024 The Bath Perspective Sharpening our Identity Angela Webley, Marketing Manager in the School of Management, led the recent project to update the School’s visual identity. Here she shares the process and gives some tips for anyone planning a similar exercise. Why a new visual identity? We had been using the same visuals on our brochures for the last 10 years and with a new programme launching every year it was starting to look dated. There was also no unifying look across the media – our advertising campaigns did not link with our brochures, our website or our other publicity materials. The fragmented portrait of the School that this conveyed did not help with brand recognition and meant we were missing out on cross-selling opportunities across programmes – for example MBA students didn’t know we had an excellent undergraduate programme and vice-versa. We recognised that it was important for our positioning, both internally within the School and externally, that we sharpen our visual identity. What was the first step in the process? Stephen Rangecroft, the School’s Director of External Relations and Marketing, and I wrote the brief and convened a meeting of what was to become the core team. The work of this core team was to prove extremely important in the success of the project as it encompassed the key areas of the School’s operations and had a direct link to our parent organisation, the University of Bath – ensuring our key internal stakeholders all had a voice in the process. Once the team had approved the brief it went to the School’s Executive Board for approval which was duly granted. Getting full backing from the outset was crucial to ensuring the ultimate success of the project; it would be my key tip to anyone else embarking on a similar project. How did you choose your agency? Six agencies were selected mainly on the basis of their reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations. Stephen and I set up meetings with each of the short-listed agencies and explained the brief and, importantly, explained that the very tight budget was set and non-negotiable. We discovered that not every agency was willing to invest the time in taking part in the selection process and one agency dropped out prior to the pitches. Going to meet the agencies prior to the pitches was very beneficial as we were able to see them in their own environments and to set the parameters for the project from the start. Stephen and I then developed the selection criteria and it was against these criteria that all members of the core team were asked to assess each agency when they delivered their pitches. The results were then collated and the overall picture was clear, SampsonMay were unanimously chosen as our preferred agency. Their creative work had been particularly impressive and they showed a good understanding of what we wanted. How did SampsonMay refine their ideas for the new visual identity? They followed up on the pitch with a presentation to the School’s Executive Board and then conducted workshops with the School’s Advisory Board, students and other stakeholders. They used these sessions to work out what our vision, mission, and values were and to gain insight into the terminology members of the School’s community use to describe it and to gain a feel for how they saw the place. Logistics did not allow for a focus group with our alumni, but we recognised that their input was vitally important, so an email questionnaire was used to gather their views. The feedback was considered and SampsonMay then held another focus group with the core team. Having the terminology from the wider groups really helped with considering what the ‘look and feel’ of the visual identity should be. One strong theme which developed was that students were proud of their University;