Branding to reflect U of S goals
By Colleen MacPherson
Sending clear and consistent messages about the University of Saskatchewan’s mission and strategic directions is the goal behind a move to brand the institution.
“When people hear the term branding, they often think of a recognizable logo or symbol,” according to Heather Magotiaux, vice-president of University Advancement. “While that’s a critical part, branding the U of S is also about articulating our strategic directions, positioning ourselves in the university sector and communicating more effectively with our key stakeholders.”
In the past, the University has quietly celebrated its successes and “relied on individual experiences to define our brand,” she said. Because these experiences are so diverse, “a single, well-defined brand has not evolved. What we need to do is demonstrate what is unique and important about the University of Saskatchewan to our stakeholders.”
Ghislaine McLeod, director of communications, said a spring survey of people representing various stakeholder groups like faculty, prospective students and business people showed the vast majority believe the University needs “a single statement of purpose”.
Headed up by University Communications, the branding process so far has involved stakeholder review, marketing assessments and surveys to test the understanding of the University’s strategic directions, McLeod said.
From these findings came a number of possible position statements that were presented June 20 to the President’s Executive Council (PEC) for consideration. The positioning statement will emphasize the University’s sense of place and will serve as the anchor for the branding process, she said.
Along with the positioning statement comes a visual identity concept that clearly illustrates the brand. These visuals will be broadly used both internally and externally, said McLeod, adding graphics, templates and standards will be made available, probably online, to ensure consistent use.
Magotiaux said brand materials are expected to be ready in time for orientation events for new students in the fall and the September rededication of the College Building.
“University Communications will be working with various groups across campus to develop an integrated marketing and communications plan for the University,” she said.
“This is key to our successful implementation because we want to be ready to capitalize on the communications opportunities that will be available when we celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2007.”