Update on marketing for October 2021
This week, I’m sharing the latest updates on our marketing, branding, and strategic positioning initiatives and efforts, specifically focusing on the most recent announcement of the Kennedy Mountain Campus and Visual Identity initiative.
Mountain Campus Launch
All MarComm hands were on deck this past month engaging in preparation for supporting a week of activities, including the Chancellor’s Inauguration and Homecoming, and in collaboration with the Chancellor’s Office, Advancement and agency partner HeavyDoesIt, last Tuesday’s Kennedy Mountain Campus acquisition announcement. In addition to developing recap videos from Inauguration and Homecoming week, for the mountain campus announcement, we were able to realize the power within the team that we’ve spent the past two seasons cultivating, from developing a teaser video, to a large-scale media event, to preparing for the marketing and environmental branding yet to come. A big thanks to our campus partners for your ongoing patience, partnership, and support as we continue to evolve and grow together. As a MarComm team, we’re turning a corner, and I’m excited to see everything that comes next.
The mountain campus will be featured in our upcoming University of Denver Magazine and over the coming months, we will continue to develop assets and weave the campus into our marketing in the new year.
Visual Identity Initiative
Last month, I mentioned that the team has started work on developing a robust visual identity system for the University—one that will give us flexibility while maintaining focus and creating consistency for the outside world. The ultimate deliverable for this initiative will be an expanded and refined visual style guide for DU.
The first phase of this foundational work has focused on exploring our primary mark. While our visual identity is much, much more than our logo and the identity system we construct will reflect this, the logo is a cornerstone and necessary place from which we cascade future work. When we did research last fall, we also tested our three primary marks with experts from across the nation. The results aligned with many of our other findings—that our marks are nice, don’t differentiate us in the marketplace, and don’t reflect who we are. Additionally, we have since heard from our internal audiences with two major themes emerging—our current academic logo suite doesn’t scale well for digital and social marketing purposes and the names of our sub brands are minimized.
With these notes in mind, the team began to conceptualize what it would look like for the University to have one logo set to raising our visibility and contributing to the goal of a more sustainable future. Hundreds of concepts were developed in collaboration with Carnegie Dartlet, our third-party partners in the reputation strategy work. Over time, the concepts were refined (repeatedly) to seven that reflect our personality traits and can be tied directly to the “who” and “why” of our brand and mission statement. It’s now time to test the results.
DU’s brand owner groups—employees, current students (grad and undergrad), and alumni—will have an opportunity to participate in logo testing through focus groups over the next two months and a quantitative survey sent to all faculty, staff, alumni, and athletics season ticketholders before the end of the fall academic term. The University of Denver is fortunate enough to have housed within the Daniels College of Business, a Consumer Insights and Business Innovation Center (CiBiC) that we are working with for some of the upcoming focus groups.
Our goal with the reputation strategy work that is underway remains to ensure that everyone has a voice and opportunity to be heard. We are focused on moving the University forward so that we can rise in the rankings, engage in new markets more meaningfully, build a robust student pipeline, and create an authentic narrative that resonates with all our audiences.