The Communications and Marketing office is working with the School of Business and students to create a new brand for the college, in accordance with the college’s 2021 Strategic Plan guidelines.
The project includes revitalizing the college’s reputation and image, according to Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Gail Glover.
The college allocated nearly $25,000 towards the “brand reputation” phase of the project through the strategic plan process, overseen by Glover and the Office of Communications and Marketing, according to the strategic plan update.
The college created a team to help develop surveys and analyze data regarding the community’s perception of Geneseo’s brand and what it stands for, according to the update release. The team includes associate professor of management Jeffrey Gutenberg, Director of Institutional Research Julie Rao and Director of Strategic Initiatives Brian Bennett.
“I am very impressed that the president created this position called Chief Marketing Officer,” Gutenberg said. “We needed someone at the highest level to see that the way we were talking about ourselves was consistent from all areas of the college and to various audiences.”
The team, overseen by Glover, started the project by collecting a comprehensive assortment of data.
“We started thinking and looking at ways to gather input from our campus community [regarding] reflections of the institution,” Glover said. “Some market research work had been done … the piece that was lacking though was a reflection from our own campus community.”
The team gathered pilot surveys over the summer and compiled them into a more comprehensive, final survey that was distributed at the beginning of the summer, according to Glover.
Gutenberg involved research students from his marketing classes in the process of developing these surveys and gathering data, according to Glover.
“It’s a great learning experience for the students and they also get a chance to have an impact on essentially the future identity of the college and I think that’s really cool,” Gutenberg said. “They worked very hard and I think they learned a lot and contributed findings that were valuable to the process.”
Gutenberg will be in charge of computing the survey information and introducing a variety of new brand statements and images, according to Glover.
“We’re not tossing the Geneseo mark out, it’s going to always be a part of our campus’s visual vocabulary, but what we’re going to do is add a distinctive quality to it that … puts it in a better place,” Glover said
The brand image phase of the project—which focuses more on the college’s visual identity—will be funded through Campus Auxiliary Services and the college’s licensing program and guided by Bennett.
“A lot of what we’re trying to do can be expensive, so we want to be most cost effective as possible but also give people a choice to have something a little more distinctive to add to the word mark,” Glover said.
The team also drew on feedback gathered from Gutenberg’s research students such as business administration major senior Nicole Boyle, to develop the altered logo and brand mark, according to the update release.
“This project allowed us to implement what we have learned in the classroom into the real world,” Boyle said. “We are gaining real-world business and marketing knowledge that will undoubtedly help us in our futures.”
The next step in the process includes the development of a brand ambassadors group consisting of faculty, students and other members of the campus community. The group will figure out how to utilize the collected material and tools., This may be through advertising campaigns, social media campaigns or general visual representation on campus, according to Glover.
“It’s a difficult task,” Gutenberg said. “You have different constituencies with different current perceptions and different ideas about what we should be communicating about ourselves. It’s good that the entire college community is getting an opportunity to provide and put in feedback.
Students have expressed mixed reactions to Geneseo’s brand-building process. Specifically, business administration major senior Sarah Langan felt there was a need to switch up the college’s brand.
“I didn’t really see a need to change the logo that we had, but in my marketing class we talk about how colleges should change their logos and update them every year so I guess it might be a good idea for Geneseo to do it,” Langan said. “I think [Geneseo] has a good brand and I think it markets itself well.”
Biology major sophomore Molly Patterson alternatively felt that the college would be fine without trying to remake its brand.
The college deems the project as essential in enhancing public awareness of Geneseo’s brand and creating cohesiveness with how the Geneseo community perceives itself, according to Glover.
“You can’t expect the outside world to understand who you are and your strengths if you as a campus community don’t really know that for sure and feel it as a core inspiration to the institution,” Glover said.