University of Essex Branding
University of Essex Branding
We spoke to Claire Lindsay, Head of Brand Management about her role, what a typical working day looks like, and why we have a brand:
Why is it important that we have a brand?
Institutions don’t have brands, they are brands. A brand is really just the values, culture, philosophy and approach that set one institution apart from another. A brand is not a logo, nor even a visual identity, though it’s important these are accurate visual representations of the brand, so as to reinforce the messages we communicate. Watch our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, talk about the changing face of higher education and why we remain strongly connected to our bold founding vision.
Tell us about what a working day is like for you? who do you meet? What sort of project are you drawn into?
I oversee any developments relating to the University brand. This might include working with academic departments on developing their own brand narratives so they can communicate what is distinct about their department and why it is special, to working with Estates on how we can communicate our personality and ethos in the design and dressing of our campuses. It’s a wide ranging role with lots of variety so I never get bored.
When did you join the university?
I joined the University in 2004 as Marketing Manager for the Southend Campus – before we even had a Southend Campus! My job was to promote the as yet unbuilt campus and the as yet unwritten courses to the local community and prospective students. It was certainly a challenge, but a lot of fun – we did crazy things like having a float at the Southend Carnival, a balloon release and a huge, free, outdoor concert, laser lightshow and fireworks display to launch The Gateway Building.
What was our brand like then?
I assumed responsibility for the brand in 2008. At that point we had a brand proposition that we would now refer to as being “mushy middle” and a logo, so most of my work consisted of telling people what they could and couldn’t do with the logo – yes I was a “logo cop”. Over the course of 2009 I worked on building supporting messages and a visual identity and launched our first brand toolkit in December of that year just as I went on maternity leave.
Do you have a team?
I work within the Marketing and Student Recruitment Team, so I am lucky to be surrounded by a group of talented colleagues who all help communicate and develop our brand. Karan Gunn now works with me on branding projects. She has been involved in many of the Estates projects such as the refurbishment of the Towers’ entrances and the new window vinyls in the empty Barclays branch.
What are your main priorities?
Although the new challenger approach has been widely welcomed across the institution, there is still work to do on translating the initial proposition for different audiences. I recently worked with Jo Davies and REO on doing just this for a business audience and I’m currently working with Human Resources on how we can communicate our brand to prospective staff. Other live projects include working with the Dean of the Graduate School on developing a narrative for PGR study and with our videographers on a new video to celebrate the achievements of our students who embody our Essex Spirit.
Tell us something about yourself that we probably wouldn’t guess.
I’m a part-time pugilist.
Essex was founded on a vision to be a freer, more daring, more experimental university.
In our latest Strategic Plan we have refreshed our founding vision and focused our effort on clearly and confidently projecting our distinctive Essex identity: who we are, what we stand for, and how we are different.
Queries or assistance with communicating our identity and values