So what makes a good brand?
Let’s start close to home with Wegmans. When you think Wegmans, here’s what comes to mind: customer service, fresh food, convenience, a great place to work and overall high quality.
Dunkin’ Donuts sells more coffee than donuts after it repositioned its brand with the America Runs on Dunkin’ campaign.
Even sports teams have a brand. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox both have strong and similar brand traits (tradition, passionate fans, winning), but they evoke different emotions and are distinctly different. I’m an Orioles fan and we lost our identity when Cal Ripken Jr. retired. We lost our brand. And now we just plain lose!
So what do Wegmans, Dunkin’ and the Bronx Bombers have to do with RIT? To start, RIT has a strong brand. We are technological. We are global. We are experiential. We are innovative and creative.
Yet President Bill Destler wants to enhance the brand message further. He announced in his Welcome Back Remarks that we have engaged a branding firm, based in Philadelphia, to assist us in telling RIT’s amazing story to the world. The firm is 160 over 90.
The firm has vast experience with consumer branding (Nike, American Eagle, Athlete’s Foot, Sony Pictures), as well as higher education (Michigan State, Dayton, Loyola, American University, New Haven, Miami of Ohio and others).
An early peek at the Michigan State new branding campaign can be found on YouTube.
In terms of background, you may recall that RIT engaged the firm Art & Science, based in Baltimore, a few years back to conduct market research and a brand positioning study for the university. The work of Art & Science provided RIT with valuable marketing intelligence to move us forward on many platforms. It is now a natural progression for a creative firm like 160/90 to utilize the Art & Science data and work with us to enhance our brand message, expression, image, and promotional materials on many platforms.
A brand is much more than a logo or tagline. In his new book about branding in higher education, The Real U, Robert Moore describes branding as “simply a believable and compelling narrative … Stories.” Moore adds: “Great brands resonate in the mind. They set up an echo chamber in which the brand promise reverberates with the needs and expectations that people hold for the brand … Strong brands are magnetic.”
Over the next year, with your input, we will roll out a refined brand message first internally at RIT, and then externally. Please help us refine this message by providing feedback as requested throughout the year. Members of the RIT family are key brand ambassadors. Stay tuned for more updates as we move along on this project.