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Competitive Positioning

Positioning Pepperdine as a Premiere Global Christian University

Does Pepperdine's brand narrative have the power to attract prospects and motivate alumni or does it merely defend the University's mission and values? As marketing professionals the Integrated Marketing and Communications team is challenged to develop marketing and communication strategies that not only extol the virtues of the mission, but also the relevance, performance, and value the institution offers. Given the current hyper-competitive landscape, it has never been more important for Pepperdine to find ways to uncover the distinctive attributes that flow out of the mission, articulate their advantages, and develop strategies for building Pepperdine's reputation and extending its reach. Only then can Pepperdine can realize its vision and position itself as a premiere, global, Christian university.

 

About the Initiative

The Competitive Positioning initiative seeks to tell Pepperdine's brand narrative in a way that will clarify its meaning to the audiences that stand to benefit most by what it has to offer. That is no easy task. Pepperdine has come to mean many things to many people over the years. While it still enjoys a strong reputation, we recognize that the brand has become fractured over time.

We see an opportunity to develop the Pepperdine brand as a strategic asset, capable of strengthening Pepperdine's five schools as they compete in their chosen markets. We have an opportunity to restate Pepperdine's biggest idea and bring it to new audiences, through new channels.

In short, the initiative will:

  1. Clearly identify a desired market position
  2. Offer a fresh interpretation of Pepperdine's brand
  3. Target new audiences at the top of the marketing funnel and assure and inspire alumni at the bottom of the funnel
  4. Create an advertising campaign and strategy for placing earned and paid impressions in the marketplace.

Key Question

Is the mission of Pepperdine University marketable? Does the brand narrative attract prospects and motivate alumni or does it merely defend the University's mission and values? Given the current hyper-competitive landscape, it has never been more important for Pepperdine to find ways to uncover the distinctive attributes that flow out of the mission and to develop strategies for competing with them.

Priorities and Projects

Key components of the Competitive Positioning initiative include:

  1. Brand Benchmark survey to provide a snapshot of how the greater Los Angeles community perceives the Pepperdine brand
  2. Brand Values interview with President Benton
  3. Brand Campaign that 
    • Builds brand depth/understanding
    • Positions Pepperdine's mission and vision as a competitive advantage
    • Targets the greater Los Angeles community & local alumni
    • Increases our presence in and around Pepperdine's campuses
    • Strengthens lead generation
    • Engages our alumni base

Timeline

The Competitive Positioning initiative launched in March 2014 and is scheduled to conclude in January 2015.