More Than Marketing

Nicole Manges
The Spirit of a Forester isn't a marketing campaign. It's a creed.

“The Spirit of a Forester…isn’t that just a marketing thing?”

If you’ve received marketing materials from Huntington University since 2020, the odds are pretty good that you’ve seen the Spirit of a Forester language on them somewhere. We use the Spirit of a Forester everywhere, not just in marketing, and that is something that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Why? Because the Spirit of a Forester isn’t a marketing campaign. It isn’t a catchphrase, a slogan, or a gimmick. And it certainly isn’t a passing fad.

It’s a creed.

Christians have been using creeds to summarize and articulate their theological beliefs for millennia. For those who want to brush up on their Church history, Carl Trueman’s essay “The Value and Role of Creeds and Confessions,” available through The Gospel Coalition, provides an overview of Church creeds through the centuries, ending with a discussion of why these creeds were (and are) so important to the development of Christianity.

I’m not saying the Spirit of a Forester and the Apostles’ Creed have the same level of spiritual or theological significance. My point is that understanding who we are, what we believe, and how we will act in accordance with that belief is a practice engrained in the Christian tradition. It makes perfect sense that a Christian liberal arts university would create a creed.      

Although the Spirit of a Forester language appears in our marketing, it is so much more than that. Taking heavy inspiration from the conclusion of Trueman’s essay, here are five ways the Spirit of a Forester language operates as our creed:

  1. The Spirit of a Forester bears witness to the fact that no HU student, alumni, or employee simply believes the HU Mission Statement to be something abstract or removed from us; instead, we believe that the Mission Statement actually means something and it impacts everyday life. We articulate that meaning as a definition of what it means to be a Forester.
  2. The Spirit of a Forester language is a concise summary of what we believe and is useful both for the people within the Forester Family and the people outside it. The language provides guiding principles for the Forester Family and tells prospective students what they can expect when they join that family.
  3. The Spirit of a Forester defines our non-negotiables when it comes to our culture. Because we know who we are, we can make decisions accordingly. The seven Forester traits provide clear guidance for the future but allow us the freedom to take new directions as long as they are consistent with the culture we have defined.
  4. The Spirit of a Forester bears witness to the historical nature of Huntington University. The Foresters of today are connected to the HU people who came before and the HU people who are to come. No matter our era, we can recognize the true Forester spirit.  
  5. The Spirit of a Forester is the starting place for countless other pieces of content. I could not begin to tell you the number of pieces I have written the Spirit of a Forester into — and many of them aren’t even marketing pieces. We have filled entire magazines (and this blog) by elaborating on the Spirit of a Forester and how real people are living that out in real life.

In short, the Spirit of a Forester language clarifies who we are and guides who we become. Like the creeds of our Christian tradition, the Spirit of a Forester was our very intentional effort to define what we believe. Our creed has a direct impact on our everyday operations in a way that goes beyond the foundational purpose of our mission statement, beyond any marketing campaign.

This is who we are: We are Foresters.

Written by
Nicole Manges