There was a great deal of activity during Phase 4, as the input from the first three phases was used to design, research, test and present the University’s strategic direction.
All work was grounded in the Phase 1 Point of View and Design Constraints. And while the first three phases focused on creating a Big Idea that is authentic to WMU (real), Phase Four was about focusing the Big Idea to ensure it is relevant to our stakeholders and rare, making us special and competitive.
The predominant activities in Phase Four were:
- Marketing research with prospective undergraduate and graduate students, parents of prospective undergraduates, alumni, high school guidance counselors, business leaders, faculty and staff, and current students. The goal of the research was to provide a baseline measure of the strength of the Western brand, relative to competitors, and test the prototype that surfaced in Phase 3.
- We also conducted a competitive analysis to assess our competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how they talk about themselves.
- With the good thinking of the Phase 4 Design Team and Integrated Leadership (the President’s Cabinet and Provost’s Council combined), a simple framework was built that integrated existing and new offerings into a unified, valuable student experience that reaches across the entire Western experience inside and outside the classroom.