We’re going to try something different with today’s post. Imagine that you’re the head of branding and communication for a large college. What would you do in this situation?
There is a Rocket crisis. Not *that* kind of crisis — I’m talking about an identity crisis facing the University of Toledo, my beloved alma mater.
With one logo for the athletics department and another for everything else, it seems the Rockets aren’t quite sure how they want to present themselves to the world. It’s easier to show you than tell you. I transferred to UT in 1999. Since then, the school has undergone many changes — including merging with another local university. In that time, they’ve used at least three logos:
How important is a visual identity?
Granted, a strong logo alone won’t convince a student to pick Toledo over another school. The Apple logo doesn’t convince us to buy iPhones; the Nike swoosh doesn’t equote to shoes purchased; the GE logo doesn’t compel us to purchase thier lightbulbs, right? Yet, those successful, recognizable companies go to great lengths to uphold their brand standards, even through mergers and acquisitions, product releases and other changes. What do they know that the University of Toledo doesn’t?
Located about 20 miles south of Toledo, Bowling Green State University competes with UT on everything from students and grant funding to media attention. Bowling Green maintains easily accessible brand standards on its website. UT? Not so much.
The BGSU president believes, “A consistent identity is essential in establishing a brand that is instantly recognized by our faculty, staff and students, potential students and their families, and by those in many diverse communities.”
Do you think colleges need strong brand identities, or no because are there so many other factors that contribute to enrollment decisions? If you think they do need a strong brand identity, what would you recommend to the University of Toledo?