What is an Identity Audit?
President Kim Schatzel has made the retelling of a contemporary Towson University
story one of her top initiatives and a cornerstone of her “TU Matters to Maryland”
To help accomplish this, the university is completing an identity audit process, which
uses extensive research and brand development strategy to define what makes TU distinct.
Ultimately, this research-based, multi-phase, institution-wide process will help guide
all creative expression and storytelling across divisions and colleges in a way that
authentically and consistently resonates with prospective students, parents, current
students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and influencers.
Who is Leading this Work?
In fall 2016, the University Marketing and Communications team began leading Towson
University through an identity or brand audit process to achieve greater clarity and
effectively incorporate the identity audit findings into a comprehensive, integrated,
Likewise, the TU Brand Team is a cross-divisional group of faculty, staff and students
that works directly with our creative partner throughout the brand strategy, creative
and implementation phases. These individuals or their departments hold varying levels
of responsibilities for key stakeholder engagement.
View the List of Brand Team Members
Marina Cooper, University Marketing & Communications
Timm Baldwin, Marketing & Brand Strategy
Michael Berends, University Enrollment Marketing
Louise Miller, Promotions & Events
Rick Pallansch, Creative Services
Santiago Solis, Center for Student Diversity, African-American Student Development
Bethany Pace, Provost’s Office
David Fedorchak, University Admissions
Bobbie Laur, Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, Office of Partnerships and
Pamela Gorsuch, University Marketing & Communications
Ralph Valle, Auxiliary Services, Auxiliary Marketing & Communications
Geannine Callaghan, Development
Lori Armstrong, Alumni Relations
Kathleen Maloney, Office of the President
Laila Richman, College of Education
William Huff, Athletics
Susan Picinich, College of Fine Arts & Communication
Kristin Laporte, WTMD
Jan Baum, College of Business & Economics
Lauren Mouling, Student, SGA
Alexis Alexander, Student, SGA
Jennifer Ballengee, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts
Joyce Garczynski, Cook Library
Laurie Mullen, College of Education
Susan Miltenberger, Office of Technology Services
Jennifer Stano, Office of Human Resources
Brand Team Meetings 2018
The Brand Team will meet on the following dates in 2018:
All meetings will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Administration Building, room
About Our Partners
Towson University is working with nationally recognized creative partners to conduct
extensive stakeholder research, to develop a brand platform and strategy, and to revisit
and review the institution’s visual identity.
The research phase of the identity audit was completed in January 2017 by Ologie, an award-winning brand agency in the higher education industry. Lipman Hearne, a nationally-acclaimed brand agency from Chicago, Ill., will lead the institution
through the remaining phases of the process.
Identity Audit Timeline
The timeline includes the following five phases:
||Fall 2016 - Spring 2017
|2. Brand Platform & Strategy Development
||Summer - Fall 2017
|3. Creative Expression & Visual Identity
||Fall 2017 - Winter 2018
|4. Implementation & Campus Workshops
|5. Audience Segmentation & Campaign Launch
||Summer 2018 - Fall 2018
Phase 1: Identity Audit Research
- Establish a benchmark for current perceptions of the Towson University brand, as compared
to its competitive set (including direct competitor, peer and aspirant institutions).
- Provide an informed approach to strategic brand development and integrated marketing
and communications across the institution.
- Foster consensus among internal and external constituencies.
- The research revealed internal and external optimism as well as high levels of public
- Diversity is a decision driver for TU’s prospective students and according to our
prospective students, TU delivers on this need.
- There is great consensus around associations with qualities that describe TU like
“value, warmth, inclusivity, and growing in the right direction.”
- Right now, Towson University is not considered very unique or distinctive. In fact,
this is one of the biggest challenges of the brand. TU is considered by the general
population to be more average and unknown.
Research Takeaways and action items
- Identify TU’s distinctive qualities
- Embrace and recognize our work (internally)
- Empower the campus to be ambassadors in consistently conveying the Towson University
- Creatively express the contemporary TU experience
Read the Identity Audit Research Executive Summary (PDF)
View the Identity Audit Research Presentation (PDF)
Phase 2: Brand Platform & Strategy Development
- Following a brand research review, competitor institution review, communications audit,
campus visit, and internal and external stakeholder focus groups, an executive summary
of findings was created with key insights and implications for TU’s brand strategy.
View the Discovery Report Presentation (PDF)
Draft Brand platform and key messages
- Brand Platform — an internal, strategic framework on which to build messages and creative development.
It serves as a snapshot of who we are, why we matter and why audiences should affiliate
- Key Messages — a set of statements defining TU’s unique offer centered around a core idea and four broad, easy-to-grasp messages
that equally support the core idea.
A draft version of the brand platform and key messages was created by the TU Brand
Team. Feedback was solicited from more than a dozen internal groups, boards and representative
The messages were also formally tested in focus groups of faculty, staff, current
students, prospective students and prospective students’ parents. A final version
of the brand platform and key messages was created based on the collective feedback
View the Final Brand Platform and Key Messages (PDF)
View the Complete Revisions Based on Feedback (PDF)