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messaging
strategy

brand overview

When we talk about the Rutgers–Camden brand, we’re talking about all of the elements that go into the way we communicate with our audiences, along with all of their feelings and impressions about Rutgers–Camden as an institution. What we say, and how we say it, can have a huge impact on the perception of Rutgers–Camden among students, faculty, and the wider community. Our goal is to create the most consistent and effective communication that we can. 

When we set out to develop this new brand for the Rutgers–Camden community, we didn’t want to impose some random new identity on the campus, created out of thin air. Instead, we wanted to create a brand that spoke passionately about who we already are. So we started where every sound academic project should start: research.

We conducted hundreds of interviews with students, alumni, faculty, and community members to learn as much as we can about how they felt about Rutgers–Camden. Those results gave us the building blocks to start articulating what makes us such a unique higher education institution.

building the brand

Looking at the results of the research, we discovered three ideas that kept coming up over and over again. We’ve developed these three themes into the pillars that make up the foundation of our new brand. These are the ideas and messages that should inform everything we’re telling our audiences.

Resources for Writers

Our brand is not a list of requirements that must be followed every time you set out to write a piece of communication. Instead, it’s a standardized way of thinking through what to emphasize and how to present it within the context of the writing project you’re working on.

Below each section is a series of questions that you can ask yourself before sitting down to write a piece of copy that will help you focus your work to be oriented towards our brand.

pillars

Industrious at Heart

industrious at heart

Finding: Like our city, we are resilient and resolute, with the heart of a fighter and the knowledge of a maker. We are a driven, hard-working community that goes above and beyond to earn our seat at the table.

backup: Our students are trailblazers, with over 50% of them being the first in their family to complete college. Employers love to hire our alums because they are the types of employees who roll up their sleeves and get work done. We create innovative programs and initiatives that speak to the needs of our students, community, and the world at large. Many of these programs serve as a model that is being replicated across the country.

Writing Example: “Nothing is taken for granted. What we achieve, we earn through hard work and determination. We hustle, we put in the effort, and when paths are blocked, we forge new ones.”

Questions for Writers

  • Is your group experimenting with any new and exciting ways to solve problems?
  • Any recent stories of perseverance, going above and beyond, or overcoming obstacles to feature? 
  • Are there any stories of adaptability, surprising pivots, or otherwise unexpected resourcefulness within my group?
Connected by Design

connected by design

Finding: We are purposefully scaled to form meaningful relationships that amplify the strengths of our people. Our small size, and our focus on encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, provides unique opportunities for students and faculty to make lasting connections between people and ideas. We strive to expand these relationships beyond our campus and collaborate with the greater Camden community.

Backup: Our campus is the most intimate of all the Rutgers campuses, and that creates a feeling of family that is echoed by every student who walks through our quad. Our size allows an incredible amount of interdisciplinary work, both for our students and our faculty. We are a diverse population organically, with a minority-majority student body. We are very proud of this, and this commitment is reflected in our leadership as well as our students. Finally, Civic Engagement is incorporated into nearly every aspect of Rutgers–Camden connecting us to the larger community and ensuring our students have the opportunity to engage in learning that is informed by real-world challenges.

Writing Example: “Our size is our strength. It’s what turns professors into mentors, curiosity into a career, strangers into neighbors, and classmates into friends for life. Let the others go big; we value depth.”

Questions for Writers

  • Have there been any recent partnerships or collaborations worth highlighting?
  • Are there any civic engagement initiatives unique to your team?
  • How does my group foster collaboration, both within my field and between disciplines?
  • Is there an example of when our smaller scale has led to meaningful or unexpected relationships?
A Degree Above

a degree above

Finding: We are committed to the highest standard in every area of our student’s education, from the quality of our professors and curriculum to exemplary student support and ground-breaking programs like Bridging the Gap. We value integrity and are committed to making the highest levels of academic achievement available to as many people as possible.

Backup: We are an R2 research institution, and our students have an unprecedented opportunity for hands-on research. Because we are a small, engaged community, students are participating in faculty research from as early as their sophomore year. Our graduate students are often publishing and presenting with their faculty advisors long before they even start the Ph.D. track. Our education equips students with applicable skills to enable them to advance in their careers, resulting in an incredible 96% of graduating students either employed or in graduate school 6 months after earning their degree. We provide this without the burden of lifelong debt for our students, pairing our low tuition with generous assistance, providing 86% of our students with some amount of financial aid.

Writing Example: “We know that a high-quality education is the single best thing we can do for ourselves and our futures. Here, students collaborate with acclaimed faculty at every opportunity and get hands-on experience in cutting-edge research. All without mortgaging our futures to get it. How smart is that?”

Questions for Writers

  • Has there been any recent recognition from outside groups? Awards, grants, etc.?
  • Has your group’s work had an impact on the world beyond the university community?
  • What do we do better than anyone else?
Forever Forward Pillars

Our Brand: Forever Forward

Our new brand, Forever Forward, encompasses the three ideas expressed in our pillars. It’s how we speak collectively to the wider world – prospective students, colleagues at other universities, the general public, etc. – about the themes and ideas that make us such a remarkable community. We don’t need to use the words “Forever Forward” in all of our communications; instead, it’s an overarching theme that connects our pillars and communications. It’s a structure for articulating who we are. 

Example Diagram: “Combine a relentless work ethic with the world’s most illustrious minds, put them in the center of a community-focused not just on personal gain but on making the world a better place, and you’ve created a model for what higher education should be for this generation and the next. That’s where the world is headed; we’re leading the way.”
  • Industrious At Heart
  • A Degree Above
  • Connected By Design
  • Forever Forward

tone

Now that we know what to say, the next step is to find the best way to say it. That’s where tone comes in. If the pillars are what we want people to know, then the tone is what we want them to feel. This can be a tricky thing to standardize across many departments and writing teams. However, this can be achieved if you keep the following tone words in mind as guideposts for what you want readers to feel while reading your message: Proud, Resilient, Unexpected, Invested 

Questions for Writers

  • What am I proud to convey in this message? Is that pride evident in the writing? 
  • Under what circumstances will my readers be interacting with this piece of writing, and what emotions might they be bringing with them? How can I use that to inform my writing?

voice

Voice is all about how we talk to our audience. Who does the reader imagine is delivering this message? Voice is similar to tone; if the tone is about an overall feeling, then the voice is about who is delivering that message. No matter what the message or the tone of your communication, we want the voice the come across to be: Authentic, Relatable, Respectful 

Questions for Writers

  • Am I speaking as directly and as clearly possible?
  • Is there any vocabulary or jargon that might be challenging for my audience?

Brand manifesto

At Rutgers University-Camden,  we believe knowledge comes not only from within the buildings on campus, but from experiences gained in the real world.  

From rolling up your sleeves and getting hands-on.  
From connecting with mentors and peers. 
From studying – and working – with brilliant scholarly minds. 

After all, wisdom isn’t learned.
It’s perpetually earned.

That is why we are constantly reimagining our surroundings, finding educational opportunities in societal challenges, building constructive partnerships, and teaching new generations how to lift up their communities. 

When you realize that classrooms can be anywhere, the journey of learning is ever expansive, ever progressing. 

We do not strive for an ideal version of our character — our true character is in the striving itself.  

Our destination is not a place, but a direction: Forever Forward. 

Campus Operating Status:
The university remains open. The university, all clinics, libraries, and research operations remain open. All in-person or hybrid events scheduled through January 31, 2022, should be moved to entirely virtual platforms. Supervisors are asked to allow and encourage all employees who can telecommute to please do so until January 31, 2022. Where possible, in-person classes will temporarily convert to remote classes through Sunday, January 30, 2022. Information on Student Required Booster Vaccination. 
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