New brand campaign showcases WCU’s unique and vibrant culture

This press release was written by Benny Smith, executive director of WCU communications and marketing. 

After a soft roll-out in the fall of 2022, Western Carolina University’s new brand campaign, “Live Western,” is in full swing for 2023, kicking off with a January launch party on its Cullowhee campus.

So why is WCU choosing to launch a new campaign now?

“Live Western provides the opportunity to showcase the personal experiences of our students, faculty and staff,” said Travis Jordan, WCU’s chief marketing and communications officer. “To Live Western means something different to everyone. By honing in on the individual experiences, it allows us to tell a collective story on why Western stands above the rest as a regional comprehensive university.”

In 2021, WCU started market research to better understand its perception in the higher education market, complete a competitive audit and identify opportunities for growth, and define its institutional personality for a statewide brand campaign.

WCU partnered with Carnegie, a full-service agency, to help with the research project. More than 500 students, faculty, staff and alumni participated in a survey. That data was used to define the university’s brand personality with a Jungian archetype methodology.

The Live Western campaign was derived from the university’s top three personality types, which are: Supportive Advocate, Experiential Adventurer and Determined Enthusiast.

Each of these top three personality archetypes are all true and authentic to WCU and can be used in a variety of communications. The following categories were developed to help tell the story of WCU: courageous exploration, meaningful connections, deep learning and blazing a trail.

Through these storytelling categories, the great things WCU faculty, staff, students and alumni are doing are showcased. This also shows that the university not only provides quality and affordable education to its students, but it also provides Western North Carolina and the state a job-ready workforce, economic development opportunities, partnerships with local and regional businesses and a strong sense of community.

Over the past year, WCU’s University Communications and Marketing team took the research and findings and began the process of building a new brand campaign.

“After the ‘Decide to Succeed’ campaign, we knew we needed to build upon that to not only showcase the unique and vibrant culture on campus, but to also elevate our incredible academics and world-class faculty,” Jordan said.

The Live Western campaign tells the story of what makes the culture at WCU so unique, why our alumni keep coming home to Cullowhee, the differences we make in our local, regional and national communities and that our faculty and staff will be with our students every step of the way on their higher education journey.

North Carolinians will continue to see the campaign in their markets on billboards, TV, print, streaming services and social media.

For more information about the campaign, visit

The “Live Western” launch party will take place Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Blue Ridge conference room.