Case Study

Case Study: University Seeks to Understand How Key Stakeholders Perceive their Brand

Three happy students dressed casual using tablet for school project and sitting at desk in library.

Client’s Industry: Education, University

Client: Midsized University in a Large Class of Institutions

Client’s Challenge

The university leadership is competing for recognition and ultimately students in a field of larger, better-known universities and smaller college and university options within the region. The last brand perception study was conducted more than 10 years prior. To make matters worse, the university was losing students and mid-career faculty to other institutions. Leadership was concerned also about the decline in enrollment numbers.

The needs were two-fold. First, to understand what the current perception was and then, to identify what attributes are most valued and assess the university against the competitive set of university brands.


Prime46 partnered with the university to gather the opinions of stakeholders from students to faculty and staff, recruiters and counselors from area high schools. The goal of the study was to listen for consistencies and inconsistencies and establish a base of how the brand is viewed as compared to other area institutions.

The first phase of the study included interviews and small group discussions with members of each stakeholder group. The second phase of the study included several online surveys, one for each of the stakeholder groups designed to validate the findings discovered in the first phase of the study.


The study provided the university’s executive leadership a new view of the university, as seen from each of the stakeholder groups providing opinions for the study. The findings identified where alignment was strong as well as areas for improvement. Stakeholder-specific messaging was identified, providing the university the means to further distinguish itself as a leading institution in specific centers of excellence.

Armed with these new insights, the client was able to:

  • Provided executive leadership insights for each of the stakeholder groups
  • Deliver consistent themes for on campus and off campus communications
  • Develop specific brand messaging based on characteristics that resonated among stakeholder groups


Prime46 was able to deliver insights for the client by systematically working with each of the stakeholder groups to evaluate and assess their opinions on a variety of topics relevant to the study.