St. Thomas held one of several focus groups Thursday with marketing agency Barrie D’Rozario DiLorenzo to rebrand the university.
The project is mainly focused on creating a cohesive university brand, according to Kimberly Motes, the senior vice president for institutional advancement.
“Right now we’ve got a lot of different messages, a lot of people,” Motes said. She said she is looking for a cohesive answer to the question of what St. Thomas represents.
The rebranding project falls under the “Enhanced Visibility and Profile” category of the new strategic plan approved in November by the St. Thomas Board of Trustees. The goals of the rebranding project – to improve the perception of St. Thomas and to create an overall brand – fall under the parameters of this category.
Erin Tait, senior brand strategist, led the session with Kevin DiLorenzo, president and director of client services and brand strategy, both of whom are with BDD. The discussion was streamed live to St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus, allowing both campuses to participate in the focus group.
The two began by asking the audience about the benefit of a value-based education. Participants then imagined St. Thomas as a car brand and explained how the brand they chose represented the university. Later, participants explored the differences between outsiders’ perceptions and desired perceptions of the school.
“We’re really looking at our brand, the St. Thomas brand, so that we can really articulate what is unique about this place and what some of the hallmarks are,” Motes said.
Motes formed a 20-person working group that included administration, faculty, staff, student, alumni and Board of Trustees representatives to get an accurate understanding of the university. The group narrowed the selection of marketing groups to two before President Sullivan made the final decision, choosing the BD’D agency.
“My hope is that after the campaign, St. Thomas will become a nationally known university,” junior Katie Hasslinger, the student representative of the group, said.
The project is expected to be completed mid-2015.
Elena Neuzil can be reached at email@example.com.