The Ohio Department of Higher Education is a government agency that oversees higher education in Ohio, including developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens.
The ALIGN campaign is part of the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s (ODHE) Changing Campus Culture initiative, a state-wide effort to better respond to, and ultimately prevent, campus sexual violence. Since 2015, Changing Campus Culture has proactively encouraged all of Ohio’s college and university campuses to embrace five cornerstone practices to address this pervasive problem: 1) Use data to drive action; 2) Respond to sexual violence on campus with evidence-based training; 3) Communicate a culture of shared respect and responsibility; 4) Develop a comprehensive response policy; and 5) Adopt a survivor-centered response.
To support recommendation number three, ODHE hired Prosper for Purpose to develop a social norming campaign that will be implemented in 87 of the state’s college and university campuses. The ALIGN campaign’s main objective is to unite higher education institutions in Ohio — through consistent messaging and imagery — with a shared commitment to end campus sexual violence.
National studies show that more than 11% of all college students experience sexual violence on campus. Among LGBTQI and female students, these statistics are even higher; 73% and 23% respectively. Time and again, research suggests that there is little public faith in institutional processes of responding to sexual assault accusations and altercations. Because of this mistrust, survivors have a tendency to underreport sexual assault crimes to authorities. For victims, the ramifications of sexual violence can last a lifetime — survivors are far more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, contemplate suicide, and abuse drugs and alcohol.
ODHE was in need of a powerful, inclusive campaign that could be utilized by both private and public higher education institutions to promote a culture of shared respect and responsibility, dispel certain harmful myths and ultimately create new social norms. The state-wide campaign also needed to seamlessly incorporate into each campus’ local efforts and initiatives.
Using our proprietary brand development process, Prosper for Purpose uncovered and solidified a campaign identity, extracted and refined key messages and lead the design of visual assets.
Throughout the development of the ALIGN campaign materials, Prosper for Purpose continuously sought feedback from both campus and community partners to ensure the resources were beneficial and provided real value. Partner outreach was critical during the creation of the campaign materials. As leaders in the effort to create systemic change, campus and community partners understand first-hand the importance of creating a safe environment for all.
Prosper for Purpose developed ALIGN’s imagery and messaging to be purposely broad, so each institution is able to amend campaign assets to support current, homegrown, on-campus initiatives. In addition, several pieces of campaign materials were designed with customizable elements to allow the colleges and universities to integrate school mascots, logos or colors for effective co-branding. The customization also allows each institution to create calls-to-action that are specific to campus systems, processes and procedures.
The ALIGN campaign will launch in the fall 2019 semester with results reporting starting in the ODHE 2019-2020 Annual Campus Climate Survey.
Moreover, Prosper for Purpose used public relations, marketing and communications best practices to set each institution up for success, including providing a high-level implementation strategy, an online toolkit and suggestions for the campaign launch.