GSU looking at new internal brand in the fall

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Whitt Van Tassell

The Office of Marketing and Communications is reworking Georgia Southern University’s brand in collaboration with TWG Plus. On January 20, students, faculty, and alumni received an email survey containing five statements generated from focus groups of the GSU community with instructions to rate how closely they felt the statement related to the brand of GSU.

TWG Plus’s recommendations are scheduled to come in next month. By the end of the semester, the Office of Marketing and Communications expects to have an idea of a new marketing campaign for the upcoming fall recruitment cycle.

“By fall you should start seeing a new message,” Jan Bond, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communication, said.

That new message will include no changes to either GSU’s logo or the Eagle.

“Our visual identity is pretty solid,” Bond said. “But I wanted to get a better understanding of who we are as a university, what is our core identity? If we can effectively communicate how great this university is, then that’s going to help students as they graduate.”

The Whelan Group, better known as TWG Plus, is a higher education marketing group out of Austin, Texas known for their reputation and experience. TWG Plus has rebranded several schools including Austin College, Newbury College and The University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“This is a process we’re sharing with everybody, we want buy in from students,” Bond said, “We want participation from students to make sure we’re on the right track with what we say.”

“TWG was amazed at how much participation we had so quickly,” Bond said. “They had never seen this.”

TWG Plus was hired to evaluate common themes within the university and to assist the Office of Marketing and Communications with the creation of a “Brand Promise,” a one-to-two line internal document that embodies who we are as GSU.

The University’s motto is also likely not to change, as Bond and the branding committee say “Large-scale/Small-feel” is still very relevant, with people really identifying with it.

The rebranding process is not about a tagline or motto, the email containing the survey reads. “Instead, it is a focused statement about what the university is and what it stands for,” Bond said.

The Brand Promise suggestion TWG Plus will bring back will likely be a combination of the statements students were asked to respond to in the survey. Alongside the statement, TWG Plus will suggest possible marketing campaigns and an assessment of whether a tagline such as Large-scale/Small-feel benefits the university’s image.

“We’re such a big university, such a diverse university, to find a tagline that will work for everybody is kinda difficult,” Bond said.

Participation in the survey was deemed exemplary, with approximately 490 alumni alone responding within the first 24-hour period.