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Wabash Releases Re-Branding

IAN WARD ’19 | PHOTO & ONLINE EDITOR • Over the past few weeks, there have been inquiries surrounding banners in the Allen Center, apparel, and what a period is doing after a distinctive Wabash “W”. This new design is a result of a months long process of evaluat- ing and creating a new messaging platform for Wabash College. This platform surrounds on a new way to recruit Wabash men

“[We are] emphasizing our greatness, and focuses on the experience of Wabash men, as
well as the incredible outcomes of alumni,” Chief of Staff Jim Amidon ’87 said.

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 10.06.38 AMThis messaging change is key to the continued success of Wabash College, so that the College can have more prospective recruits interact with Wabash in their college search. At the start of every recruitment cycle, Wabash College buys names of students from testing agencies who fit certain criteria to attempt to recruit them to Wabash. The first step involves sending impersonal emails to prospective students. This branding strategy and subsequent messaging is meant to improve those initial interactions with the college.

Unique to this strategy, however, is that once data and lists are analyzed, it found that Wabash ranked in the Top 20 colleges on nine lists that no other college in the nation. After this analysis, it was concluded that Wabash should lead with its outcomes when talking to prospective students. For example, Wabash ranks first in mid-career salaries from Indiana colleges and university graduates; therefore, why should Wabash not lead with that statement? Through examples like this, the tagline: “Why shouldn’t Wabash be on your (prospective college) list?” was formed.

The new period after Wabash, and the “W” is based on the fact that we are Wabash, period. We are and will continue to be a great institution of higher learning.

This approach is somewhat unique to Wabash as well. Wabash is undertaking a rebrand, even while doing great as an institution and exceeding expectations on several fronts . “Usually rebranding is done when a college is in trouble or crisis,” Amidon said.” “However, we are doing great, and we are wanting to expand on this greatness.” This usual trouble Amidon speaks of is smaller incoming classes (Wabash exceeded its goal for the class of 2022), financial troubles (Wabash exceeded its annual fund goal and had a Day of Giving that exceeded $1 million), and overall turmoil
at the college, which Wabash lacks. Instead this broadening of our greatness and branding is the culmination of a plan to become a institution that is recognized by more people as a great institution and is selective yet also does not lose its identity.

Part of this lack of losing of identity is key as Amidon explained, “We are still a great liberal arts college and we aren’t changing that.” At the same time, the tagline of “Wabash College: The Liberal Arts College for Men” has been replaced under the retooling of messaging techniques. Amidon
also stressed that, contrary to some students’ beliefs, this process started last spring and was not part of the switching to Adidas for athletic apparel, instead, Adidas branded materials were just the first examples seen on campus.

Moving forward, the Wabash community will see new street banners lining Grant and Wabash Avenues with the new designs. Down the road, an updated website will be unveiled with the new branding throughout.