“Until now, [VCU] has kept a fairly low profile and done a poor job of telling the story — locally and nationally — that it is a major research university with top-tier programs, including its medical school, arts school, the Massey Cancer Center and the da Vinci Center for Innovation, Lepley said.
To send the message it wants, VCU had to find a single voice that it could use as it recruits students and faculty as well as communicating with alumni, donors and lawmakers.
“We’re a very large, complex organization, so bits and pieces of it have been communicating on their own,” she said. “All of this is to have us have a consistent and relevant brand.”
Communicating its message under a unified brand and showing off what the university has to offer students and faculty, in and out of the lecture halls, is a major component of the campaign.
That is essential if the campaign is to succeed, Rust said.
“Every school is trying to do this,” he said. “To cut through the clutter, schools must have something unique and verifiable to communicate, not just happy talk or grand, but vague, pronouncements. ‘We are great’ won’t sell, but ‘We are unique and interesting’ might.”
The rebranding is scheduled to last for five years because it takes time for a campaign of this magnitude to take hold, Lepley said.
VCU turned to two advertising and marketing agencies to help it come up with the campaign: Massachusetts-based Fuseideas and Richmond-based CRT/tanaka.”
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