Defining the Oredigger story
In 1997, Steve Jobs appeared in front of a small audience to talk about his ambition to make Apple better understood and more desirable than anyone believed possible at the time.
“This is a very complicated world […] a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember very much about us,” he said. “And so, we have to be really clear about what we want them to know.”
The grainy video of this speech is popular in marketing circles because of how succinctly it states the purpose of branding. It’s not about logos and colors. It’s about deciding what is valuable and distinct about a business or product and putting all your time and energy into telling that story.
As Mines approaches its 150th year, it too is applying increased attention to becoming better known and understood as a “top-of-mind and first-choice university” among students, public and private partners, and faculty and staff. To reach this goal, Mines is sculpting a succinct message it can broadcast—and repeat—to an ever more complicated and noisy world.
“As a public university, we don’t have the resources to launch a large-scale and ongoing media blitz,” said Jason Hughes, chief marketing officer at Mines. “But this is Mines. And what we do have is the ambition and discipline to distill who we are and consistently and creatively demonstrate our value and distinctiveness to a growing audience of potential students, government officials, industries, journalists and others.”
Mines hired an agency partner, Ologie, in fall 2021 to host dozens of focus groups and interviews and complete a survey of more than 4,000 alumni, current students and employees, industry leaders and even high school counselors. Next up, as Jobs put it, is getting specific about what we want to say about Mines. That message will be defined and tested—including with a survey to all alumni and donors—this spring.
Even as this work gets moving, Mines will also be launching its first-ever comprehensive logo project to assess how well the university’s marks represent Mines and help tell our story. This work will be tested with the Mines Alumni Board and many others across the spring with the plan to debut a new, evolved brand kit later next year.
Here are a few insights we’ve learned so far that are informing this work:
What makes Mines different?
According to institutional and competitor research completed by Ologie, there are five things that differentiate Mines from peers and competitors:
- Our historic connection to industry.
- Our work ethic and collaborative approach. “We carry rocks up a mountain for fun.”
- A location that inspires, challenges and offers opportunities.
- “Our work creates the next frontiers.” Mines presents solutions to the challenges confronting industry and society.
- “We’re powering a sustainable and more prosperous future. Mines graduates show up prepared and deliver solutions that move them and the world forward.”
“What words would you use to describe a Mines graduate?”
(Top results across responses and audiences):
“Hardworking, intelligent/smart, driven, dedicated, prepared.”
“What are the most important outcomes for college graduates today?”:
- The ability to communicate clearly and effectively
- Being ready to work
- The ability to learn quickly as tools, expectations and industries evolve.