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Memorial launches new brand identity

May 23, 2006

Memorial University presented its new “brand” to faculty, staff, regents, students, and alumni, as the first step in a new institutional marketing program. The brand concept focuses on the idea of transformation - that Memorial is the place that people and ideas become.

President Axel Meisen opened a special brand launch event May 23 by outlining the need for the marketing program, recalling his first months at the institution. He noted that despite many challenges facing the university - from declining provincial high school populations, to aging infrastructure and strong competition from other universities - Memorial has been able to succeed and is recognized nationally and internationally.

“Throughout this university's history, we have been highly dedicated, creative and ingenious,” Dr. Meisen said. “We have become Atlantic Canada's largest university in terms of student enrolments and we are well on our way to becoming a major centre of research, scholarship, and creative and professional activities. But this great story was not being told consistently, compellingly and collectively. We want to do that.”

He also said that in the course of recent consultations around the province, held in connection with the university's development of a new strategic plan, he frequently heard about the increasing need to promote Memorial University ever more strongly locally, nationally and internationally.

“Today we learn about an integrated marketing plan to support the university's goals and to tell Memorial's story in a distinctive way.”

The development of Memorial's new brand took more than a year of planning. It included focus groups, consultations with people on all campuses, brainstorming with the university's senior officials, and discussions with alumni, donors, members of public and private sector organizations, friends and other stakeholders inside and outside the province. The Division of Marketing and Communications led the planning effort.

“It became obvious that the issues important to most people were the high value placed on creativity and ingenuity, and that Memorial University is a place where people transform,” explained Michael Pickard, associate director (marketing) at Memorial. “People said, for example, that those who thrive at Memorial are the curious and intrepid, the problem solvers, `21st century explorers' - these could be students who come here, or faculty or staff we are trying to recruit, or those who have been here for years and have helped build what this university is, or donors or groups that we partner with.”

“With increased competition from other universities and organizations, it is critical that we have a shared vision and expression of Memorial,” said Victoria Collins, director of Marketing and Communications. “Our brand is the promise that we stand for - how we want people to see us and talk about us, and what we are saying about ourselves. We will present Memorial's brand promise in a unified and compelling way that speaks clearly to each of our audiences, so marketing efforts across the university are coordinated and complementary.”

The brand identity includes a new, more modern institutional logo and a design concept that uses silhouettes and selected fonts and colours to illustrate the meaning of the brand and unify university promotional publications and activities.

Mr. Pickard notes that the new look will begin to be implemented in the next few months. “Whether it is our recruitment material or the way we conduct our student and employee orientation, or even some of the signage around campus, when the new semester starts in September, it's all going to look a bit different,” Mr. Pickard said. “We have identified some widely held, but not well articulated core ideas that set the Memorial University experience apart. We want to communicate them consistently, creatively and continuously.”

Information about Memorial's brand-building process is available at www.mun.ca/marcomm.