Feeling the Laker Effect

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - GVSU student Kate Branum poses in Laker Effect attire outside of the Mary Idema Pew Library Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – GVSU student Kate Branum poses in Laker Effect attire outside of the Mary Idema Pew Library Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.

Hannah Lentz

The meterological term “lake effect” is a phrase all too familiar to Grand Valley State University students, often associated with extreme West Michigan weather. Now, “Laker effect” will be added to GVSU students’ vocabularies. The new promotional campaign looks to highlight the collective impact of GVSU Lakers in the world.

Every two to three years, the university commissions an image research study. One of those responsible for this study is Rhonda Lubberts, associate vice president of integrated marketing at GVSU.

“This helps us learn what characteristics of a college are important to our audiences, what their perceptions are about GVSU and our competitors, and how we can best communicate with our audiences,” Lubberts said.

With the information collected, university officials then decide what the most important and accurate messages should be told about GVSU.

“This year, we worked with an advertising agency to find a creative way to convey those messages,” Lubberts said.

What they came up with was the “Laker Effect.”

“The lake effect has a huge impact on the Great Lakes region, making it unique for agriculture and the region’s blue economy,” Lubberts said. “Likewise, Grand Valley State University Lakers make a collective impact on individual students, our state and beyond as a force for positive change.

“We are driven by our passion for learning and use that knowledge for the common good. This sets Lakers apart as leaders, problem-solvers, entrepreneurs and advocates that help shape the future.”

Institutional marketing, university communications, university development and admissions laid the groundwork for developing the campaign. Although, every person connected with GVSU creates the Laker Effect, Lubberts said. University communications also created a video promotion to let students know about the campaign.

The campaign has handed out hundreds of T-shirts in high-traffic areas on campus as well as worked to encourage people to tell what their Laker Effect is on camera or on social media, Lubberts said.

“The Laker Effect builds the image of the university and also makes Grand Valley a point of pride for students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community,” Lubberts said. “The Laker Effect is building a brand, a feeling about Grand Valley that each person can have a positive effect, and our collective impact is exponential.

“We are hoping that as people come to understand that about Grand Valley, they, too, will want to be a part of it, as a student, as a faculty or staff member and as a supporter.”

Buses that travel university routes and web ads and billboards also have signs and posters encouraging students to engage in the campaign in their own way, Lubberts said.

“I am delighted by the enthusiastic responses to the campaign that I’ve seen on social media,” said Matt McLogan, vice president for university relations. “I am especially pleased that all of the faces on the billboards are of Grand Valley students.”

For more information, students can visit www.gvsu.edu/lakereffect or look up #GVLakerEffect.

“We encourage students to keep sharing their Laker Effect,” Lubberts said. “Some examples are problems they’ve solved, things they’ve created, research they’ve done, volunteering, serving, advocating and so on.”