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What’s next with RIT branding? Storytelling Branding, PR musings

Here is an example of one brand concept: Telling the story of how RIT co-op students hit the ground running when they work in industry and solve problems across the globe. Maybe they can get acclimated on Day One, but not for long ...

There is an old saying in journalism that also works with branding: Show your readers (audience), don’t just tell them.

It would be very easy for RIT to tell the world:

  • We’re innovative and creative
  • We’re big, with an enrollment of 17,000 students
  • We have one of the oldest and largest co-operative education program in the world
  • Experiential learning is at our core

But that is not enough to differentiate us from competitors; nor is it enough to bring RIT’s true personality to life. It is much more powerful to show it by highlighting success stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Storytelling is the crux of the current branding project with 160 over 90, the Philadelphia firm that is consulting with RIT on brand messaging.

More than 400 attendees heard the proposed concepts from the firm at four sessions last week. The community response and feedback was overwhelmingly positive. So what’s next? Keep in mind, what you saw last week was conceptual—storyboards to make sure we are on target for the overarching brand message for the university. Now the real work begins!

RIT leadership is now deciding what key areas we want to address first for an external roll out. When those projects are identified, we will work with the firm to build the appropriate assets and distribute the finished work in the right media channels (It could be a print piece, Web, video, etc.).

Once we have a few seminal pieces built and activated, we will continue to pull in other divisions/departments/units of the university to further extend the RIT brand. In the first quarter of 2011, we expect to have “brand camps” where the firm will work hands-on with marketing communications practitioners across the university. Here, those who work regularly in this area will be given the “branding tool box” to execute work on strategic and tactical levels. Stay tuned.

So as the above ad related to RIT Dubai and co-op depicts: let’s show it, not tell it.


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