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Update on strategic positioning for August 2022 | Brand launch and beyond

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

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Internal  •

The public launch of the new brand is weeks away! Coinciding with the start of Discoveries Orientation activities on September 6 and continuing through the calendar year, you can look forward to seeing the University’s brand, marketing, and communications materials begin to roll over visibly to the refreshed brand beginning with the University’s owned media assets, i.e., social media, website, and more.

Please remember that this year will be one of transition. Anticipate seeing both brands at play for a while as we sustainably liquidate current brand materials and responsibly replace our materials. This is just the beginning of the exciting Implementation phase, anticipated to run over the next two to three years.

Here are a few highlights of our activities over the past month:

For the Difference Year 2

As we enter year 2 of the For the Difference central marketing campaign, the team is knee deep in developing this year’s assets, which saw a visual refresh. We’ve expanded our partnership with Undergraduate Admission (UGA) and are collaborating to update our materials to ensure a seamless user experience for prospective undergraduate students. A profile piece that is used as a handout at campus visits and recruitment fairs, as well as a new viewbook, have been created and are being finalized. In addition:

  • We will be expanding the campaign to include key markets on the East Coast now that our brand foundation is set.
  • We will be releasing a new :30 commercial, direct marketing email, and print mailers, as well as other marketing collateral throughout the coming year.
  • We will be releasing a campaign style guide to campus marketers next month.

We continue to conduct focus groups and collect market research along the way. The current iteration of the campaign was tested with campus visitors, and we sought target audience feedback during the creation of the new commercial. Additionally, we shared it with the advertising and paid media work group of the Strategic Marketing & Communications Council, whose primary focus is on graduate student marketing, as well as an Advancement partner agency to help determine a direction that would work best for their audiences.

Business Suite

As a part of our effort to support you with standards as well as easy access to the brand, our team has spent time this past month crafting our core assets—the University’s business materials—moving forward. Developed as a series to ensure continuity, we’re working to finalize designs and templates for letterhead, stationary, business cards, official nametags, presentation (PPT) templates, email signatures, Zoom backgrounds, and ID cards. We’ve also been working hard to streamline the process of obtaining the materials, which will be available for the campus community soon. In partnership with our external vendors, we’re pleased to let you know that you will soon have a one-stop shop through DU’s forthcoming brand website to order your letterhead, envelopes, business cards, and nametags. You’ll also be able to download the PPT template and generate your email signature via the site. Zoom backgrounds will be accessible through your Zoom programs, thanks to a partnership with IT.

Content Marketing

There are so many new things ahead and we are excited to share and amplify it all! As the academic year commences, you’ll see our teams out and about around campus. We’ve been hard at work on a series of content marketing pieces to demonstrate the For the Difference message in action. Additionally, we’re continuing to create b-roll tied to our Unique Value Propositions. Like stock photography, these b-roll reels will be made available for our community to use as completed.

Athletics Brand Standards and Brand Book Addendum

In partnership with Athletics, we have been diving deep into the different, unique applications we encounter in our Athletics materials. From environmental materials to uniforms to small network bugs for our broadcast partners, the first update to our brand book and guidelines will focus on those needed by Athletics. Over the past month and a half, our teams have been working together to create solutions and we are now pulling together a set of functional guidelines as the first addendum to the Visual Identity Style Guide.


Creating a brand that is easy to use and accessible for all is rarely easy but critical for long-term success. Fonts, logos, processes, and so much more have taken longer than we anticipated at almost every turn. As I noted in last month’s update, fonts took a tricky turn and required additional time to clear than anticipated. And logos required additional exploration and review to land on standards for office, department, and unit names. I believe that the current time and effort will mean so much less headache and heartache for all of us in the long-term. Thank you for your patience and partnership.

Even at the risk of sounding redundant and cliché, I want you to know that I truly appreciate all your collaboration, thoughtfulness, and tenacity. Above all, it is your commitment to DU, the brand, and the journey we’re on together that makes it worthwhile. I value every single thing you’ve done to enable us to make so much progress together and I can’t wait to see all that we’ll make happen in the coming year.   

As always, please feel free to reach out to me, Johanna Blickenstaff (, or Shira Good ( with any questions you might have regarding our marketing, communications, and strategic positioning efforts.