With uncertain economic times looming large across the world, launching the most ambitious capital campaign Washington University in St. Louis’ history demanded a deeper connection with a larger group of alumni than ever before. And, with less than 180 days until the launch of its $2.2 billion capital campaign, Washington University in St. Louis needed to move fast.
For The Cohl Group, this meant discovering which elements of Washington University resonated most strongly with the experience and aspirations of its alumni, students, faculty, and friends—and developing a strategy for engagement—at warp speed.
Normally, such situations are met with uncomfortable compromise, rather than true consensus. Working in close collaboration with the university’s leaders, we immersed ourselves in the life of the university, its people, and its incredible potential to positively impact the community—and our world.
Despite a compressed schedule with hard deadlines looming large during each phase, the immersion process and extraordinary people of Washington University inspired us indelibly. From discussion groups with students, alumni, and faculty, to university leadership, and community leaders, we found a collective and extraordinarily collaborative spirit.
Indeed, we found the people of Washington University in St. Louis to be truly committed to their community—and each other. While each stakeholder recognized the challenges facing the university, they firmly believed that now was the time for Washington University to lead.
To us, this commitment to collaboration, community, creativity, and concern, was nothing new. The spirit of the university was imbedded in its history. Born of a time of great political division, Washington University in St. Louis was founded in the spirit of unity, inquiry, and public devotion. Indeed, the people of Washington University are as committed to each other, as they are dedicated to caring, to curing, to creating a better world.
The solution was self-evident. The campaign’s communications strategy needed to be a collective declaration of the university’s glowing accomplishments and its growing aspirations.
Together, we learn.
Together, we discover.
Together, we change lives.
Together, we save lives.
Together, we lead—committed to the advancement of our students, our scholars—and a world in need.
Building upon this theme, we created a comprehensive messaging matrix, which articulated the campaign goals of university in a language designed to connect deeply with each constituency.
From the invitations to the campaign’s opening gala, to targeted communications, our team worked diligently, and most of all collaboratively, to ensure that Leading Together would be launched on time—and that it would inspire its community to further invest in the university’s continuing success.