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Update on strategic positioning for March 2022 | Visual Identity & Personalization Pilots

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

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Here in Denver, we were able to bask in the warmth of the sun for several days near the end of last month. March has the promise of spring, but right now, we’re facing snow and cold. I keep reminding myself of the mild temperatures spring can (and hopefully will) bring as I share some highlights from MarComm’s work in February.

University logo

Five logo concepts were shared with the logo review committee and stakeholders early last month. With input and insights from these community members, the design teams have been able to iterate on the concepts to the point we were able to share four with the Board of Trustees selection committee this week, where four became two. We are still on target to share a broader community update about the direction next month.

New Brand Video Development

As work continues on the logo, much is also happening on the other sections and new resources anticipated in our new visual identity style guide. One of these new resources will be DU’s first video style guide, complete with reference samples of the brand brought to life.

The work on these sample reels began last summer as the video and photo teams underwent training and actively began developing the multimedia styles for our personality. Filming officially began for new brand video assets in December, following equipment adjustments, casting, campus collaboration, and much pre-production. While COVID paused the anticipated work in January, the video team completed shoots last Friday and is swiftly pivoting to editing and shaping their section of the style guide.

So, what does this really mean for us? It means that, when the style guide is released, we can be assured that the elements included will have been put into practice and thoroughly tested. It also means that you will have access to cinematic footage and new brand b-roll for use in our marketing next year. Shout out to the video team for a great deal of hard work! Phase I alone featured more than 30 students and included filming locations both on campus and in the surrounding community as well as an array of subject matters. I also want to thank all of you who partnered with us for this first phase! We’re excited to share the outcomes with you. 

Did you miss this round and have something of value to share? We continue to look for visual spaces with dynamic people that exemplify the brand to capture in photos and videos. The team will be continuing to build out this new content library over the coming months as we prepare for roll-out within Widen later this year. Please feel free to reach out to Carri Wilbanks ( to be added to the list for consideration as additional opportunities to participate arise over the next couple months. 


The most effective marketing is marketing that speaks directly to and connects with people. Even as we shape the brand, we are in the early phases of developing what I envision will be a robust personalized marketing program in the future.

Last spring, we partnered with Carnegie to develop psychographic personas, referred to occasionally as “DARTS,” of our undergraduate student population. For those that joined us after this research, these segmentation profiles were developed through a combination of in-person qualitative research and survey-based quantitative research (thank you to those that helped with outreach to students!), layered with data from Slate to find correlations between demographic and psychographic factors that definitively reveal our unique student segments as well as their motivators and what attracts them to DU. Grounded in the same archetyping system that serves as the foundation of our brand and that evaluates personality based on nine human-motivation factors, we have been able to use these personas to shape messaging within the For the Difference advertising and upcoming direct marketing within Admission's marketing portfolio.

In February, we were also able to bring campaign-driven website personalization instances online, using the Clarity tool offered by Carnegie. A dynamic marketing attribution tool (Johanna frequently uses the word “cool” when she’s describing it, which I believe is an accurate description), Carnegie Clarity creates personalized website experiences based on the interests and actions of website visitors who have interacted with our For the Difference campaigns. Messaging designed to push prospective students further into the conversion funnels and geared directly to them based on our branding and their personas now dynamically displays on select top-level pages within our website.

The two projects mentioned above are just the start of the work in this space and are not the only pieces we are piloting. Look for more updates on these pieces to come through the SMCC work and in these notes throughout this year. Effectiveness is the name of the game, and we are here to contribute to a winning outcome for DU. I look forward to sharing what we learn through these early pilots to aid us as we continue in this work.