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DU’s reputation strategy underway

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University of Denver

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Nearly a year ago, MarComm began engaging in a consensus-based, multi-year, multi-phase project to refine and refocus DU’s brand. The aim of the strategy is to impact the University’s reputation, recruitment, and ultimately, revenue. Phase I of the project focused on initiatives rooted in broad market research and revealed significant insights into DU’s personality traits, how we’re perceived in the marketplace, and how we stack up against competitors. We were also able to develop targeted messages and prospective student personas to support undergraduate recruiting. More than 1,600 DU voices—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—helped to inform this work.

We’re currently in Phase II of the strategy, which includes four primary initiatives focused on establishing the foundation for our brand for years to come as well as providing the initial external introduction to the DU brand through a multi-prong advertising campaign, targeted to launch in August 2021. To accomplish a large volume of work in short period of time, MarComm has convened several working groups comprised of marketing and communication professionals across the DU community to focus on the four primary initiatives: 1) strategic messaging development; 2) “For the Difference” advertising campaign; 3) visual identity refinement; and 4) a campus toolkit—focused on making DU’s brand easy to understand and easy to use for all.

DU’s brand is our collective responsibility. As we roll out our refreshed brand strategy, we will share it in phases with a variety of specific stakeholders. Over the last several weeks, Renea Morris, vice chancellor for marketing and communications, met with several University stakeholder groups to share the rollout plan and timeline.

Additionally, early deliverables from the work groups will be reviewed by focus groups that will include select university stakeholders—staff, faculty, alumni, and students—for feedback and iteration to ensure an authentic presentation of DU’s brand to the market. Below is a brief overview of each work group, which includes the timeline, purpose, and key deliverables anticipated.

Strategic Messaging Development


Work Group Purpose


February 2021-January 2022

To develop DU’s brand voice, messaging foundation, and accompanying resources

Unique Value Propositions

Brand Book

Editorial Style Guide

Brand Voice Writing Guide

“For the Difference” Advertising Campaign


Work Group Purpose


February 2021-June 2022

To develop DU’s central ad campaign for FY22 as part of a developing central marketing plan

Multi-channel, multi-audience advertising campaign focused on improving and elevating DU’s reputation in strategic markets to aid in recruitment and revenue-generation activities and incorporating:

Messaging regarding DU’s 4D Student Experience (website launched 5/24) and other unique value propositions

Messaging geared toward higher education administration to maintain DU’s US News & World Report ranking

Ongoing marketing research and campaign optimization

Strategic amplification and alignment with direct marketing and paid media efforts in Undergraduate Admission

Visual Identity Refinement


Work Group Purpose


April 2021-March 2022

To enhance and evolve DU’s visual identity through the review and refinement of marks, colors, and corresponding brand elements

Visual Style Guide, including refined logos, typography, colors, photo/video styles, ancillary graphics, and additional usage guides

Campus Toolkit


Work Group Purpose


March 2021-December 2022

To develop MarComm support structure/campus offerings, self-service templates, campus training and resources

MarComm Division Service Model and Refined Website (Phase 1 and blog launched summer 2020)

Brand Toolkit, including self-service templates for campus

Brand Training Program

Campus Branding Enhancements