Real Campaign coverCandler School of Theology at Emory University has been awarded the Circle of Excellence Silver Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for its “Real” branding campaign. The Circle of Excellence is the premier international awards program for advancement, communications and marketing functions in the field of education. Candler won second place in the Institution-Wide Branding Programs division.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with this honor,” said Dean Jan Love. “‘Real’ is a bold new approach for Candler, and we’re delighted it got us all to ‘sing the same hymn’ about what makes our school distinct among seminaries – and helped to generate a significant increase in the number and quality of our applicants.”

"Real," Candler’s first-ever aligned and integrated branding campaign, contributed to a 25 percent increase in Master of Divinity applications for the 2012-2013 school year and the largest total applicant pool in five years.

The campaign’s slogan, "Candler prepares real people to make a real difference in the real world," is supported by six key messages about what makes Candler unique: Real People, Real Commitment, Real Dialogue, Real Possibilities, Real Change and Real International Engagement. These messages are illustrated in a series of compelling stories and photos about Candler students, faculty and alumni. The "Real" stories are packaged in bold, fresh graphics for Candler's presentations, displays, and web and print communications.

Laurel Hanna, Candler’s director of communications, and April Bogle, an Atlanta-based communications consultant, worked together to create and implement the campaign over a 10-month period. The team worked with local marketing firm Nolen & Associates to create new collateral that brings “Real” to life.

“We focused considerable time and energy in lifting Candler’s brand and communications strategy to match the long-standing excellence of the faculty and student body. Laurel Hanna is a remarkable team leader, and we have benefitted immeasurably from April Bogle’s strategic wisdom,” said Love.

One hundred percent of incoming 2011-2012 students responding to a survey about the campaign said "Real" sends a positive, accurate message about Candler; nearly half said they decided to attend Candler in part because of "Real."

Wrote one survey respondent, "I was immediately struck by the simplicity and power of the slogan, 'Real people making a real difference in the real world.' After slogging through complicated language and mission statements from other seminaries, I immediately connected with this 'real' idea."

CASE issues Circle of Excellence Awards to acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results. Winning programs epitomize the profession's best practices, raise standards and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about advancement.