Staying Proud of Your Alma Mater
A prominent liberal arts university decided to begin a comprehensive program of research into the university’s image and standing among its most important constituencies. Although a top academic institution, the university is not well known outside its home region.
The university commissioned Potomac Incorporated for this undertaking. As the first step, Potomac assessed the alumni community.
Potomac designed a research program to include both a qualitative phase to gather broad impressions from small groups of alumni, and a quantitative phase to measure how widely held these ideas are across the entire alumni population.
For the qualitative phase, Potomac undertook a total of seven focus group discussions in three cities. For the quantitative phase, Potomac interviewed by telephone a cross-section of 700 alumni nationwide.
As a key feature of this program, Potomac targeted two of the focus groups and 207 of the telephone interviews to graduates of the university’s law school. Additional questions were asked of this important alumni group.
Based on the research, the university is designing a national public relations campaign to tout its special advantages and academic strengths.
In short, the alumni interviewed appeared ready to have an even closer connection to their alma mater than university administrators anticipated. They are eager to participate in the telling of the story of their alma mater so that others could understand this special experience. Alumni provided critical input of communications tools, alumni programs, and fundraising messages – all of which will shape new approaches to reaching this important core constituency.
Potomac is expected to perform continued research for this university.