Brand Strategy

Our strategy celebrates our impact, elevates our strengths, captures our personality and defines what the world can expect from us. Simply put, it’s the blueprint for building our brand.

Our brand strategy is the result of a series of focused decisions that form the foundation for positioning our brand and executing the big idea. It’s a tool we should reference for future marketing plans, campaigns, events, communications and more.

Whom do we need to engage?
Stakeholders

What makes Purdue unique?
Brand Essence

What do we say and why does it matter?
Messaging

How do we look, sound and feel?
Personality

Audiences

Purdue engages with a profoundly diverse collection of audiences and individuals. Though needs vary dramatically across these groups, our brand story should remain consistent.

Our brand is built around five key stakeholder groups that shape the experience we create.

Key Stakeholders of Purdue Brand

Brand Essence

This statement articulates the conceptual core of our brand and serves as the underpinning for everything we say and do. Through this fundamental statement, various areas of Purdue University can move forward in their own unique way, having started from the same place.

Our brand essence distills the positioning statement into a succinct, memorable phrase. This is not meant to be a tagline, a slogan or a headline, but rather an internal expression that should be used as a recall device — a mental prompt as an anchor to our story. It serves as a gutcheck for the decisions we make and the spirit of everything we create.

THE CLEAREST, MOST CONCISE STATEMENT OF WHO WE ARE AS AN INSTITUTION. THIS “BIG IDEA” FORMS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR BRAND:

PURDUE UNIVERSITY IS ABOUT THE PERSISTENT PURSUIT OF INNOVATION WHERE PEOPLE BRING THEIR BEST AND LEARN TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD TOGETHER.

SIMPLY PUT:

PERSISTENT INNOVATION.
TOGETHER.

TIP

Revisit the brand essence from time to time. Make it part of your pre-writing ritual. Though these aren’t the exact phrases that will be used in our communications, they should echo through the community in the things we say, write and do.

Messaging

The message map prioritizes and organizes the most important messages for telling the Purdue story by illustrating the relationship between attributes and benefits. Our story always connects to the center of the map — the core value proposition. Based on the needs of the target audience and the specific message we need to deliver, we can determine an appropriate secondary message and proof points.

Building Our Story

This framework provides the foundation for brand messages that are clear, consistent and compelling.

Attributes: What We Offer

An attribute is what we offer to our audiences. Attributes include things like programs, facilities, culture and experiences.

Benefits: Why It Matters

A benefit is what our audiences get. It’s the value of the attributes that we offer, and why they matter.

Image of Purdue Brand Core Value

Message Map

With our brand essence as inspiration, we begin to shape our story around four pillars that make Purdue distinct: research, education, experience and culture. At the core of the map is the core value that we deliver our stakeholders, which is at the heart of what we do and why it matters. Secondary messages establish a point of view for our story, and specific supporting points prove our message true in very real and specific ways. 

Brand Message Map

How to Use the Message Map 

Step 1: Determine your audience and objective

Figure out who you’re talking to before you decide what to say and what you’re trying to achieve. 

Step 2: Determine the attributes

Consult the message map to align your topic with specific attributes. When possible, connect supporting points with a secondary message to strengthen your message. 

Step 3: Determine the benefit

Once you’ve established that your topic links to a brand attribute, you need to identify the benefit or benefits. (Note: In most cases, your audience cares more about the benefit than the attribute.) 

Step 4: Craft your message 

You may have found one benefit, or you may have found several. You’ll want to narrow your focus to the most important benefit — that’s what you need to get across first. Any supporting benefits should act as talking points, complemented by the attributes of the topic you are promoting. 

TIP

Try using the message map to determine the best angle for crafting featured stories. Look for an opportunity to frame the story through the lens of one of the secondary message points. For example, an undergraduate student who’s growth was accelerated by Purdue’s culture of persistence.

Alignment of Messaging Themes

To deepen our story and ensure it’s authenticity, we align key points under messaging themes. These themes directly support the core value proposition and give depth to our story, allowing various avenues of messaging that drives consistent and compelling storytelling.

By elevating pride points, core values and University priorities, we ensure that our story will stand true into the future.

Research focused on discovery to deliver INNOVATION
  • World-class thinking
  • Advanced technology and methods
  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Land-grant mission
  • Powerful partnerships
  • Open and cooperative spaces
  • New knowledge and possibilities
  • Future-focused applications
  • Enduring outcomes
  • World-changing research
  • Meaningful change
  • Broader impact
Education that fosters learning and earns RESPECT
  • Industry-leading excellence
  • STEM leadership
  • High rankings
  • Transformative education
  • Rigorous, pragmatic focus
  • Range of degree options
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Real-world experiences
  • Value and ROI
  • Noticeable confidence
  • Recognized accomplishment
  • Transformative growth
  • Credibility
  • Consistent achievement
An environment of INCLUSION that creates balance
  • Expansive opportunity
  • Affordable and accessible
  • Safe to explore
  • Online education
  • Diversity
  • More options and choices
  • Adaptable and nimble leaders
  • Well-roundedness
  • Honor
  • Self-discovery
  • Broader awareness
  • Greater security
  • Validation and acceptance
A culture of persistence that fosters GROWTH
  • Shared drive and persistence
  • Collaborative
  • Hard work
  • Deep care and devotion
  • Ethical and grounded
  • Integrity
  • Connections
  • Dedication to the journey
  • Momentum
  • Responsible decisions and actions
  • Pride
  • Family and community

Brand Personality

Personality is what humanizes our brand, bringing our messages to life with greater emotional strength and resonance. These characteristics and qualities help define the way our brand should look and feel — creating alignment between who we authentically are as an institution and how our brand comes to life.

How We Want People to Think About Purdue

Intentional

Focused, deliberate, serious, dedicated to process

Respected

Proven, valuable, credible, reliable, rigorous, a brand you can trust

Innovative

Intelligent, smart, insightful, a dot-connector

How We Want People to Feel About Purdue

Inclusive

A collaborative community, inviting, friendly, supportive, open-minded,
a family

Balanced

Confident but never arrogant, well-rounded, level-headed, smart but also human

Driven

Relentless, persistent, always leaning in

TIP

You don’t need to use all these traits every time. Choose the most relevant traits for your target audience. For an undergraduate piece, you might emphasize balanced, respected and inclusive; for a donor case statement, you might lean more on innovative, intentional and driven.