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New York University Silver School of Social Work

New York University Silver School of Social Work

Messaging, Brand Positioning, Strategic Communications Planning

Background

The New York University Silver School of Social Work has been at the forefront of clinical education and social change for 50 years. The roll out of a new Strategic Plan, underscoring the Dean’s vision to more closely integrate research and clinical work, expand globally and increase student and faculty diversity, required new messaging and brand positioning. This came at a time when other leading schools had staked out brand identities in clear, declarative and aspirational language, and as competition for students, faculty and research funding all were increasing.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants, working with the leadership of the School, including the Dean and the head of marketing/communications, began our engagement by conducting a competitive analysis of more than a dozen graduate schools of social work, assessing student demographics, placements, and key messaging.  We then carried out focus groups and individual interviews among 70 faculty, students, alumni, donors, and employers of Silver graduates seeking insight into the distinctiveness of Silver programs, core strengths and challenges, the value of a Silver degree, and the impact of graduates on the individuals and communities they serve.

Results

A key challenge to Silver’s repositioning was to elevate the growing role and impact of research at a school historically known for its exemplary clinical work. The new messaging stakes out Silver as an innovator, moving the field forward. Building on a legacy of commitment to social and economic justice, messaging highlights service to diverse global communities and the intersection of research and clinical, where research informs practice, and practice informs research.  Silver now intends to apply the messaging across multiple platforms for use by the admissions and placement departments, donors, faculty recruiters, and others. The new messaging also has been integrated into a broad strategic communications plan MTC created for the School.

Archive

  • Seigle’s, Inc.

    “Melcher+Tucker are long on thoughtful advice, old and new market savvy, and media sense.  Their earned media results were remarkable.”

    Harry Seigle former chairman of Seigle’s Inc. and founder and principal of The Elgin Company

    Remaking a Homebuilding Icon

    Seigle's, Inc., one of the country’s largest regional manufacturers and distributors of building supplies, embarked on a strategy to focus predominately on the professional builder, shifting away from direct-to-consumer sales. Deciding not to compete with the big-box retailers, Seigle's concentrated on building relationships with both local and national homebuilders, and began preparing for its largest acquisition, a deal, which would cement its strategic change of direction. Yet, the $260 million, family-owned company based in Elgin, IL, lacked significant visibility and for its new strategy and branding.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began a comprehensive engagement to help define the company’s brand proposition and carry out strategic positioning to raise Seigle's profile among key constituents. Media relations activities included targeting local and national trade and general interest publications, aimed at promoting the new corporate strategy; establishing Seigle's executives as knowledgeable sources on industry and economic issues; and, highlighting distinctive policies such as corporate governance. MTC also helped develop a series of customer forums and accompanying monographs designed to increase awareness and credibility, and rewrote all of the website content.

    Seigle's new strategy was featured in major profiles in papers ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and throughout the industry’s leading trade journals. Owner-brothers Harry and Mark Seigle authored columns, and became regular sources for industry stories. In less than 18 months, MTC helped Seigle's convey its key messages to its core audiences. In September of 2005, Seigle's was sold to Stock Building Supply near the height of the housing cycle.

  • JPMorgan Chase

    Contributing to Communities in Which It Operates

    JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, began planning its first “Community Partnership Report,” a publication that was to demonstrate to employees, investors and other stakeholders the firm’s commitment to support “healthy, vibrant communities where we live and work,” in the words of former Chairman Bill Harrison. With operations in 50 countries, the challenge was to select case studies that represent the firm’s interests in community revitalization, public education, and arts and culture – and, to write the profiles in an analytical style similar to that in the best news magazines.

    Working with JPMorgan Chase executives around the world in marketing, corporate and social responsibility, philanthropy and community development departments, Melcher+Tucker Consultants was responsible for reporting and writing the case studies that form the core of the 48-page Community Partnership Report. We interviewed dozens of sources at the bank, at community and cultural organizations around the world, and among those directly benefiting from the firm’s activities – from London to Dallas to Johannesburg and Hong Kong. The case studies we produced: Brooklyn, “Revitalizing Downtown;” Texas, “Building Sustainable Communities;” London, “Inspiring Children;” South Africa, “Opening Doors to Opportunity;” and, Hong Kong, “Responding to SARS.”

    The Community Partnership Report was distributed to JPMorgan Chase stakeholders around the world, and made prominently available on its web site. The report was widely praised for its breadth of coverage, stunning photographs, and, perhaps most important, crisp and sensitive writing that illustrated the firm’s impact on communities it serves.

  • Cannon Design

    Creating Path-breaking Architecture for Clients Worldwide

    OWP/P l Cannon Design is a leading architecture, design and engineering firm specializing in healthcare, education and corporate/commercial design. Operating as OWP/P, before its merger with Cannon Design, the firm, with offices in Chicago and Phoenix, sought to raise its visibility both locally and nationally for individual architects, specific projects and other areas of expertise in an effort to distinguish the firm’s work and ideas.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began the engagement assisting industry leadership teams in developing internal messaging for the roll out of a new strategic plan. We then worked with each of the firm’s practice leaders and marketing coordinators in Chicago and Phoenix on a range of activities, from media training and writing press releases to story development and promotion of people, new projects, special programs, and trends, both to Chicago-area and national trade and general-interest media. We also were involved in developing the messages and media plan for the firm’s 50th anniversary celebration held in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Throughout, we positioned leaders as expert resources on projects and trends, including sustainable design, healthcare technology and prototypes for new schools.

    The firm, its innovative approach to design and its leaders have been featured in profiles in such major media as FastCompany (where we also launched an education design blog), the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Chicago Public Radio, and Architect. OWP/P, which merged with Cannon Design in 2009, is a global leader in both its operating approach to architecture and its delivery of built work across a range of industry sectors, with widespread awareness of its brand and operating philosophy.