“Backed by months of research, the new brand provides an opportunity to tell the depth and breadth of our story as we enrich students’ lives and meet the workforce needs of Henderson and Transylvania Counties,” said Laura B. Leatherwood, Ed.D., president of Blue Ridge Community College. “For instance, a recent economic impact study commissioned by the College revealed that we added $187.6 million in income to our region and supported one out of every 19 jobs in our community last fiscal year.”
The College partnered with Formation PR + Brand to develop the new brand. Beginning in the summer of 2018, the Formation team conducted brand research, which included both primary and secondary research, as well as digital marketing analysis. Primary research consisted of brand perception surveys sent to faculty and staff, students, parents, community members, and high school guidance counselors. More than 500 survey responses were received during the primary research phase, including a large percentage from Blue Ridge faculty, staff, and students.
“Education Elevated is in alignment with our statewide marketing efforts, which highlight increased awareness about the life-changing opportunities available through community colleges,” said North Carolina Community College System President Peter Hans. “I’m so proud of my hometown college and all they do for the people of Henderson and Transylvania Counties.”
Following the brand research, Blue Ridge and Formation created a Brand Council comprised of nearly 20 faculty, staff, and students at the College to provide feedback on the initial brand logos, concept, and messaging. “I enjoyed participating in the brand’s creative process, and appreciate being asked for input before the final brand was created,” said Lilly Blankenship, member of the Brand Council and student of Blue Ridge Community College.
In the College’s new logo, there are “three summits” in the visual mark that represent both its core student programs – Job Training, College Transfer, and Continuing Education – and its brand pillars – Quality, Affordability, and Access.
“Education Elevated was developed from the valued feedback of our community, and it reflects how we are growing and evolving on our path forward to prepare students for 21st century success in the workforce or at four-year colleges and universities,” remarked Lee Anna Haney, director, marketing and communications at Blue Ridge Community College.
According to a recent Gallup/myFutureNC survey, North Carolinians believe that education beyond high school, including a college degree or professional certificate, is a path to a better life for their families, but there are concerns about the overall cost and, therefore, access to college. Additionally, nearly 90 percent of North Carolina employers value a community college degree.
Leatherwood added, “Blue Ridge Community College can help students overcome obstacles and pursue their future, today. We focused our brand pillars on our ability to offer a real-life, affordable, and accessible education with more than 100 degrees, diplomas, and certificates; more than 200 online courses; fast-tracked job training; hundreds of scholarship opportunities; and low-cost tuition.”
In the months ahead, marketing activations reflecting the new brand will be visible in the community, and Blue Ridge Community College encourages community members to join the brand conversation at #BlueRidgeElevates.