Branding Strategy Needed By Clemson University


The University Relations division within Clemson University seeks to hire a firm to act as a strategic partner to the organization to develop a cohesive brand strategy and the toolkit to effectively implement it. The end goal is to be in a stronger competitive position to enhance the University’s national academic and research profile allowing Clemson to attract the nation’s best students, faculty and staff, engage in a meaningful and productive way with its alumni, donors and funding partners and communicate its value and benefits to the citizens of South Carolina.


Clemson University, by most any measure, is an institution heading in a positive direction. Long perceived to be a strong regional public university, Clemson has over the past decade moved into elite company among public universities, as evidenced by being ranked in the top 25 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report for the past 10 years. Additionally, student applications have grown more than 40 percent in the past five years, the SAT/ACT scores of incoming Clemson freshmen are among the top 10 of public universities and for last year, Clemson was named an R1 highest research activity university by Carnegie Classification. Add in an unparalleled period of athletics success, highlighted by a national championship in football in the 2016 season, a recently launched strategic plan and a dynamic president with a national reputation as a leader in higher education, and Clemson is ripe to increases its visibility and national reach as one of the country’s elite institutions.

At the same time, the perception of Clemson’s influence and success has trailed the reality of the story it has to share. As a result, there is a desire on the part of the university to elevate its reputation among its higher education peers, prospective students, prospective faculty and senior administrators, legislative leaders and potential funders and corporate partners.

One benchmark for further burnishing Clemson’s reputation is the university’s goal of becoming a perennial top 20 public university as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Other measures to which University Relations can be expected to contribute over time include continued improvement in the number and quality of student applicants and an improved academic reputation for the university’s leading academic programs, faculty and research areas.

Scope of Work:

The successful offeror will partner with Clemson to conduct research, define a competitive positioning strategy, and assist in developing the University’s inbound marketing strategy based on proven personality- and persona-based definition methodologies. The outcome of the project will be a clear definition of the institution’s personality, an integrated positioning and messaging platform, and a psychographic definition of personas with aligned content strategies for a stronger inbound presence for the University.

The University seeks a single vendor to work closely with the Associate Vice President for Marketing and Brand Strategy, the Executive Director of University Marketing, the Executive Director of University Creative Operations, as well as additional leadership within the University Relations division. The successful firm should have a senior-level project team with proven experience in higher education and a client portfolio demonstrating an understanding of shared governance and experience managing complex consensus building and change.

This should be a data-driven approach into the development of a master personality and inbound marketing strategy for the University. A successful proposal needs to be addressed in a manner in which this project could be approached in phases. Expected phases may include, but not be limited to:

  • Consensus-driven, qualitative research that is founded on the views of the entire campus across diverse audience groups involving faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the University.
  • Interviews and/or workshops with key stakeholders that enable an accurate understanding of Clemson’s culture.
  • Market perception research with key audiences across designated market areas to determine current sentiments, awareness, and perceptions.
  • Best practice audits of current systems, processes, resources, and structures and marketing materials with recommendations.
  • Research with current students and data to identify student personas.
  • Data-driven, personality-based campaign and creative ideation.
  • Enrollment data specific demographic and psychographic student segmentation.

Due Date:

March 26


Lou Hammond Group is a leading South Carolina PR firm.

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