Board of Regents endorses new marketing strategy
After receiving a full briefing on the university's new institutional marketing strategy, Memorial's Board of Regents . The briefing, which was conducted by staff from the Division of Marketing and Communications, provided an overview of the development of the marketing strategy, including the delineation of a "brand" for the university and a new institutional logo. The marketing strategy had previously been considered and approved by the senior executive committee of the university. In 1996, the Board of Regents delegated its authority in the area of the visual identity policy to the university president, who chairs the senior executive committee.
The university's new marketing strategy — presented to gatherings of the university community in May 2006 — was developed over the past two years through a process of research and consultation inside and outside the university. The development was undertaken by a team of professionals from within the university, aided by external consultants.
The board was advised that the university's marketing efforts are based on the premise that Memorial University needs to portray itself clearly and consistently as a modern, 21st-century university, attractive to innovative students, faculty and staff, donors and research partners from all regions of the province, Canada and the world. The strategy includes a design concept that uses the slogan "become", graphic silhouettes, selected fonts and colours, and a new, modern logo.
"These elements are co-ordinated to reflect the characteristics of our university and to give a distinctive and coherent approach to how Memorial is represented," explained Victoria Collins, director of Marketing and Communications. "The new brand focuses on the ideas of fostering ingenuity and of transformation — that Memorial University is the natural place for people and ideas to 'become'. Memorial has a tremendous range of activities and programs that support this positioning — and many of these offerings are unique to Memorial or were pioneered by Memorial. Some examples include our on-campus experiential learning/employment programs for students and the special configuration of our new 4D computer visualization laboratory."
Ms. Collins said that the new logo has been designed with the university's history and goals in mind. "The words 'Memorial University' are the central element, harkening back to the university's origins as a living war memorial, founded in 1925 as Memorial University College," she explained.
"The lettering style is modern and capitalized, suggesting our forward-looking vision and strength of purpose. The words are set in a bold and irregular shape evocative of rugged land and ice formations around our province that have shaped our culture and continue to be a focus of our academic studies.
The upward sweep of the shape suggests growth and progress, reflecting the increasing contributions to knowledge, society and the economy that the university has been making since its founding," added Ms. Collins. "The rough to smooth outline of the distinctive shape also suggests the unique transformational experience that the university offers. Claret and white used in the logo are the official university colours, derived from those of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment whose members made such great sacrifices in the First and Second World Wars and for whom the university was named."
"The next steps for the marketing strategy include providing further opportunities for information to and feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and other stakeholders," said Dr. Georgina Hedges, vice-chair of the board. "The university will also be measuring the effectiveness of the marketing strategy in accomplishing our institutional goals with respect to provincial, national and international student recruitment; support for research, fundraising and generally increasing awareness of our university. As the marketing plan moves forward, the Board of Regents will continue to receive progress reports."
The members of the board also reviewed and discussed submissions from those opposed to aspects of the marketing initiative. Most of the comments related to the new logo. After careful consideration of all factors, the Board expressed confidence in the professional approach that has been taken and has endorsed the marketing initiative with the following resolution:
- WHEREAS the official name of the University will not change and will remain "Memorial University of Newfoundland";
- AND WHEREAS the University's coat of arms and traditional logo will continue to be used for official and ceremonial purposes;
- AND WHEREAS the effectiveness of the marketing strategy, including the new logo, will be evaluated periodically;
- BE IT RESOLVED: That the Board of Regents endorses the marketing strategy of the University, which includes a new logo for the University.
The traditional logo, which incorporates the coat of arms, will continue to be used on students' degree parchments and in other formal contexts such as on honorary degrees, convocation furniture and at ceremonies such as the Ceremony of Remembrance held each November.
The university's new logo will be introduced over time as existing stocks of letterhead and other printed items are reprinted and new materials ordered.
Ms. Collins noted that schools, faculties and departments will be consulted on how the institutional marketing strategy can support their unit-specific marketing objectives, as well as on aspects of implementation such as where and how the new and traditional logos will be used. Her division is also exploring the idea of creating tag-lines that can be used with the new logo in certain contexts to make it clear that the university is "Newfoundland and Labrador's university" and is located in Canada.
She said that her division will be seeking to provide information and receive input through meetings, presentations and by other means, from faculty, staff, students and alumni at the start of the fall semester. In the interim, comments can be sent to Marketing and Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Since the university is in the process of developing a new strategic plan, it is particularly important to convey the ideas, ideals and objectives inherent in the strategy to all members of the university community and to our supporters," said Dr. Axel Meisen, the university's president. "I believe that the marketing strategy, together with continued input from the university's stakeholders, will help us achieve our institutional goals."
"I want to assure faculty, staff, students and alumni that this university will continue to recognize and celebrate its important role as a living war memorial and that Memorial University, of which we are so proud, will continue to be a positive reflection of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador," Dr. Hedges said.
More information on the marketing strategy can be found at www.mun.ca/marcomm/brand.