Branding. It’s a concept we most often associate with corporate America. Brand identity it crucial to a company’s long-term viability. It may result from its knack for innovation or the quality of the firm’s products and customer service.
I had an opportunity last week to reflect on this with RIT’s orientation assistants and resident advisors. As part of their preparation for the upcoming school year, I delivered a presentation on “personal branding,” how they as individuals choose to present themselves publicly—in effect creating their personal brand—and how that may impact their future success (particularly as it relates to the students’ careers).
As part of this discussion, we talked about the “RIT brand.” What does the university stand for, how is it perceived and what can be done to enhance its brand? I was impressed by how much pride these students have in the university. Like me, they’re concerned that RIT doesn’t receive enough credit for its diverse and dynamic community. We’re not all a bunch of pocket-protecting geeks—with no disrespect intended to the aforementioned geeks. We talked at some length about the many qualities that make the university special, and I couldn’t help but think how our students become such great representatives of the RIT brand.
The RIT brand was very much on my mind yesterday (new students’ move-in day) at the RIT Orientation Resource Fair. This event provided an opportunity for new students and their families to get acquainted with a variety of university resource at their disposal. My colleagues Kathy Lindsley, Kelly Downs and John Follaco joined me in staffing the University News table. As I’ve addressed in previous posts, University News plays a vital role in enhancing the RIT brand through our publications and our news placements with local, national and international media. The resource fair gave us a chance to introduce our work to these new members to the RIT family.
On this day—beyond publication of The University Magazine and our efforts to get RIT stories placed with the Democrat and Chronicle and other media outlets—it’s my hope that University News enhanced the RIT brand through a more direct means. We had such a great time interacting with the students and their parents—hearing their stories and learning their reasons for selecting RIT. Our curiosity is genuine, and it’s particularly gratifying to offer personal insights to the families that may help with their transition. I know that many of our fellow RIT staff members share this passion, participating in a wide range of orientation activities occurring this week.
In my mind, that’s the RIT brand—a diverse and dynamic community committed to the success of our students.