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Executing the brand

Learn the ASU brand platform

ASU’s brand platform is an enduring, strategic internal statement that defines and guides the positioning of the university in the marketplace. It informs how ASU’s brand essence is communicated and it helps keep those communications and creative manifestations consistent, unified and complementary.

The ASU brand platform was developed in 2014 to:

  • Provide a unified direction for marketing communications, strategy and development of tactics.
  • Create and sustain competitive insulation.
  • Secure loyalty from different constituents.
  • Optimize resources and efforts across ASU.

Two key principles were adopted in order to develop an ASU brand platform that would endure:

  1. Understand the fundamental human values in the context of getting a college education, and effectively position ASU as the ideal route to achieve a high-priority value.
  2. The most overall appealing expressions of fundamental human values are the ones most relevant to “new customers” — in our case, students.

Fundamental human values are:

  • Enduring beliefs tied inextricably to emotion, not objective ideas. They are abstract and transcend specific actions or situations.
  • Motivational constructs or desirable goals that people strive to attain.
  • Standards or criteria that guide selection or evaluation of actions, policies, people and events.

Process to establish an enduring ASU brand platform:

Phase 1:

Through research with hundreds of constituents we explored the landscape of fundamental human values:

Fundamental human values landscape

With the narrowed scope of values identified in phase 1, we screened multiple platform concepts with constituents. Through this refinement phase we discovered that “On my way to a better life” is the best bet for an enduring ASU brand platform based on the highest-priority values for ASU's target audience within our competitive landscape.

platform testing results

Phase 3:

Through iterative screening we determined the best visual and verbal signals associated with ASU's brand platform and ensured that they are appealing to the entry point. Hundreds of images and messages were tested in the initial brand platform process. See the Elements of the Brand section for tips and examples on-platform photography and messages.

ASU brand platform and the ASU Charter

The two are neither synonymous nor competitive. The ASU Charter for the New American University model conveys what we do as an institution. The ASU brand platform conveys why we do it in a way that is motivating and relevant for constituents. 

ASU Brand Platform

Learn to thrive®

Our brand platform is expressed through our tag line, “Learn to thrive.” This articulates the university mission of accountability for a student’s life success — not just academic success — in a memorable way.

  • “Thrive” carries an emotional power that is greater than success, prosperity or recognition as an end benefit. It connotes growth and the ability to triumph over obstacles, two aspects of life that are important to students in research.
  • “Thrive” is an ideal springboard for telling ASU’s story of inclusiveness — no matter who we are, we should have the tools we need to thrive. That inclusive message can be tailored to specific targets, age cohorts and geographical reach.
  • Learning to thrive speaks to a lifelong journey, not just the time required to get a degree. It is a frame of reference that alumni and faculty as well as students can relate to.
  • Learning to thrive provides reassurance to students who may be uncertain about their ability to succeed in college, particularly first-generation students.
  • Learning to thrive creates fertile ground for interactivity and introspection. What does “thrive” mean to you? What will it take to get past anything that stands in your way?
  • “Thrive” has an energetic, optimistic attitude that complements ASU’s brand identity.
    • Learn more about the correct usage of “Learn to thrive.”