In a way, the "Be valued" theme is both old and new, resonating with deeply-held characteristics of the institution and drawing strength from new messaging. The campaign builds on the foundation laid by last year's university re-designation campaign, which highlighted and emphasized Mount Mercy's historic transition from college to university.
The new campaign will continue to raise that awareness while communicating Mount Mercy's market position as a leading regional Catholic, Mercy University in a bold, memorable way. To accomplish this, the new creative images illustrated on billboards and posters focus on Mount Mercy's greatest strength – its people – and put them first and foremost in audience minds.
On the billboards and in other marketing venues, Mount Mercy students and faculty are shown in action: teaching, conducting research, acquiring professional skills and knowledge and exploring their creativity. Each image is accompanied by a phrase which opens up the overarching "Be valued" campaign tagline by communicating other ways students will "be" at Mount Mercy University: inspired, creative, inquisitive, and professional.
One of the most powerful images depicts Jenna Higgins, Mount Mercy's 2011 National Champion javelin thrower accompanied with the words, "Be a Champion." The campaign captures a sense of momentum for an institution undergoing positive change and more importantly, highlights the personal transformations Mount Mercy students experience as they gain an education that prepares them for careers and for civic-minded lifestyles.
Underpinning the campaign is Mount Mercy's new brand promise, which captures the essence of the institution in a simple, memorable phrase:
"We are the regional Catholic, Mercy University that promises students of diverse backgrounds, ages and faiths a challenging, practical education that inspires them to discover knowledge, build community and lead courageous lives."
The promise supports all campaign messaging and is integrated throughout all Mount Mercy communications. The first phase of the "Be valued" campaign will incorporate billboards, radio and print advertising and reinforce a new admissions recruiting campaign. In the spring, the campaign opens up, targeting other key Mount Mercy audiences and expanding its reach through additional tactics that weave web-based and social media marketing, community events and cable networks.
"We are trying to create a message that has powerful impact and the ability to endure and grow over time," says Mount Mercy Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing Fritz McDonald. "We've accomplished that by staying true to our institutional character. We're trying to build community around this brand in addition to raising awareness. 'Community' is an important word for Mount Mercy. It's a keystone of our mission and history, and our goal is to build a brand that inspires as many people as possible to become a part of that history."
The new billboards can be seen on I-380 and Blairs Ferry Road in Cedar Rapids, and will soon be up in other locations. Listeners can hear the Mount Mercy brand promise daily on NPR.