President Kim Schatzel made the retelling of a contemporary Towson University story one of her top initiatives. 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.
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, marketing campaign.
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.
Sean Welsh, University Marketing & Communications
Timm Baldwin, Marketing & Brand Strategy
Rick Pallansch, Creative Services
Louise Miller, Promotions & Events
David Fedorchak, University Admissions
Bobbie Laur, Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, Office of Partnerships and Outreach
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
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
Students, Student Government Association
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., played a crucial role in identifying and defining our brand platform and key messages. Moving forward, we’re pleased to be working with Mission Media, our Agency of Record, as we further develop TU’s voice and visual identity, and begin the implementation of our new branding.
The timeline includes five phases:
|1. Research||Fall 2016 - Spring 2017|
|2. Brand Platform & Strategy Development||Summer 2017 - Spring 2018|
|3. Creative Expression & Visual Identity||Summer 2018 - Fall 2018|
|4. Implementation & Campus Workshops||Winter 2018 - Spring 2019|
|5. Audience Segmentation & Campaign Launch||Summer 2019 - Fall 2019|
View the Discovery Report Presentation (PDF)
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 bodies.
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 received.
We know campus is buzzing with excitement for the university’s new brand mark which will be shared first with the TU community before it’s implemented on campus and beyond. Look for President Schatzel to reveal the brand mark direction in October 2018. We can’t wait for you to see this important element of the university’s brand new visual identity.
Our voice is who we are, the distinct tone and style that allows Towson University’s personality to shine in everything we do. It deepens our communication and helps reinforce what makes us TU.
The new brand is a way for the entire community to be a part of TU’s story, where our voice and our personality is evident in everything we do. Through the end of summer 2019, our focus is on those most connected to TU—our students, faculty and staff. They’re the first to experience and adopt the new brand before expanding our branding updates to the larger external community.
By the end of 2019, many of the brand marks around campus have already been changed to reflect our new branding. Our bold new TU can be found on flagpoles, buses, signage, marketing materials and more, and this transition will continue until the new brand identity is fully applied.
The Brand Campaign was launched with external paid media including print and digital ads, out-of-home advertising, and transit ads. It’s also been used in our marketing to prospective students. These efforts will continue into 2020 and beyond, continuing the momentum we’ve built as TU keeps moving forward.