Even in this struggling economy, the speed of business zooms by in the blink of an eye with every phone call, text and click of a mouse. Often it may seem that the work day has gone by without much to show for it. Consider this. If you have stayed on task and met the expectations of your job description, as an employee or even as a business owner you should be able to mentally review your day, recalling a few instances where you helped grow your company’s brand.
To better evaluate your success rate for the day, it may help to start with a definition of the word brand. Ask ten colleagues how each one defines the word, brand. Not surprisingly, you will most likely receive ten completely different answers. Of a multitude available in textbooks and online, one definition of the word brand seems to sum it up best.
A brandis the essence or promise that a product, service or company will deliver or be experienced by a buyer.
To put this definition into perspective as it relates to your impact on your company’s brand, consider experiencing a brand that has seen continual growth and success. In this case, your destination will not include visiting a global giant but a university that once accepted pigs, chickens and vegetables in lieu of tuition. The location is High Point, North Carolina. The place is High Point University (HPU).
In many respects, High Point University was founded by a great deal of hope, faith and prayer. According to the university’s history page on its website, the Methodist Protestant Church, which is now part of The United Methodist Church, began supporting educational institutions in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the church was unsuccessful with Yadkin College. Opening in 1856, the college’s rural location in Davidson County became its undoing and the school closed in 1895.
It was the dream and close to 25 years of determination from Greensboro’s Reverend Joseph F. McCulloch that saw the Annual Conference vote to support a church-related facility in 1921. With the city of High Point’s considerable donation of 60 acres of land and $100,000, construction soon began and High Point College opened to students in 1924.
Not soon after classes were in session, the Great Depression hit. Struggling to keep its doors open, the College ended up owing its faculty as much as 15 years in back wages. Meanwhile, it began accepting chickens and pigs from students to pay for their tuition. Finally, the College declared bankruptcy in 1934. The university’s online information goes on to say that it wasn’t until after World War II and the influx of the ‘baby boom’ which tripled its enrollment that the College began to prosper.
Success By The Numbers
Jump to 2011 where university officials say campus sizehas more than doubled, from 91 to 300 acres. The number of undergraduates has gone up significantly from 1,450 to 3,800. HPU employees have increased from 462 to 1003.
The annual economic impact of the university is $415 million, and faculty, staff and students donate more than 30,000 hours of service to the community each year. In September 2010, the university announced plans to increase its 10-year ‘transformational growth plan’ to $2.1 billion. That’s a far cry from accepting livestock and vegetables as payment to keep students in the classrooms. High Point University says growth has its rewards.
“Response from students, families, college counselors and national media has been so phenomenal that the High Point University Board of Trustees approved increasing the investment in this massive transformation from $300 million to $2.1 billion,” Qubein said in a news release issued by the university. “Our future is promising.”
Suffice to say, High Point University is doing more than just something right. Although HPU cannot be considered a ‘corporation,’ ‘company’ or ‘business,’ this university offers several examples of the word brand, as it is defined above, and is prime real estate to experience brand success. But if your work schedule or geographic location will not allow you the time for a campus tour, maybe a few insights from a member of the university’s leadership team will spark some ideas to help you better serve a successful brand experience to your customers.
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In Did you help grow your company’s brand today Part 2, we find out what High Point University is doing to offer an extraordinary educational experience that may bring value to your own company’s brand experience.
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