Many people think of branding in terms of logos, slogans or taglines, and indeed those expressions will ultimately emerge from NIU’s branding initiative. But more importantly, effective branding begins with comprehensive research aimed at uncovering the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of our most important stakeholders. To that end, NIU’s branding efforts began in August 2009 with review of historical documents, focus group exercises and surveys conducted by faculty at the NIU Public Opinion Lab.
Qualitative research undertaken by the POL has primarily focused on the opinions of eight key groups:
- Current students
- Prospective students
- Parents of current students
- Parents of prospective students
- High school counselors
To date, more than 800 individuals have participated in focus groups, online and direct mail surveys and small group exercises, all aimed at assessing general perceptions of NIU, comparison of NIU with competitors, and views on NIU’s future.