Atlantic Cape Adopts ‘Brand’ New Message of Opportunity
Following a two-year branding process that included extensive research and input from stakeholders, the College adopted a new brand positioning statement, marketing messages and tagline in spring 2010. The College also returned to its traditional red and blue color scheme that dates to the school’s 1966 opening, replacing the blue and teal palette in use since Atlantic Community College became Atlantic Cape Community College in 1999.
When the College undertook the branding project, with support from the Atlantic Cape Foundation, it set out to:
- discover and define the College’s brand identity and marketplace position
- determine appropriate and effective messages to be communicated to key audiences
- integrate the brand with the College’s mission
- enhance awareness of the College’s Blueprint 2020 Master Plan and upcoming fundraising efforts
“With the transformational changes taking place at Atlantic Cape through Blueprint 2020--our facilities master plan--we felt this branding project was vital to help us tell our story to internal and external College audiences,” Dr. Mora said. “For the College to build needed financial support going forward, it’s essential that we raise the profile and enhance the image of the school.”
Theme of ‘Opportunity’ Emerges
Atlantic Cape Community College plays an essential role in the development and growth of Atlantic and Cape May counties by providing education and training, by anticipating and responding to community needs.
Focus panel and telephone survey research conducted by the CLARUS Corporation, a firm specializing in community college branding, sought to uncover words and messages that would resonate with audiences the College depends on for its success. Over and over, the theme of “opportunity” was mentioned when respondents talked about the College and the role it plays in its service area.
“We truly create opportunity for the people and organizations in Atlantic and Cape May counties,” Dr. Mora said. “We offer high-quality, affordable and accessible education, we respond quickly to business and industry workforce training needs, and for more than 40 years we have prepared future community and business leaders.”
Here are some elements of the new “brand”
- A new tagline, “Opportunity Starts Here,” or “Your Opportunity Starts Here” when addressed to students, will appear in advertising, student recruitment and marketing materials
- An advertising campaign, featuring successful Atlantic Cape alumni and articulating key marketing messages uncovered in the branding research. The campaign includes print, radio, television, outdoor, transit and online advertising
- A new abbreviation for Atlantic Cape Community College, “Atlantic Cape,” replaced ACCC when talking about the college on second reference
- An identity standards guide that outlines accepted use of College colors and logotypes
- A Brand Positioning Statement that sets the foundation on which the rest of the brand platform is built
- Revamped athletics identity, featuring a red and blue Buccaneer pirate ship sailing on a sea of blue, and a secondary mark displaying crossed cutlasses with the letters “A” and “C” linked
As the 2009-2010 academic year came to a close, Atlantic Cape was set to roll out a major branding communication plan featuring successful alumni and college supporters.