Brand Attributes: The Pillars of Progress

By The Creative & Marketing Group, May 7, 2021
A closer look at the four attributes that support our "Progress" brand position.

If you’ve read previous entries in this blog, you may remember the four brand attributes that support our brand position “A Place Called Progress.” (Because they support the brand position, these attributes are also sometimes referred to as brand pillars.) 

  • Progress Beyond the Degree 
  • Progress is Shaped by Ithaca 
  • Progress is in the Design of Learning 
  • Ithaca Leads with Progress 

You may also recall these attributes weren’t plucked out of thin air. They were the result of lots of research, data, and insights done through a discovery phase and focused on IC specifically as well as the higher education market more broadly.  On top of that, the attributes were affirmed through conversation, input, and feedback across our campus community. They speak to IC’s distinctive educational experience, values, spirit, culture, and strengths, as lived by us.

Progress Beyond the Degree

It’s easy to think of “progress” as a continual push forward. That sort of view doesn’t account for the unmapped twists, turns, or detours along the journey to any goal, whether it be a college diploma or some other accomplishment.  

College isn’t about checking boxes and filling requirements. Neither is life. This attribute speaks to the broader, cumulative experiences that expand our minds and temper our mettle, sometimes in grand fashion, other times imperceptible (at first). This is the spirit of IC’s purpose-focused programs that promote not just a skillset, but a mindset, too, and which build lifelong networks.  

In short, this attribute encompasses continual improvement and personal growth so we become not just WHAT we want to be, but WHO we want to be, as well.   

Progress is Shaped by Ithaca 

We know it: Ithaca is a unique and special place. There’s natural splendor aplenty, but it’s more than our “gorges” geography. There’s a special community here as well – on South Hill and within the city and surrounding areas as well.  

Prospective students (and their loved ones), though, often need to be introduced to this community and shown that it’s one where they will be both challenged and simultaneously supported. Students will find their people here – friends, mentors, role models. And by finding their people, they will carve out their own spaces within the larger community and find themselves. 

Those who join as faculty or staff will be welcomed by a community that shares their values and respects their individuality. They will settle into a location that offers not just a great place to work, but to live, play, and even raise families.

We’re proud of the fact that we’re ranked in the top 10 for LGBTQ+-friendly colleges, or consistently named a number one college town. But “Ithaca” is not just this pinpoint on the map. The community—and its culture—extends to the West Coast, in our Los Angeles Center, and across the pond to the London Center, and indeed stretches across the globe. “IC” is both a physical location and a figurative one.   

Progress is in the Design of Learning

“Theory, Practice, Performance.” It’s not just a mantra, but forms the core of our approach to education: experiential, immersive, and non-linear. Students are encouraged to take risks, embrace setbacks and revise their efforts, and iterate their way to success.   

Our five schools offer top tier facilities and equipment for students to pursue their education and their dreams: professional science labs for serious research and experimentation; clinical space for physical and occupational therapies; practice rooms and performance halls; stages and prop shops; television and radio studios; our stunning natural lands; and so much more.   

All of those professional programs are undergirded by our strong focus on liberal arts requirements and programs. And for those unsure of which paths they wish to pursue while at IC, we offer our Exploratory Program and a myriad of interdisciplinary opportunities, as well.   

Ithaca Leads with Progress 

The previous attributes are meant to convey how “progress” is infused throughout our curriculum, community, and indeed the whole IC experience.   

This final attribute is meant to showcase how leadership throughout the college – not just administration, but within the schools, among the faculty, and among our students – embraces and commits to progress in their own ways. 

It’s about being at the forefront of improvement and transformation, even when such a position may be unpopular or against the grain. It means having the courage to break from traditions that may have otherwise been preserved in the past. Stagnation does not promote progress.  

Individually, any of these four attributes offer compelling angles to showcase Ithaca College to the world through our various channels and messaging. Together, they add up to who we are.   

In our next post, we’ll explore some of the work that’s gone into a new recruitment campaign effort, to start delivering on these four attributes and begin getting “A Place Called Progress” into the world.  

Thoughts or questions? Email progress@ithaca.edu.