Located in New York’s capital—a mere 150 miles and a direct train ride from New York City—the University at Albany (UAlbany), a SUNY school, had always assumed its location was one of its greatest strengths. But in an era of stronger competition, more educational choices, and economic challenges, the University knew it could no longer afford to simply rely on assumptions. UAlbany leaders partnered with Stamats to develop strategies to help better market the institution, improve its undergraduate perceptions and rankings, identify and overcome misperceptions, strengthen and update recruiting efforts, and achieve all of this with the strong support and buy-in of the entire University community.
Stamats conducted extensive research with target audiences, including alumni, prospective students, current students, faculty, and staff as well as high school guidance counselors and the regional business community. Location emerged as one of the University’s greatest strengths, while current students overwhelmingly named UAlbany’s campus diversity as its top strength. Stamats crafted a brand attribute bringing to life how diversity enriches learning at UAlbany, and extended this attribute as well as other core strengths into a creative concept: “The World Within Reach.” Playing on the unique location-based opportunities for students, and the diverse perspectives that make UAlbany a hub for new ideas, the concept immediately resonated with University faculty and staff.
Results of the project’s success continue to roll in. Departments throughout the University heartily adopted the brand, incorporating it into everything from calendars to International Student brochures. UAlbany’s Student Association created their first-ever lecture series and called it “The World Within Reach Lecture Series.”
The inaugural speaker was former Secretary of State Colin Powell. A University-wide strategic planning process was launched, entitled: “Putting the World Within Reach.” And the new brand has garnered wonderful feedback from parents, community members, and alumni. Student Opinion Survey results improved significantly in the areas of overall satisfaction with campus life (up 10 percent) and academic facilities (up 12 percent).