Institution-Wide Branding Programs: Loyola University Chicago - Bronze Medal

Category 37: Institution-Wide Branding Programs
Loyola University Chicago
“Loyola Values”

Contact: Kelly Shannon, vice president, university marketing and communications, 820 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1418, Chicago, IL 60611, Phone: (312) 915-6159, e-mail:

Campaign Overview: Less than one year ago, the president of Loyola University Chicago charged a new division, university marketing and communications, with the creation of a brand campaign to showcase the unique attributes of a Loyola education) the result was a new strategic image advertising campaign entitled “Loyola Values.” The campaign consists of a series of provocative and declarative statements about the principles and ideals that characterize a Jesuit education in an urban setting. The campaign affirms what current students, parents, alumni, and friends of Loyola know to be true about the university’s mission: it also aims to education, interest, and even surprise those who aren’t as familiar with Loyola or hold assumptions about the school that may not be true.

Research: Best practices research revealed that many higher education institutions present themselves in a similar fashion (e.g. smiling students, similar messages of a quality education) with little differentiation. The internal marketing team of three developed several creative options based on student quantitative research and significant qualitative research with current students, alumni, prospective students, staff, and faculty, and friends of Loyola (board of trustees, donors, etc.). The creative options were shared with nine focus groups comprising all key university audiences: undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, faculty, staff, and parents of prospective students.

The “Loyola Values” concept was wildly successful, winning the approval of all nine groups. The participants agreed that the key message of the campaign is that Loyola is a university teaching its students to become great citizens of the world who will be prepared to contribute to their communities when they leave Loyola.

The campaign speaks for humanistic values, such as serving others, social responsibility and justice, commitment to excellence, freedom of inquiry, and the pursuit of truth. Additionally, its broad appeal across religious beliefs, ages, and cultures affirms Loyola’s dedication to serving students as a home for all faiths.

Execution and Creative Implementation: The campaign’s “less is more” design was developed entirely in-house by University Marketing and Communications. A series of ads were created that include thoughtful yet provocative statements that are intended to make people stop and reflect, and, most, importantly, to pique a reader’s interest in finding out more about Loyola. The design is bold, clean, and contemporary and uses no photography. However, future iterations of the campaign can and will include the use of photography of some sort.

The Loyola logo was developed to provide a single graphic presentation that focuses on and incorporates the university’s long tradition of academic excellence and its Jesuit identity. It consists of several elements, each referring to a significant event or tradition in Loyola’s history or in the history of Jesuit education.

The shape of the symbol itself – a shield – refers to the heraldic traditions of the great universities of Europe, where Jesuit education began. The Latin “AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM” (for the greater glory of God) is that motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) as well as of Loyola University Chicago.

Although the logo has been given a modern look, the motto was not translated into English because Latin is a significant factor in the Jesuit educational tradition and reflects Loyola’s commitment to a core liberal arts education. The Loyola promise line, “preparing people to lead extraordinary lives,” was added in 2004.

Implementation of the campaign included advertising in print and online mediums, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus panels, CTA interior cards on Read and Blue “L” lines, city buses shelters, and Metra train-cards throughout Chicago.

Launching the Campaign: The launch of the campaign strategically synched up with the release of the March 26 2006 Chicago Tribune Magazine, which featured Loyola’s spirited leader, President Michael J. Garanzini, SJ, and the university’s turnaround as the cover story.

Launching the campaign on the heels of this seven-page feature was key to getting the most talk value possible. With just under four million readers of the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune, Loyola would already be in the public eye, making it the ideal time for the team to target other media outlets and the general public with key campaign messaging, as their interest in the university would have already been piqued.

In tandem with the newspaper piece, Loyola also sent a strategically timed letter to more than 120,000 alumni alerting them to the magazine cover story and to the launch of the image campaign in order to generate excitement and talk value within the group.

In addition, several creative components such as T-shirts, magnets, postcards, buttons, and towels featuring image campaign taglines added to the integrated marketing effort. The “Loyola Street Team,” a guerilla marketing initiative, comprised of 50 undergraduate and graduate students helped distribute promotional items during launch week and at special events. An internal contest encouraging students, staff, faculty, and alumni to craft their own winning headlines was also launched. Over 300 submissions were received. The winning ad, along with the author’s name and class year, appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

Budget: With a budget of less than $500,000, the small, internal team completed the research, concepting, design, and media buy to successfully launch the campaign in the desired timeframe. By performing all work in-house, University Marketing and Communications was able to save the university several hundred thousand dollars during the 2006 fiscal year.

Results: The impact of the branding program on this institution was incredible. An alumni survey sent to more than 17,000 individuals received more than 1,100 responses in less than 24 hours and included the following findings: 1) 62 percent had seen the ads; 2) 92 percent liked the ads; 3) 85 percent believe that ads enhance the reputation of the university; 4) 95 percent like to see Loyola ads in the marketplace.

The campaign helped contribute to record applications and undergraduate enrollment in the university, as well as a record year of giving by university donors. Individual schools, such as the Graduate School of Business, a focus for university marketing and communications, has exceeded its goals of applicants and admitted students for the first time in several quarters

We also are tracking growth on the university’s Web site, partially attributed to the campaign. We continue to receive public relations on the campaign. The latest was an article in the Chicago Tribune and on NBC-TV’s morning newscast about a new Loyola ad placed the day after the Chicago Bears Super Bowl loss. We also continue to hear from other schools complementing the campaign and asking us, “Who did it?”

Campaign Reactions: “I enjoyed the market(ing) materials you sent from Loyola. They are well done… clever, simple, powerful, and relevant!!!” Carolyn Woo, dean of Notre Dame’s Business College

“You have grabbed the essence, the crux of what education is all about; building character not just intellect. The great thing is that it will impact a wide scope of people… the students, staff, and alumni as well as prospective students. Surely St. Ignatius is smiling” Roger Frasser, Loyola Alum

“I love all of the values posters around the campus and most importantly what they stand for.” Cathleen Robertson, parent of university student

The Future of the Loyola Values Campaign: As the campaign approaches the one-year mark, the “Loyola Values” campaign continues to evolve and adapt with the ever-changing societal and higher education issues of the present day. The flexibility of messaging that extends the life of the campaign, with ether to comment on current events or holidays, or transition to pique the interest of a new audience. Such as, when Warren Buffett announced that he planned to give 85 percent of his $44 billion dollar fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, our team created the “Learn it. Earn it. Share it.” ad that appeared in the Chicago Tribune.