What’s your ‘And?’

UW-Eau Claire unveils new branding to ‘set itself apart’ from other universities


SCHOOL SPIRIT: Seniors Brittany Schalow and Cassie Zopfi informed students about “The Power of And” branding campaign at the April 16 unveiling ceremony in the Davies Center. © 2014 Nate Beck, The Spectator

Story by Katy Macek, Copy Editor

After about a year of planning, UW-Eau Claire revealed a new branding campaign to the public last week.

The Power of And,” will help the campus stand out from other institutions, said M.J. Brukardt, director of Marketing, Communication and Strategic Planning at Eau Claire.

“We wanted to be able to find a way to talk more effectively about what really sets us apart as a university,” she said. “That’s why we knew that we had to do this now rather than wait.”

Brukardt said she was the head of a large committee involved in the planning process, which included faculty, staff and students as well as Mind Over Media, a research firm from Pittsburgh that has higher education marketing experience.

In phase one of the process, Brukardt said she talked to prospective and current students, staff members and alumni. They held focus groups and sent out surveys that asked questions like “What does it mean to be a Blugold?” and “What is our perception out there by others who aren’t part of our community?”

In phase two, she said Mind Over Media took these results and came up with a couple different campaigns that they thought would fit the university best.

After discussing, surveying and voting, the university settled on “The Power of And.”

“This is an investment,” Brukardt said. “We’re looking to make sure that our messages, our advertising, the communications we have with students help to bring new students, prospective students to our institution in the future.”

Brukardt said the Eau Claire foundation contributed $50,000 and the university paid $145,000 for research and services from Mind Over Media.

While this is a lot of money, she said she’s confident it will pay off.

“If we are able to attract just six new students to come to UW-Eau Claire and stay and graduate in four years, we’ll have recovered the cost of this effort,” Brukardt said. “We’re confident that while this was a significant amount of money to invest in something like this, it’s very important for us as an institution to be able to reach out effectively and attract students.”

Tim Bortner, a junior, is a member of Campus Ambassadors, a group of students who, among other things, work with prospective

Bortner said ambassadors were asked to help set up the campaign about a month ago by doing photo shoots.

He said a handful of the ambassadors were also asked to submit their Power of And stories. He and Abby Nygaard, president of Campus Ambassadors, were asked to speak at the brand launch breakfast April 16.

Bortner said he believes in the Power of And campaign because he got involved in new activities after coming to Eau Claire like joining the lacrosse team.

“I’ve since been in six different clubs, and now I’m the president of PSE, the Sales and Marketing group, and I play lacrosse,” he said. “I really believe in the power of Eau Claire and the Power of And has given me lots of opportunities.”

After setting up the photo booths last week to help launch the campaign, Brukardt said the university’s Facebook page reached over 105,000 people and 1,880 photos from the booths were posted.

The campaign isn’t just about prospective students, she said, but current students can also use this to celebrate the university and maybe consider trying something they’ve been wanting to try for a long time.

Nygaard said she was happy to see how excited and involved students were when the photo booths were set up in Davies Center.

“It was a great opportunity for students to really reflect on how much they have gotten out of their Blugold experience,” she said. “And hopefully really take that to heart and thank professors and other staff members who have made an impact on them.”