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Competitive Positioning

Positioning Pepperdine as a Premier 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 extol the virtues of the University mission and reinforce the relevance, performance, and value that the institution offers. Given the current hyper-competitive landscape, it is critical for Pepperdine to explore ways to uncover the distinctive attributes that flow out of the mission, articulate the advantages, and develop strategies for building Pepperdine's reputation and extending its reach as a premier global Christian university.

About the Initiative

The Competitive Positioning initiative, which concluded in January 2015, sought to tell Pepperdine's brand narrative in a way that clarified its meaning to the audiences that will benefit most by what it has to offer. IMC saw an opportunity to develop the University brand as a strategic asset capable of strengthening Pepperdine's five schools as they competed in their designated markets. The department’s many teams are continually examining fresh opportunities to restate Pepperdine's biggest ideas and deliver them to new audiences through new channels.

The initiative will:

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

Priorities and Projects

Key components of the Competitive Positioning initiative included:

  • Brand Benchmark survey to provide a snapshot of how the greater Los Angeles community perceives the Pepperdine brand
  • Brand Values interview with former Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton
  • Brand Campaign that:

    • Builds brand depth and understanding
    • Positions Pepperdine's mission and vision as a competitive advantage
    • Targets the greater Los Angeles community and local alumni
    • Increased the University’s presence in and around Pepperdine's campuses
    • Strengthens lead generation
    • Engages alumni base