Brand platform

The Brand platform represents App State’s foundational values and competitive advantages that uniquely position the university in the marketplace.

The brand positioning statement defines what the brand stands for and serves as the core defining statement for App State.

Appalachian State, in North Carolina’s stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. Our community inspires students, faculty and staff to form relationships extending well beyond graduation. App State students are not merely educated but transformed — through challenging, experiential academics and cocurricular activities that teach them how to think critically, communicate effectively, make local to global connections and understand the responsibilities of community engagement. This transformational learning experience — offered at a competitive tuition rate — prepares our students to be leaders in their communities and in their professions who exhibit knowledge, compassion, dedication, humility and dignity.

As one of 16 universities in the University of North Carolina System, App State enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low faculty-to-student ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

The brand promise is a shorthand version of the positioning statement created to be memorable in the minds of stakeholders and target audiences.

Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as engaged, global citizens who understand their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. Our location in the distinctive Appalachian mountain town of Boone, North Carolina, profoundly shapes who we are. As one of the 17 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina System, we fulfill our core academic missions of teaching, scholarship and service in ways that honor our geography and heritage.

The brand drivers serve as App State’s core messages and support the Brand Position and Brand Promise by focusing on recurring themes in institutional communications.

App State is characterized by:

  1. A transformational academic experience at an amazing value
    At an extremely competitive tuition rate, App State provides a rigorous and challenging academic curriculum, which allows students to discover and demonstrate their passion through research or performance and actively participate in activities that develop their intellectual, personal and professional growth.

    Dynamic classroom environments, close collaboration between faculty and students on research and scholarly activities and an emphasis on service-learning combine to create a place where transformational academic experiences are accessible to all students. Our graduates are critical, creative thinkers who develop and implement thoughtful solutions in their careers and communities. Multiple opportunities for student research, global learning and interdisciplinary connections combine with applied learning experiences, allowing our students to develop a deep and lasting understanding of the intertwined contexts of environmental, economic and equitable sustainability. These qualities are at the core of the “Appalachian Experience.”

  2. Developing a deep and lasting understanding of sustainability
    At App State, sustainability is in our DNA. Our leadership in environmental sustainability is setting national standards and earns national accolades. As all of our actions are economically, environmentally and socially intertwined, App State takes a holistic three-branched approach to our relationship with our planet’s co-inhabitants, and we view sustainability through all of these lenses. This commitment to research, creativity, innovation and practice sets us apart — and is making a difference now and for our future.

  3. Engaging communities at home and across the world
    Understanding that local actions are in themselves a way to effect global change, we foster a deep understanding of how our actions make a difference in our communities at home and abroad. Multiple and varied international learning experiences improve our students’ intercultural skills and allow them to develop broad global competency. Our students continually explore new ways to partner with and serve the communities in which they visit and live, ensuring the university’s resources promote the public good. The transformation that takes place at App State doesn’t stop with our students; they build skills to transform the world.

  4. A mountain location that profoundly shapes who we are
    Our teaching, scholarship and service honor our geography and heritage, which provide unique opportunities academically, culturally and recreationally. The natural setting puts outdoor experiential learning programs, stunning beauty and recreation at our doorstep, and the heritage of the region is alive on and around campus. Our location also provides unique opportunities for research and attracts students, faculty and staff interested in sustainable development and the economics of sustainability.

  5. A mountain location that profoundly shapes who we are
    Our teaching, scholarship and service honor our geography and heritage, which provide unique opportunities academically, culturally and recreationally. The natural setting puts outdoor experiential learning programs, stunning beauty and recreation at our doorstep, and the heritage of the region is alive on and around campus. Our location also provides unique opportunities for research and attracts students, faculty and staff interested in sustainable development and the economics of sustainability.

  6. A commitment to diversity of thought, belief and community
    Diversity is imperative for institutional, faculty, staff and student success. App State is committed to fostering a culture that is a microcosm of and responsive to the beliefs, identities, practices and values needed for constructive engagement in our increasingly global community. Diversity is recognized as an essential binding agent of the interdisciplinary approach to education, as well as to the greater life experience. A strong sense of personal responsibility permeates our campus and gives rise to a commitment of respect for different backgrounds, heightening the educational experience for all. We entrust our students with the responsibility of being active and compassionate, and our students, faculty, staff and administration take the phrase “it’s up to me” seriously, as we work to ensure the well-being of all members of our community.

  7. A valuable public resource
    App State supports the health and vitality of our region and our state with focused research, service to the surrounding communities, public health care, outreach, economic development, professional and entrepreneurial training and continuing education. App State has more than 70 programs with a community outreach focus and is continually developing new ways to serve and partner with the community to ensure the university’s resources promote the public good.

  8. Passionate and successful alumni
    Upon graduation, our alumni go on to earn advanced degrees, start businesses or nongovernmental organizations, build distinguished military careers, work overseas and develop careers that take them in many directions — all while giving back to the communities in which they live and work. App State alumni live and work all over the world and demonstrate the value of their App State education every day. Recent graduates often acknowledge a sense of preparedness to take on the challenges of today’s workplace and graduate school environments. Likewise, employers note their preference for hiring App State graduates, citing an appreciation for their leadership qualities, problem-solving abilities and transferrable skills. The university’s alumni are leaders in their communities and in their professions and they exemplify how App State can and does make the world a better place. Many will tell you that once you join App State, you never really leave.


The brand personality statement describes the characteristics of App State that should be reflected both visually and editorially in institutional communications.

App State’s Brand Personality is energetic, forthright and welcoming. It is inclusive and caring about others, as well as curious about the world and its people. Enthusiastic, approachable and with humility in all things, App State’s Brand Personality is optimistic and genuine. In all we do, faculty, staff, students and alumni strive for the highest quality and desire to make a positive contribution in the lives of others. We forge lasting relationships and remain passionately committed to App State and its success in all stages of our lives.

The following adjectives and phrases describe App State’s communications style and personality and should be reflected editorially and visually in all university communications.

General Impressions

  • Authentic
  • Current
  • High Quality
  • Confident
  • Professional
  • Clean/Fresh
  • Approachable
  • Diverse
  • Optimistic
  • Resilient
  • Outgoing
  • Passionate

  • Friendly

Editorial Approach

  • It's About People

  • Compelling Stories

  • Images Are Key

  • Short Copy

  • Direct

  • Emphasize Location

  • Forward Thinking/Embracing the Future

  • Demonstrate sustainability