As alumni from across the region and the country flocked to North Central College for this year’s Homecoming festivities, something looked different at the 158-year-old institution. Homecoming weekend served as the launch of the College’s new brand, which is centered on the idea of “Exceed your personal best” and includes a new institutional logo.
The new brand is the result of a year-long process spearheaded by the College’s Market Research and Brand Strategy Advisory Committee, with support from SimpsonScarborough, a nationally renowned brand and marketing firm that specializes in the field of higher education. The process involved surveying nearly 3,000 internal and external stakeholders—including current and prospective students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, peer institutions, guidance counselors, employers and community members—to gain insight into their thoughts and perceptions of the College. A thorough analysis of survey data helped inform the College’s new brand.
“Now is the perfect time for North Central College to embrace a new brand that reflects the College we are today, as the institution is considerably different than it was 20 years ago,” said President Troy D. Hammond. “In the past few years, we’ve ushered in new academic programs, a new academic calendar, new and updated facilities, enhanced student support mechanisms and a bold strategic plan. This was an incredibly important process for us to go through to ensure that we are accurately and effectively representing the College in a way that resonates with people both within and beyond our campus community.”
The new logo represents the first update to the College’s institutional logo in more than 20 years. While it still prominently features the iconic Old Main tower, it is a more modern take and one that is more adaptable to different mediums. In addition to the new logo and other creative elements that will be part of the College’s new brand look and feel, the concept of “Exceed your personal best” will serve as the foundation for a new brand strategy. It’s not a tagline; rather, a platform on which to build a brand that represents what the College stands for and the unique experience and opportunities students have at the institution that has been an anchor of the Naperville community since 1870.
“One of the things that was revealed through the market research process was the profound impact North Central College has in helping elevate students’ confidence and realize their direction in life,” said Bill Muck, professor of political science and co-chair of the Market Research and Brand Strategy Advisory Committee. “That’s due, in large part, to the inspired instruction and support students receive inside and outside of the classroom. We’re excited to have developed a brand strategy that will help us tell that story more effectively and to more people.”
The rollout of the new brand will be a multi-year process as the College integrates the new logo, imagery and messages into communications and marketing initiatives. However, the campus community and Homecoming attendees began to see the initial installments, including new light pole banners, took part in various brand launch activities, and received fun and exciting giveaways.