Positioning

Introduction

Positioning is the verbal component of the CSUEB brand and the foundation of our integrated marketing and communications work. It expresses in words what’s distinctive about how we do what we do — providing a common concept and language set to express our brand. University positioning communicates and translates our mission to the marketplace. Used across all institutional communications, it articulates and conveys:

  • Our unique culture, offering, values, and personality
  • The nature of our student body and experience
  • Our “promise” to our constituents

Background

Through a process of market and institutional research, correlated with findings from interviews, focus groups, and small group discussions, California State University, East Bay gained insight into the messages that have the greatest potential to reach its diverse audiences in the most compelling and meaningful ways. The positioning platform that follows was crafted through the combined efforts of the University's Integrated Marketing Communications and Student Research Committees. The platform was recommended by the Integrated Marketing Committee and formally adopted by the University’s Strategic Enrollment Management Steering Committee in June 2003. It has since been extended and deployed by the Office of University Communications in partnership with the Division of Planning and Enrollment Management and other CSUEB units across key University institutional marketing, enrollment development, alumni communications, media relations, and internal communications channels.

Requirements

Strategic use of a consistent, long-term positioning platform is the foundation for University progress toward achieving key objectives including an enhanced reputation, a more strategically managed enrollment, and greater alumni support and affiliation. By establishing meaningful and memorable distinctions between California State University, East Bay and its competitors and promoting real value in association, the University embraces its strongest opportunity for future growth. The efficacy, strength, and cost-efficiency of the University’s verbal positioning platform as extended and applied to overall CSUEB branding has been proven effective as CSUEB continues to experience growing applications and enrollment, coupled with increased regional recognition and affinity among alumni, friends, and other supporters. As such, the University expects its communicators to adhere to its adopted position — and to use and apply it consistently and strategically to all University communications.

CSUEB Positioning Platform

Evoke qualities

The most effective brands are communicated through one word or phrase. California State University, East Bay’s brand identification can be articulated through three “evoke” qualities:

Personal. Professional. Achievable.

These evoke words are intended to bring to mind the core attributes of the CSUEB experience. In some ways, they serve as a pneumonic device to remind University communicators of the primary messages that should be clearly integrated into all CSUEB communications.

Positioning statement

California State University, East Bay supports the quest of students of all backgrounds to discover and develop their personal potential and career paths.

This positioning statement provides a memorable, meaningful, and appropriate description of the CSUEB experience. Key words and phrases from the positioning statement are broken down in the following paragraphs to demonstrate how the University makes the statement real for its students. Additional “proof points” should be added to each component of the positioning statements to enable communicators to best translate the positioning to specific University offerings and audience members or segments.

Positioning Concept

CSUEB is a student-centered institution. While faculty scholarship is prized, teaching and student interaction comprise our primary mission. Beginning with prospective students' first experience on campus and continuing through their relationship with the University as alumni, CSUEB programs and services are designed to meet student needs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Moreover, affordable tuition and convenient East Bay locations mean CSUEB is accessible to all students.

Positioning Statement breakdown

The quest of students:

While at CSUEB, students are actively engaged in exploring and shaping their goals.

Of all backgrounds:

CSUEB is a highly diverse community made up of students of many different ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds, as well as those who are fresh from high school, transfer students, and adult learners, and graduate students.

Discover and develop:

Higher education is a process of discovery and development. For CSUEB students, curricula and offerings such as the University’s Learning Community Clusters and Freshman Year Experience programs provide distinctive contexts for that process. Students learn new ideas and ways of thinking, as well as the many possibilities that await them as educated professionals. They develop their worldviews as they gain new skills and applications.

Personal potential and career path:

CSUEB students' motivation to enroll in post-secondary education is closely tied to career preparation. The University strives to provide each student with the tools and perspectives needed to identify and achieve their personal goals. Students' CSUEB degree provides a strong foundation for their first job out of school and whatever follows as part of their long-term career path.

Creative execution, aka tagline

Where all your possibilities come into view.

The final component of the positioning platform is the tagline or creative execution. This creative execution is applied to marketing materials such as advertisements and enrollment publications to represent a particular creative campaign. The CSUEB tagline builds on the positioning statement by reminding prospective students -- the University’s largest external audience -- that their college years are time to explore possibilities and to find their “personal potential and career paths.” The tagline further plays on the distinctive hilltop settings of the University’s two East Bay Campuses to identify the place “where possibilities come into view.”

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