Winston-Salem State University has undertaken an effort to refresh our visual identity and create brand messaging guidance. This project is a key goal of the university’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2021. We are excited to share that we are nearly ready to roll out the fruits of this endeavor.
Benefits of a Strong Brand
It has never been more critical to have a strong brand. The university faces increasing competition for students and a continued national discussion on the value of historically Black universities. A strong brand helps us:
- Raise the profile of the university.
- Increase awareness about WSSU’s value to the state, region, and world.
- Improve the value of a degree from WSSU by demonstrating and sharing the quality of our academic programs and the successes of our alumni.
- Position the university to be considered among the best in the state – with the goal of garnering greater support from lawmakers, corporate partners, and major donors.
- Inspire advocacy and support from alumni and friends.
The Process: Research, Surveys and Focus Groups
While a large volume of the work on this project has been completed over the past year, the process actually began in 2012. At that time, surveys of students, alumni, faculty, and staff were conducted, providing a starting point last fall for continued research.
Over the past 10 months, we reviewed data from many additional surveys of not only the university community and alumni, but also incoming freshmen. In addition to informal discussions with faculty, staff, and students, we held formal focus groups soliciting feedback and gathering information. All of that information was analyzed and synthesized to create the final product.
Brand Refresh Rollout in August
In August WSSU will be rolling out the outcome of this work based on student, faculty, staff, and alumni opinions and insights. Some of the key elements are:
- A new academic logo replacing the red block and a refreshed look and feel for our marketing and communications materials.
- A guide to WSSU brand messaging.
- A website with brand resources and templates.
- Workshops offered in the fall to the campus community on how to use the materials.
- A new and more efficient system for managing marketing communications projects within the Office of Integrated Marketing Communications.
Fiscally Responsible Practices
Many universities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars – or more – hiring consultants to do this work. We believed we had the in-house talent and experience to complete this project on our campus.
- This decision resulted in the university spendingless than 1% of the typical budget for a brand refresh.
- We will continue to make financially prudent decisions as materials are replaced on campus.
- In an effort to be as cost-efficient as possible,we are encouraging the campus community to use their existing supplies using the current logo rather than discarding materials.
- Signage and other logo-branded items will be replaced over several years as materials wear out or need to be replaced to keep costs low.
- If you are planning to order materials, such as shirts or signage,you are encouraged to wait until the new logo is available in August.
We want to thank the many people who participated in this process. The brand refresh could not have been completed without your input, insights, and support. No one knows WSSU better than those who study, live, and work on this campus. We are each not only ambassadors of the university’s brand, but also embodiments of it. We are WSSU.
You will be hearing more about the brand refresh rollout in the coming weeks.