"Our branding is about telling the university’s story, and inspiring others to be what the world needs," said Gord Hunchak, associate vice-president of strategic communications and chief communications officer.

Building the USask brand

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) has been a world-leading university for years. It’s time to let the world know about it.

Building on the successful launch of the new university plan to be The University The World Needs, USask senior leaders are taking a fresh new approach to sharing the story of the institution, refreshing and refocusing the USask brand to redefine the perceptions, expectations and reputation of the university.

“I think everyone would agree that the University of Saskatchewan is not as well known for its strengths and its expertise outside the province as it should be, and this refreshed branding is how we intend to better tell the USask story,” said Gord Hunchak, associate vice-president of strategic communications and chief communications officer.

“During the consultations held across campus, it became very clear from students, faculty, staff, and alumni that there is a real desire to speak proudly about what we do here, and about the accomplishments and achievements of this university. Moving forward, we are going to make sure the world knows how great we are.”

Ranked No.1 in the country and 18th in the world in water research, USask is Canada’s only university that has two national research institutes located right on campus, with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), and the Canadian Light Source, featuring the country’s only synchrotron.

USask is seen as a leader amongst Canadian universities in our commitments and actions for Reconciliation and Indigenization, a critical role within the province and the country. USask is also experiencing record enrolment, higher student satisfaction scores, and increasing diversity of the student body, faculty and staff, helping make the university one of the best untold stories in the country.

“Our new university plan maps out the university’s commitments and aspirations, and has the potential to redefine the perceptions of the University of the Saskatchewan,” said Hunchak. “If the university plan is all about change for the future, then we need to change how we talk about ourselves. The refreshed brand platform is how we are going to tell that story, helping elevate the university’s profile and reputation.”

In the new world of post-secondary education, the competition for attracting funding and faculty, staff and students, is more challenging than ever before, Hunchak said. Changing the narrative of the university by building the brand and proudly promoting our aspirations and achievements is key to positioning USask as an innovative world-leading institution on the rise, committed to creativity, connectivity, collaboration and community.

“The post-secondary environment has changed over the past couple of decades to be incredibly competitive, whether that is for research funding, or for students, staff, faculty, or for donors,” said Hunchak. “And what all of those groups want to know is what the university stands for, what it’s great at, and why should they get involved with the university. If we tell the story properly, our goal is to have all of those groups excited about the prospect of being involved with the University of Saskatchewan. There are a lot of choices out there for students, for faculty, for researchers, and for funders and donors. We want USask on the top of everyone’s list.”

The brand platform will feature striking, and sometimes unexpected, images and descriptions of the people of USask and their positive impacts on the world, grounded in the compelling call to action of “Be What The World Needs.” The unique typography, colours, and shape of the signature campus building signs are utilized as a subtle yet powerful visual connection to the location and roots of the university. The platform will define the look and tone of USask’s external advertising, and all of the university’s digital channels, internally and externally. The transition to the new platform will roll out gradually over the last half of 2019.

Hunchak said a key consideration is to strike a balance between being grounded in the values and humble work ethic of the people of the province, while not shying away from taking a place among the great universities in the country and—in key signature areas of research—be considered a global leader.

“The University of Saskatchewan is a world-leading university,” said Hunchak. “We are ranked at the top in food and water research, and we are recognized as a leader in our commitment to Indigenous Peoples and communities. These are only some of stories that we need to share. Our branding is about telling the university’s story, and inspiring others to be what the world needs.”

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