Challenge

The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM), an organization of more than 575,000 University of Michigan (UM) alumni, represents one of the largest alumni bodies in the world and provides benefits and programs for its members to network, get active and take pride in their school. Stratacomm was tasked with creating new messaging and a mission statement for the organization to help it better engage with members and promote its services. AAUM also needed a brand audit to see what existing materials could be used to create a consistent visual identity for the association, as well as recommendations on how to integrate the messaging and the brand if there was a disconnect.

Our Approach

Stratacomm facilitated a message development session, testing outputs with opinion research to identify a platform that would resonate best with alumni. Stratacomm developed and led a series of training sessions for all staff and volunteer leadership that focused on how to integrate key messages at every alumni touch-point. Additionally, we conducted a brand audit to guide our work, which demonstrated that there were no brand-consistent materials within AAUM and that the organization would benefit from integrating more structure into its brand, especially since it had to engage local clubs throughout the world. We also needed to find ways to make sure new messaging was reflected in the visual identity.

Results

Stratacomm assisted AAUM with the following:

  • Facilitated a message development session, refined the messages and focus-group tested
  • Developed a message platform for the organization, including a mission statement and four overarching key messages
  • Established brand pillars by matching the target audiences with new messaging
  • Developed and created a comprehensive brand guidelines manual
  • Extended the brand system to all communications by providing a brand quick reference tool
  • Developed an eight-hour training module for all staff so they could understand how to integrate the messages and brand into every member touch-point
  • Developed a complete image library through multiple photo and video shoots so the images aligned with the new messaging and brand system
  • Created a brand asset management tool so the association and clubs could access and use the assets and imagery for publications, ensuring visual consistency across channels
  • Built a new AAUM website using the new brand system
  • Developed templates for direct mail and marketing materials
  • Maximized online presence through web content optimization, targeted digital advertising and social networking

Stratacomm also implemented word-of-mouth marketing through grassroots events. Designed to raise AAUM benefit awareness one conversation at a time, these events incorporated a unique drive-to-web component to reconnect alumni back to the association after the conclusion of each event.