Introducing UMass Lowell's New Messaging System
The basics of UMass Lowell's new messaging system include three themes and a tagline:
- Work ready
- Life ready
- World ready
Learning with Purpose
Learn about why we need a messaging system, the process used in developing it and some guidelines for using it below.
What is a Messaging System?
A messaging system combines three or four integrated themes to tell an interesting, inviting story, spark curiosity and leave people wanting to know more. A messaging system helps the whole institution become more than the sum of its parts and differentiates us from everyone else.
A messaging system includes intentional concept and language choices that brand the institution. If we don't define our brand, others will.
The messaging system includes talking or copy points that articulate and animate the themes, and an elevator speech that condenses it all into five to six sentences.
Why Use a Messaging System?
UMass Lowell can't possibly be all things to all people. Focusing on selected messages helps reduce the clutter and conflict that are competitive disadvantages. A messaging system allows us to lead with a few concepts that open the door to everything else.
Colleges and universities are highly competitive. The market – our potential students, donors, funders, etc. – is inundated, indifferent and resistant. Breaking through that competitive environment requires a systematic, disciplined approach carried out over time. Using accessible, compelling and memorable messaging moves the conversation from description to prescription and from attributes to promises. It gives us the framework to speak to the needs and wants of the audience in their own terms.
How Was the Messaging System Developed?
The yearlong process of developing this system involved market research with numerous on- and off-campus audiences. Their feedback was filtered through several UMass Lowell groups including a cross-campus Messaging Committee pulled together for this purpose. The process and background on Maguire Associates, which facilitated the process is also available.
Elements of the UMass Lowell Messaging System and Why They Work
- Fundamental Concepts
Three fundamental concepts rose powerfully from the research and discussion, and go to the heart of UMass Lowell: Purpose, Work and Readiness.
- Why Do These Three Concepts Work?
These are serious, purposeful times when the drive for meaning has surpassed pretention. The world, the country and the region are all focused on competition and the creation of meaningful jobs and valuable careers. In the spirit of recovery and re-examination of purpose, we are surrounded by constant reminders of the value of work and work ethic. Students want to know how to be ready, reinforcing their role in working with faculty and staff as co-collaborators in their own success.
- Our Primary Audience
In our messaging system, students take the lead. Traditional undergraduate students and their parents are our primary audience, followed closely by traditional graduate students, non-traditional campus-based students and distance learners.
- Positioning UMass Lowell
The positioning statement informs the substance and tone of the UMass Lowell messaging system. It points to how we tell our story, as well as what we tell.
- The UMass Lowell messaging system:
- Leans toward outcomes,
- Is conveyed with facts and stories so it reaches both affective and cognitive domains in the minds of our audiences and
- Uses language that is real and authentic.
University Relations will maintain a Why UMass Lowell page with proof points that support all elements in the messaging system.
The Messaging System
These three concepts form the basis for the messaging system:
- Work ready
- Life ready
- World ready
- Ready for work
- Ready for life
- Ready for the world
Message 1: Work Ready
High-quality academics coupled with vigorous "hands-on" experiential learning and personal attention from top faculty and staff at UMass Lowell will help you become "work ready," wanted and trusted by employers and graduate schools alike.
Message 2: Life Ready
A high-energy, residential campus in the heart of a vibrant global community, UMass Lowell will deliver the growth and confidence – the fun and friendships, too – to help students become "life ready."
Message 3: World Ready
UMass Lowell graduates are "world ready," thoroughly tested here, trusted by employers and graduate schools, and well qualified, motivated, and encouraged to build meaningful careers in today's global economy. That's a powerful lifelong return on their educational investment.
A Message Becomes the Tagline: Learning with Purpose
You have a career and life purpose. Or you may be searching for one. The quality of UMass Lowell's academic programs, experiential, "hands-on" learning and personal attention from accomplished faculty and staff will help you find and achieve your purpose. Now that's learning with purpose!
How to Use Messages as Headlines
"Work ready," "Life ready" and "World ready" can be used together or separately as headlines and introductory phrases. However, they should never be combined with other descriptors, as in "work ready, affordable, reliable," for instance.
How to Use Messages in Text
If you are using "work ready," "life ready" and "world ready" as themes in text, the Public Affairs Office is available to help you weave those themes into the materials you are developing. An example pulled from Fall 2011 recruitment materials, appears below. With a UMass Lowell education, you'll be ready to:
- Contribute meaningfully in the workplace, whatever you choose to do,
- Build a life around the passions and principles you develop here, and
- Take your place in the world – and make a difference in it, too.
Message-Based Descriptions of UMass Lowell Elevator Speech
The elevator speech (so named because it can be completed in the length of an elevator ride) provides a short description of UMass Lowell:
UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff. A comprehensive, national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community, UMass Lowell helps students get ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.
UMass Lowell's affordable price enables graduates, unburdened by high debt, to have more choice in their careers. UMass Lowell students are thoroughly tested, so they are favored and trusted by employers and graduate schools alike.
That's learning with purpose.
Boilerplate Description of UMass Lowell
This description is used on all UMass Lowell press releases and would be appropriate in any document requiring a short overview statement:
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.