Although it is the largest academic unit within the University of California system, UCLA’s College of Letters and Science faced an identity crisis. How do you build an independent brand within a globally renowned public university of 43,301* students? The College had an unclear understanding of its key audiences and their communication needs, an outdated website, and limited internal resources. This was especially troubling given the key role the College would play in the upcoming UCLA Centennial Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in UCLA history, with a goal of $4.2 billion. The College has been charged with raising $400 million.

*As of 2015

Stamats’ solution: To conduct intensive research (both web based and telephone) among key audiences, from alumni and prospective donors to faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students, to identify where and how they engage with the College, what their specific communication needs and delivery preferences are, and in what formats they should be engaged.

The findings clarified how key audiences relate to the College and laid the groundwork for a comprehensive communication plan. The plan empowered the College to define and build its identity as a sub-brand, offered strategies for focusing and integrating communications to enhance fundraising, and revamping the College website as a showcase for its groundbreaking research and faculty scholarship.

Armed with actionable research insights and a solid communication plan, UCLA’s College of Letters and Science now has the tools to build a distinct brand. Since this project, the college has made changes to its website and rebranded as “The College,” a singular name and strong step toward standing out. It has also been successfully fulfilling its role in the UCLA Centennial Campaign: to date, the College of Letters and Science has raised more than half of its $400 million goal.