In the past, when prospective students looked into Northern State University, they heard the slogan “Be You. Be Us. Be Northern” repeated frequently. While there is nothing wrong with this phrase, students, faculty, and administration alike agree that it is rather dated.
Most large companies, such as Coke and Pepsi, for example, change their slogans every few years, and the general consensus from the NSU campus regarding our slogan is that it is time for a change.
The person in charge of finding a new slogan for Northern is Justin Fraase, Director of Communications and Marketing. Fraase in new to NSU with the 2017 spring semester. He worked previously at the University of North Dakota. Fraase’s undergraduate degree was in Communications, and he also has a Masters in Business.
Fraase hopes that the new slogan will be ready for launch by the middle of the 2017 fall semester. In order to do this, though, Fraase needs help from the students and the faculty. Recently, he sent a survey to all Northern students, faculty, staff, and alumni that will allow him to get a feel for the general attitude about Northern State University.
Fraase’s general strategy for finding the new slogan includes a more community-oriented approach. “It could be myself and a small team, sitting behind closed doors, bouncing ideas off of one another until one sticks. Or, we could poll the community so we can truly get a feel for how students and faculty feel about Northern,” Fraase said.
NSU students are the heart of our institution. Their feedback will help us pave the way for future NSU students. . . . Help us define Northern.
– Justin Fraase, NSU Director of Communications and Marketing
Although Fraase finds that faculty, staff, and alumni are crucial in this process, he notes the significance of student involvement. “We’re looking for feedback from Northern students,” Fraase explained. “It’s important we create a message and tagline that accurately defines NSU. Student feedback is critical to ensuring an accurate message.”
Some of the survey questions focus on individual experiences and perceptions of Northern, such as: “If you had to describe Northern State University in one word, what would it be? What makes Northern State University unique as compared to other universities?” Others try to gauge participant familiarity, including: “How familiar are you with Northern State University? How familiar are you with the following: Athletics, School of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, and the NSU Foundation.”
After just one week of polling, 400 people completed the survey, and Fraase has already noticed a few recurring themes. From faculty and staff members, the theme of “seeing that everyone succeeds”, and the idea of “community” seems to permeate the attitudes of both students and alumni.
Along with Fraase’s efforts towards finding a new slogan for Northern, he has also been busy categorizing all of the different logos that can be found around campus and on NSU’s advertising. Fraase says he wants to create a guideline as to when certain logos are used, as nothing of this sort is currently in place and some confusion has resulted from it. Fraase and his team are working tirelessly to promote Northern and to put the very soul of Northern’s campus into words, but he cannot do it without the help of students.
The survey will close on April 30. After that, Fraase’s team will compile the feedback and begin work on initial concept ideas. There are plans to work with a few focus groups in the fall and then introduce the new NSU tagline before the end of that semester.
He encourages students to help out, saying, “NSU students are the heart of our institution. Their feedback will help us pave the way for future NSU students. I strongly encourage students (faculty and staff as well) to take our brand survey. Help us define Northern.”
Look for the survey link in an email from Fraase with the subject line NSU Brand Initiative or access the link at: northern.edu/brand.
Photos courtesy NSU Website and Open Access Images.