Simpson rolling out ‘Success’ a new brand

by Ben Rodgers

Simpson College’s Marketing and Public Relations department has always been looking for a brand identity, and they answered it with “Success.”

A brand is an emotional and psychological relationship that anyone has to a product or a service. When you feel positively about the brand, you are inclined to want to experience it again. A brand also allows the public to know who you are and what you stand for.

“We’ve been working on this for quite a while. We’re just now starting to roll it out and explain it to everybody,” Jill Johnson, executive director for marketing and public relations, said.

The idea of “Success” ,as Simpson’s brand identity, stems from market research that was done early this year and early last year. Prospective students and parents were surveyed and asked what they look for in a college search, along with their awareness of Simpson and what they thought about Simpson.

“One thing we learned from this is that Simpson isn’t very well known in the state of Iowa,” Johnson said. “Those people who do know about us say nice things about us, but they’re fairly generic types of comments that could be use to describe any college.”

Many of those surveyed gave a common answer.

“The number one answer was when asked what people knew was ‘I don’t know,’ which is a problem for us because in a competitive environment we need to be able to stand out,” said Johnson.

With this information, and data from their research, the Marketing and Public Relations department chose to go down the path of using the theme of “Success.”

“That’s not a tagline, it’s not a slogan. We’re just trying to develop what already exists here and has for quite a while,” Johnson said. “This is a place that produces successful students and helps launch them into successful lives after school.”

Johnson says the idea of success has been around Simpson College for years but feels the school has been going around it quietly and not taking credit for the great things that are happening here.

What Simpson is doing now is taking something that already exists and giving framework to be able to tell the stories about success that goes on here at Simpson.

“Simpson College needs an identity, something people can reference,” Johnson said. “When someone says Simpson, we want them to say that’s the place were success happens or students succeed when they go there. We want them to make that connection so it becomes who we are.”

Simpson has slowly been releasing the idea of their new brand identity and just announced it at the last staff and faculty meeting. This was a way to get employees to support and buy into the new identity.

Johnson believes that it is important to have support in a brand internally, so when a prospective student engages with us, they get a feeling Simpson wants them to succeed.

Johnson said after the faculty meeting the staff seemed very energized about the new brand identity the school has to offer.

“I like it. It’s short, sweet and to the point,” Professor of Marketing Mark Green said.

“A brand is not your logo, it’s not your advertising, it’s a promise, a promise to deliver on a set of expectations,” Green said. “Why do people come to college? Why do people want to come to Simpson? Achieving success in life is something people aspire to do. For us to say this is what you get when you come to Simpson, we’re going to deliver on your expectation, that we will help you succeed.”

Marketing and public relations will be distributing banners in academic departments, so they are able to display visually Simpson’s brand of success. They also have been receiving success stories from faculty to help tell stories of how students are successful.

Johnson wants to go beyond just faculty displaying this identity of success and wants students too as well.

“The people who are here experiencing us now have the best vantage point to see what happens here every day,” Johnson said. “If they can convey that to other people about the things that are available to them here, the fact that they can participate in different activities, it all adds up to a successful experience.”