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U.S. COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY MOTTOS
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FOLSOM, CA – (Marketwired – April 5, 2016) – TaglineGuru™, one of the world’s leading verbal branding agencies, today released its survey of the Top 100 U.S. College & University Mottos.
According to 250 leading branding, marketing, and ad agency professionals, “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” (Oberlin College) was ranked #1 out of more than 400 nominated mottos.
Rounding out the top 10 are “A voice crying out in the wilderness” (Dartmouth College); “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” (Antioch College); “Splendor without end” (Boise State University); “Be opened” (Gallaudet University); “North of ordinary” (University of Maine at Presque Isle); “We’re not for everyone…but then, maybe you’re not everyone” (Warren Wilson College); “Duty, honor, country” (United States Military Academy); “The character of success” (Bryant University); and “The wind of freedom blows” (Stanford University).
Rankings were based on whether the mottos embodied a school’s style or character; told a compelling and memorable story; were original in their expression or point of view; and inspired others to visit, learn more, or donate more.
To qualify, mottos were restricted to 4-year, accredited, not-for-profit, private and public, American colleges and universities. Only one motto was selected from each school, including any current marketing or fundraising tagline used as part of an annual or ongoing campaign. All mottos had to be written in English, including those translated from Latin or another language.
According to Eric Swartz, president of Tagline Guru, “Of the 1,500 college and university mottos that were researched for this survey, a little more than one-fourth were eligible for nomination, and only a third of those nominated received any votes.
Whereas the vast majority of academic mottos tend to be dry, redundant, or esoteric, echoing the ironic motto, “Knowledge is Good,” which graced the statue of Emile Faber in the movie Animal House, the ones that stand out typically use more colorful language, express a tangible benefit or promise, and communicate an inviting or engaging message.”
Swartz continues: “The rankings also clearly reveal that while many college mottos are traditional by nature, emphasizing revered attributes such as truth, knowledge, wisdom, and learning, the more daring ones push the brand envelope by expressing a more uncommon vision, attitude, or experience.”
The top 100 college and university mottos break down as follows:
|Type of Institution:
||University (66%); College (32%); Other (2%)
|Private or Public:
||Private (55%); Public (44%); Other (1%)
||1700s (4%); 1800s (65%); 1900s (31%)
||40 plus the District of Columbia
|Most Mottos by State:
||New York (8); Massachusetts (7); North Carolina (7); Ohio (5)
“Although academic mottos don’t have as much visibility as their corporate or city slogan counterparts,” said Swartz, “there are some real gems out there. Not all mottos should be judged by their ivy-covered crests or Latin-inscribed seals. Many of their age-old messages still resonate to this day – in prose that ranges from charming to eloquent.
It’s also evident that many of the taglines developed on behalf of college outreach programs are not only strategically competitive and creatively-inspired, but they’ve also been instrumental in wooing new students, anxious parents, and prospective donors.”
Swartz continues: “We hope this survey will encourage colleges and universities to reexamine their branding initiatives and opportunities, breathe life into their ancient mottos, or craft a persuasive and nuanced tagline that will gain traction beyond the hallowed halls of their institution.”
To honor mottos that have taken the road less traveled, Tagline Guru also released the results of the first annual Big Motto on Campus (BMOC) Awards, whose categories range from friendliest and most uplifting to most unpretentious and politically correct.
A division of The Byline Group™, Tagline Guru™ specializes in the creation and packaging of slogans, names, and brand messaging platforms for companies, non-profits, cities, universities, and other organizations.
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