in Arkansas City. “It has been a deep pleasure to be involved in this personally at Cowley College,” Cranford said. “I am proud to be a small part of this institution.” Cranford worked along with the Cowley College marketing committee, and interviewed individuals inside and outside of the college to define the story of the institution and let the market know what they don’t already know about the college.
Sheree Utash, Cowley College Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs, was pleased with the work done by Mr. Cranford and his company. “One of the fist things that Steve Cranford, owner of Whisper said to us was “a brand is your promise”, and he and his company held true to this throughout the entire process of our work with them,” Utash said. “This last year as we have worked and developed this project Steve has moved us to think differently about our brand and our marketing strategies. He has challenged us to respect and honor our history while embracing a contemporary and unconventional visual imagery and branding campaign that I believe will pay big dividends for the college over the years.”
The college recently rolled out a marketing campaign featuring the new visual identity and tag line in television commercials, theatre advertising, billboards, newspaper advertising, brochures, and postcards. The branding campaign was done to help the college increase enrollment, endowment growth and academic reputation. “For the marketing team, Steve and the members of Whisper taught us to “own our conversation” about our college’s branding campaign, and that strategy is not about doing it better or doing it more; rather is about doing it different,” Utash said.