In 2021, Western Carolina University started market research to better understand
its perception in the higher education market, complete a competitive audit and identify
opportunities for growth, and define its institutional personality for a statewide
WCU partnered with Carnegie, a full-service agency, to help with the research project. More than 500 students, faculty, staff and alumni participated in a survey. That data was used to define the university’s brand personality with a Jungian archetype methodology. Carl Jung, noted Swiss psychologist, defined 12 archetypes, or models of behavior, that most clearly reflect the human experience. When specific archetypes are attributed to a brand, these archetypes make it easier to connect with those people that the university would communicate with. Each of the top three personality archetypes are all true and authentic to WCU and can be used in a variety of communications.
Drumroll please. WCU’s new brand campaign is “Live Western.” It was derived from the
university’s top three personality types, which are: Supportive Advocate, Experiential
Adventurer and Determined Enthusiast. Over the past year, the University Communications
and Marketing team took the research and findings, and began the process of building
a new brand campaign. “After the ‘Decide to Succeed’ campaign, we knew we needed to
build upon that to not only showcase
the unique and vibrant culture on campus, but to also elevate our incredible academics and world-class faculty,” said Travis Jordan, WCU’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.
“We have something special here. This campus community is incredibly strong and supportive in a way that provides meaningful connections deeper than at other college campuses. It’s one reason why we are so successful with first-generation students, who make up 37% of the student body. Once you become a Catamount, you’ve got a whole host of people who will make sure you have what you need to succeed, while on campus and even after you graduate. This is family that you choose.”
“Live Western provides the opportunity to showcase the personal experiences of our
students, faculty and staff,” Jordan said. “To Live Western means something different
to everyone, by honing in on the individual experiences, it allows us to tell a collective
story on why Western stands above the rest as a regional comprehensive university.”
The brand campaign anthem video has been shared on WCU’s social media and YouTube channels and speaks directly to prospective students. It follows the life and experiences of a student. A male voiceover says, “We live here and grow here ... this place we call home … Catamount Country. The mountains are calling ... for more reasons than you think. This is a place for exploration of all kinds, where ‘What can I do?’ and ‘Where do I belong?’ are both answered with ‘Yes.’ It takes courage to put yourself so far out there. Courage to be the first — or to be the latest in a long line of Catamounts. Here, you can build on that courage with the people in your corner; like the teammates who cheer for you, the classmates who challenge you, the professors who inspire you; when you try something new and think, ‘Wow, I’m really good at this’… and you realize that you were made to do this. At WCU, you can lead the way or lend a hand. Protect the region around you or preserve a language nearly lost. You can wander, create, inspire, connect and dare. The only thing you can’t do here is go it alone. However, you show up here, we'll show up for you. And then you can show us ... what it means to Live Western.”
The Live Western campaign will have a soft rollout on and near campus this fall. North Carolinians should start to see the campaign in their markets over the next year on billboards, TV, print, streaming services and social media.
Use #livewestern on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn. Your pictures and videos could be used in our campaign.
Video producers Alex Childress ’17, Priya Jaishanker and Samuel Wallace ’16 worked behind the scenes to capture WCU students exmplifying what it truly means to Live Western.