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DU’s reputation strategy rollout: Introducing For the Difference

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

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A brand is bigger than a logo, a campaign, or even the words we say. It’s the embodiment of our culture, our people, and our value in the world—informed by our history, inspired by our future, and grounded in our enduring mission, vision, and values. This thinking has informed our strategy and the approach the team is taking to building a brand for DU that lasts and creates a solid foundation for us all to build upon for years to come. There are many ways to express a brand, such as through a marketing campaign, through marks, through photography, even through the stories we tell. Building a great university brand is work that is never finished; it is an adventure full of milestones.

Over the past year, MarComm has been applying market research and feedback from more than 1,600 DU voices to create strategy and build DU’s brand foundation. Unearthing our personality and finding our "why" were essential to the work. At DU, we’ve discovered that inspiring the courageous excellence that frees each of us to advance the common good through our insight and passion is what drives us. As we head into the fall, DU will begin introducing this position and perspective through a new marketing campaign.

The campaign theme—For the Difference—embodies DU’s conviction that the greatest leaders help others shine, that true confidence knows when to listen, and that our humility and strength can work hand in hand to build a brighter and more equitable world for all. DU is committed to forming students, through the intentional and holistic methods of the 4D Experience, that are able to define and pursue a different kind of success: becoming forces for change in the world.

Just in time to reach prospective students this fall, the campaign assets will serve as a calling to those who seek to investigate their interests, master their talents, and apply themselves to something greater. Assets include content marketing videos and stories, transit ads, digital advertising, paid and organic social media content, and DU’s first-ever commercial.

A behind-the-scenes video showing the making of the For the Difference commercial gives a hint at what to expect over the next few months as the marketing campaign is released in select markets around the United States and For the Difference is introduced to the Denver community and our constituents.  

A community of support enabled us to achieve this milestone for the institution. Crafting DU’s first-ever commercial was no small feat, and on behalf of the entire MarComm division, I’d like to recognize the following individuals for their assistance:

In Athletics, the following individuals helped with talent coordination, logistical support, training room access, and more:

Ali Houlis, Angel Field, Brittany Evans, Christina Pachuta, Dave Kuzara, Deborah Welke, Julie Campbell, Kristin Baker, Linas Gaveika, and Melissa Kutcher.

Thank you to these DU faculty and staff that supported all the logistics and scheduling, including badge and COVID clearance, golf carts, parking passes, casting, and meeting rooms:

Alice Morris, Bill Scott, Bonnie Hahn, Brian Schreckinger, Claire Brownell, Derigan Silver, Devon Sisneros, Jessie Stellini, Kim Gorgens, Kristal Griffith, Kymbella Hill, Le Zies, May Lee Koke, Meghan Vaughn, Minh Giang, Mo Lotif, Monica Humble, Nancy Lorenzon, Nathan Willers, Rosalynn Feagins, Sandra Castro, Shane McCuller, Tamara Tabb, Therese Mashak, and Todd Adams. 

Many thanks to our health partners at National Jewish Health for loaning equipment and providing exercise data:

Lauren Green-Caldwell, Levi Jansen, and Tod Olin.

A special thank you to Chenthu Jayachandiran for lending us his expertise and insights to ensure that the commercial aligns with our DEI focus and values and that it accurately reflects DU’s aspirations.

Last but certainly not least, BIG THANKS to A Collective Us and their partners for working with us to bring the commercial from concept to reality, to those across campus that helped us promote the casting call and bring this to life, and to our MarComm staff who served on the project and are consistently going above and beyond their normal duties to roll out a reputation strategy we can all be proud of:

Anna Colangelo, Carri Wilbanks, Chase Bayliss, Eric Hughes, Evan Cotgageorge, Jan Ballard, Jessica Kibble, Johanna Blickenstaff, Lauren Cook, Lisa Goldsworthy, MeiLi Smith, Natalie Plaszewski, and Nicole Militello.