Making the Brand: UWG’s ‘Go West’ Campaign Receives Higher Ed Marketing Awards

Colton Campbell

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

The University of West Georgia has received two merit awards at the 33rd annual Education Advertising Awards hosted by Higher Ed Marketing – one for a television spot titled “Who Goes West?” and another for an institutional video.

Since its launch almost nine years ago, UWG’s “Go West” brand has earned nearly three-dozen regional and national awards in marketing and advertising.

“We are excited and honored to be recognized in this way for the meaningful work we’ve done to position UWG as the innovative, forward-thinking institution we know and love,” said Jami Bower, UWG’s associate vice president of communications and marketing. “For UWG to continue to be acknowledged for the quality of the ‘Go West’ brand is a testament to the sustainability of this powerful creative concept developed by our agency partner, Mindpower.”

UWG partnered with Mindpower Inc., an Atlanta-based marketing firm, in 2010 to create a stronger brand presence for the university.

“Our first task was to complete extensive marketing research in conjunction with UWG’s College of Social Sciences Center for Research,” Bower said. “We wanted a benchmark on how well UWG was known in the region, and we needed to know if any of the transformative experiences that can be found at UWG were attributed to our university by our prospects and stakeholders. Armed with this knowledge, UWG’s communications office and Mindpower had the basis for creating a unique and compelling brand presence that has been enthusiastically supported by university leadership as enrollment has increased.”

Since its initial launch, the “Go West” brand has been refreshed three times with different treatments of color, fonts and imagery. Bower said the most recent refresh – deployed earlier this year – was built with a keen eye toward Generation Z, individuals born in 2000 or after who comprise the majority of prospective students in UWG’s target market.

“With our most recent messaging, we’ve tried to stay salient by balancing the polished marketing that elevates us as a university with honest, authentic storytelling to which prospective students can more easily relate,” Bower said. “One of the reasons for the success of this brand is the thoroughness with which the graphics, language, signage, and look and feel of the concept have been incorporated in every facet of university life.”

That full incorporation of the “Go West” brand can be seen all over UWG’s campus, with students who “Live West,” “Dine West,” and “Serve West” and alumni who “Went West” and now “Give West.”

“The essence of our university is that it’s a land of opportunity and that we’re not bound by tradition,” Bower said. “The language and the imagery we’ve highlighted over the past nine years shows that students can enroll here and explore countless opportunities to transform their lives. It’s a unique way to tell a story, particularly in higher education, and we’re proud to have leveraged the word ‘west’ as a metaphor for everything positive that affects our students’ lives here at UWG.”

One lasting impression made by the “Go West” brand can be seen in a public relations textbook published earlier this year. “Cases in Public Relations Strategy” features UWG’s brand identity as a case study in its first chapter. Bower worked with Dr. Amber Smallwood in UWG’s Department of Mass Communications to complete the submission.