Northwestern launches new promotional material, works to unify its branding efforts

Matthew Choi, Assistant Campus Editor

In pursuit of a more cohesive image, the Office for Global Marketing is working to revitalize Northwestern’s branding.

Much of the effort comes from a need for a unified brand for NU, said Mary Baglivo (Medill ‘81), vice president for global marketing. Previously, marketing efforts were largely created independently by each school, with no marketing team at the university level, she said.

The Office of Global Marketing, which formed two years ago to unify marketing efforts across NU, is working on rebranding the University to amplify its strengths, Baglivo said. The rebranding efforts center on highlighting NU’s unique characteristics and enhancing its academic reputation, Baglivo said.

“Northwestern, because of its distributed structure, all of the different schools and units … leads to a bit of a fragmented message,” Baglivo said. “What we’re trying to do is get a platform that will allow all the schools and units and people to tell their stories and to accomplish their objectives.”

That distributed structure and NU’s collaborative environment formed the basis of one initiative called, “AND is in our DNA,” a promotional phrase that illustrates varied aspects of campus life and NU’s academics, Baglivo said.

In terms of design, the Office of Global Marketing seeked to use “clean” logos with common fonts and dimensions, Baglivo said. Not wanting to be “cookie cutter,” she said, they relied on research and collaborated with the different schools and departments to create the new logos.

“All of the schools and all of the institutes and all the centers. … They all had a different look and feel,” Baglivo said. “What we’re trying to do is create more (cohesion) because you get more impact if things are feeding into one another.”

The Office of Undergraduate Admission worked closely with the Office of Global Marketing to ensure NU’s message and brand are cohesively communicated to prospective students, said Michael Mills, associate provost for university enrollment. Through the new branding strategies, the Office of Undergraduate Admission hopes to more compellingly capture the spirit of NU, he said.

“Are we emphasizing the right aspects of Northwestern to prospective students? I think we are,” Mills said. “Our students have a propensity to study multiple things and come out at the end with much more than just a Bachelor’s degree, and that’s part of the essence of Northwestern.”

New materials from the effort include a new undergraduate admissions viewbook, a virtual tour of campus and a revised presentation to be conducted before campus tours, Baglivo said.

Presentations given before campus tours were also redesigned to focus on NU’s particular strengths, said Margaret Cahow, marketing manager at the Office of Global Marketing. Before, student counselors — student employees who provide anecdotal perspectives for prospective students before tours — would speak to a basic Powerpoint, Cahow said. Now, the new presentations will be more interactive for counselors, including their personal recommendations in Evanston.

“Before, it really leaned heavily on those presenters to deliver in a very interesting way because the content itself was not particularly engaging,” Cahow said. “Now, we still have these great students and people speaking to it, but now the content itself is much more interesting.”

The Office of Global Marketing conducted extensive research to ensure all branding efforts remained true to NU as seen by students, faculty and staff, Baglivo said. Based on that research, the office worked on ways to enhance NU’s academic nature, she added.

“If we enhance our academic reputation among these various constituencies, then we have a better chance of attracting the best and brightest students, both undergrad, grad, professional, the most accomplished faculty and researchers,” Baglivo said.

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