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Winning Partners Inc are expert in innovation marketing with a portfolio of Irish and international clients. Re-designing a business suite that fits the needs of all campus constituents is one of the most difficult tasks of the integrated marketing and branding effort.
By the end of spring semester 2006, we encourage all staff to be using the new identity materials. What if I need cards or letterhead immediately and can't wait until late August or September?
Yes, but with several hundred MSU clients needing new materials, bulk orders will be processed before individual orders or those that don't meet bulk order criteria. The design for the branded Web site templates has been finalized and several prototypical sites are currently being executed for testing purposes. We will begin taking orders in July and will begin printing the orders in August and September.
If you cannot wait until fall, we suggest printing a limited run of cards using the current MSU logo. Though we announced the icon in May, we are still working on the details of typography, colors, and brand extensions, and we are writing the graphic identity standards, which outline how the new logo can and can't be used. Montana State University has chosen a new logo for the Bozeman-based university that reflects such elements as the spark of learning and the statewide reach of the university's land-grant mission, university officials announced today. At the center of the design stands a block "M," with an arc underneath and a geometric shape above. The new logo, which will be implemented during the next several months, does not replace the Bobcat head used by MSU Athletics, nor does it apply to MSU campuses in Billings, Great Falls and Havre, said Suzi Taylor, head of MSU publications and graphics.
However, it will be used by most entities affiliated with the Bozeman campus, including the MSU Extension Service, the agricultural research centers and off-campus nursing programs, Taylor added. The new design replaces what many refer to as the "hotel sign" logo created 10 years ago when MSU merged with campuses in Billing, Havre and Great Falls. Taylor said the new logo was designed to integrate both historical and aspirational values. The geometric element above the letter represents a spark of energy, or the academic flame of knowledge. Following its implementation beginning this summer, the logo will appear on all university letterhead, business cards, publications and Web sites. Taylor said MSU will phase in the new logo rather than ask departments to toss out any publications, letterhead or other materials made with the present logo. The logo often will appear with the phrase "Mountains and Minds," which the university has chosen as its official tagline, according to MSU marketing director Julie Kipfer. Hundreds of other tagline suggestions were solicited from alumni, faculty, students and staff last summer, but "Mountains and Minds," which has appeared on various MSU marketing and recruitment materials for several years, best encapsulates the institution's essence and core values, Kipfer said.
MSU began the logo redesign process last fall, with Esser Design of Phoenix, following a communications audit that found more than 70 different logos in use on campus. Taylor said the committee took the groups' comments into account and came up with the final design, which has drawn strong support from campus leadership and student groups.
The new mark is just one element of a larger marketing effort aimed at increasing the university's visibility and better communicating its overall strengths, said Kipfer. The project cost $23,500, which includes research, creative development of the marks in all necessary formats, recommendations on colors and typography, and graphic identity guidelines. Over the past 10 years, MSU has experienced a tremendous increase in academic quality and research contributions. In addition, our hope is that use of a consistent graphic identity across campus will not only give us stronger regional and national visibility, but will ultimately save money.
To put the cost in perspective, a complete package of university marketing identity materials can cost several hundred thousand dollars. We used the State of Montana bidding process to choose the most qualified firm, which weighed many qualifications including not just creativity and talent, but research, testing and buy-in associated with a project of this scope. Because the project was under $25,000, we could have solicited just three proposals and made our selection. The logo is designed to serve all of the university's groups, no matter where they are located or what type of work they do. However, the new design will NOT be used for MSU-Billings, MSU-Great Falls or MSU-Northern. We have strategically identified a few select groups will be allowed to use different logos--such as the Museum of the Rockies and Bobcat Athletics.
Once the new logo is announced, it will take about 4-6 weeks to write graphic identity standards and prepare electronic files for all uses. This fall, the university's marketing advisory council decided to use just Montana State University whenever possible to signify our status as the flagship university of the MSU system. Our first priority will be business cards and letterhead, beginning with the university's senior leaders. We are close to choosing a new MSU logo and are asking the university community and the public for feedback on two logo concepts. Our steering committee has recently reviewed seven different logo concepts and is working on narrowing these down to two or three good ideas that can then be presented to MSU's stakeholder groups and to the public this spring.
One of our integrated marketing goals was to develop a document that embodies the core values and personality of Montana State University's brand.
Montana State University is a vibrant and growing institution, where students, staff and alumni are ambitious and goal-oriented, yet down-to-earth and approachable. Our work is ground-breaking, innovative and creative, and we are known as warm, well-rounded people with a reputation for a strong work ethic and high standards of personal integrity. We enjoy learning from people with diverse backgrounds, and we like to take a bigpicture view.
We like to explore many options and strive to challenge ourselves -- inside and outside the classroom. MSU offers us a distinct personal and professional lifestyle -- one that is more peaceful and inspiring, and less focused on social status and prestige.
Above all, we at Montana State University are alive -- part of a dynamic community that thrives on optimism, confidence, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to collaboration. Esser Design, the consultant doing creative development for MSU, will present the logo concepts. The Brand Design Committee provided feedback on the overall logo concepts, as well as selected four specific ideas to be developed in more detail. The MSU Web Advisory Committee has met several times this fall to begin planning for the next-generation branded MSU Web site. The Web Advisory Committee reports to the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and is the lead review and advisory body for the branded Web site design process. Esser will use a three-step process to create the new identity package (which includes a new logo and recommendations for typefonts and colors).
One of the goals of our integrated marketing campaign is to develop a distinct style of photography that reflects our unique personality and institutional strengths.
We are now refining a list of potential taglines and will soon be testing them with various target audiences. We will be working closely with Esser Design so that the university logo and tagline work well together. Over the past year, MSU has invested a significant amount of resources in creating a foundation for a coordinated marketing and communications effort. Integrated marketing helps develop a coherent and consistent image and message for the university. In the first six months, the emphasis of the integrated marketing plan is to establish an internal foundation for the brand, its creative execution and the capability to deliver the brand promise.
Work is now underway to develop the Brand Architecture for the university's logos, colors, typefaces, tagline, etc. Building the Brand Architecture involves assessing how closely each MSU unit should be associated with the university's main identity -- known as the Core Brand -- and then assigning it to a category with specifications for using the various identity elements. The categories will provide flexibility in managing the brand by allowing for alternate uses where appropriate to better promote the university's diverse constituents. The product of Brand Architecture development will be a summary listing of the university's organization with defined categories and specifications for each operational unit. The process for the creative development of new logo(s), colors, typefaces and other elements of graphic identity package has begun.
We are looking for companies that have experience conceiving, executing, and implementing graphic identity programs for universities or complex multi-faceted organizations, while incorporating the organization's marketing objectives, brand positioning, brand promise and strategic goals. We attract high-ability, goal-oriented students who are seeking an inspiring, student-centered campus in a spectacular setting.
Our students work closely with world-class faculty in a community that values diversity and is invested in every student's success. Our graduates are recruited and valued for their knowledge, professional skills, and strong work ethic and become effective and ethical leaders in their professions and communities. The brand promise is a compelling educational concept that provides a unique market position, prestige, and point of distinction for MSU.
The next phases in the marketing program are to prepare an Integrated Marketing Plan and begin Creative Development.
As the first step toward developing an integrated marketing and communications plan for MSU, this past fall an external marketing consultant conducted an audit of MSU's communications practices to evaluate the effectiveness of our current programs and resource allocation. Several changes related to enhancing university communications and marketing practices were implemented in response to the Communications Audit.

Another response currently underway is a market research survey to obtain information from MSU's external audiences about their impressions of our identity. The primary objective of this phase is to create a unique and compelling MSU marketing strategy based on a specific brand promise, and to define brand components that will support MSU's strategic objectives through our communications. This phase of development is currently underway and MSU is again working with EMG as a consultant. The results of this phase will be a clearly defined brand promise, market positioning strategy, key messages and brand architecture that will guide future creative development. Once the marketing and branding strategies have been defined, these will be used to guide development of an Integrated Marketing Plan.
The final phase of brand development is the creation of visual and message components that portray the institution's values and identity across all communication platforms, such as publications, advertising, news media, Web sites and other channels. There is a considerable amount of effort involved in this phase and the availability of resources will be a factor in the timetable for the work. Accomplishing the steps outlined above will provide a solid framework for the university to begin realizing the benefits of an integrated brand-marketing approach to support our strategic objectives. In his recent "campus update" letter, President Gamble referred to our efforts to improve the university's communications with our public. In the various communications that come from a department, college or other unit of MSU, (whether through a brochure, newsletter or Web site), we lack a clear "graphic identity." We have a proliferation of logos, styles and colors, to such an extent that it is often difficult to determine that a publication or Web site is affiliated with MSU. Our first step was to conduct an audit of our current communication activities, the resources that are invested, and the overall effectiveness of these activities.
Organizational changes have been made in University Relations and Communications Services, to enable us to more effectively centralize, and therefore better coordinate, communications through our publications, Web sites and media releases.
The name of University Relations has been changed to Communications and Public Affairs, to better represent our areas of responsibility. MSU News Service -- For press releases, features and working with state and national media, contact Annette Trinity-Stevens. University Marketing -- For questions on university marketing strategy, proper use of MSU logos on commercial products, and marketing promotions, contact Julie Kipfer.
In addition, if you have general questions regarding university communications or need assistance determining whom to contact, you can also call Shar Cantwil at 994-2722.
The next phase in creating MSU's integrated marketing plan is to define our unique identity or "brand." This will require determining what we stand for as a university -- our strengths, our niche, our personality and character, and our values, and what distinguishes MSU from other institutions. We hope to begin the creative work this spring, which will involve a review all aspects of our graphic identity, including colors, brand photography and official logos. There clearly is substantial mutual gain for the university and all divisions, and these benefits should be evident once we reach a point where our image is solidified, we have developed the right set of core messages and those are reinforced routinely by all representatives of our university.
In fact, today we, at Launch Marketing, are announcing our new brand identity and website, however, we haven’t pivoted, bought anyone or needed to dust ourselves off. I started Launch Marketing 15 years ago (yes, a big birthday cake is in our future!) and at the time I sat down with many business people and marketers to understand what they needed that they weren’t getting from existing agencies – looking for the untapped aspect of marketing that we could provide. So, this is what we set out to do, and after 15 years and over 140 clients served, we still pride ourselves on being a strategy-to-execution marketing machine. Tactically, we wanted a new website to make it easier to communicate with prospects and clients. Practically, we knew that with some focus (and late nights) we had the in-house tools and expertise to get this done within a three-month timeframe.
So – without further ado, here’s the new Launch Marketing website which is the core representation of the new brand identity – which you’ll also see in our next presentation, collateral and social media presence. Connect With Us Contact Launch Marketing to see how our turn-key marketing services can generate leads and drive revenue for your business.
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You can also contact University Printing for a quick, short-run color-copy order of your current materials. MSU has invested significant resources in developing a uniform graphic identity for the campus, and MSU's overall marketing goals are jeopardized if individual departments create business cards and letterhead that do not match this uniform identity. Testing is expected to be complete by early September and the Web templates should be released for general use at that time.
The toolkit will include additional templates (such as Web templates, Powerpoint presentations, etc.) plus additional tools and information about MSU marketing and branding. Publications produced through Communications and Public Affairs will be imprinted with the core logo beginning in July. We will not ask people to destroy cards imprinted with the current logo, so you are not in danger of losing your current cards.
If possible, print a more limited run of your publication so that you can reprint with the new logo this fall. For example, the "M" is reminiscent of the "M" on Bozeman's Mount Baldy, a familiar sight to thousands of city residents, alumni and visitors. Those attributes include discovery, creativity and the ability to integrate such elements as learning with lifestyle and teaching with research. The logo steering committee unveiled two proposed designs in March to faculty, alumni, staff, students and the public. When inventoried this fall, MSU centers and departments were using over 70 different logos. Right now, the type "Montana State University Bozeman" is locked into the box shape of the current logo. For example, Northern Arizona, another Big Sky Conference school, just invested $300,000 in a new marketing identity. We went looking specifically for a firm that had experience working with complex multi-faceted organizations.
The president will strongly encourage all MSU departments, centers and colleges to use the new core logo rather than creating their own individual logos. Other programs that are funded outside of MSU, or with many entities--not just MSU--will also be considered separately. Several departments have already contacted us wanting to use the new logo, and have set aside funds to do so.
However, an official name change requires the approval of the regents, and our official name remains Montana State University-Bozeman. This brand personality document complements our market positioning statement, and helps us as we develop MSU's signature look and feel. The consultant agreed to refine the selected ideas and report back to the design committee by conference call on Dec. Major issues covered thus far have included the future use of media such as Macromedia Flash for the delivery of dynamic content on the Web site, the implementation of a Content Management System to help manage brand consistency, and the design criteria for branded Web page templates. MSU Web Communications will perform the actual design and coordination of the Web site branding project. Esser will also make suggestions for graphic treatment of MSU entities that are slightly removed from the core brand -- such as Athletics. We are currently examining and testing several creative styles, and will begin implementing the style in early 2005. In the fall of 2003 a communications audit was conducted and in the spring of 2004, the university conducted an internal branding process. Universities that successfully integrate their communications, produce more targeted effective publications, enhance their reputation and visibility, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
This includes building support for the brand identity and its messaging components and creating the marketing processes, tools and resources needed for an effective campaign. The Brand Architecture will be used as the basis for determining how these elements are applied to all branded products, such as letterhead, publications, advertising, Web pages and other communications. There will be four categories, with each providing an incrementally derivative association with the Core Brand. The Office of Communications and Public Affairs is currently developing the preliminary summary. On August 13 a limited solicitation RFP was issued to hire a consultant to assist with these services.
We are also looking for a group that has experience testing various graphic identity concepts, presenting well-researched concepts, and building consensus. To submit ideas for the tagline, please read the background information and make a submission on the Web.
The marketing consultant presented the findings of this process to MSU leadership and the campus community on May 3, 2004.

Our pre-eminent scholarship involves students in developing creative solutions to today's and tomorrow's challenges. It is relevant to all units and all audiences including students, donors, alumni, and influencers. The results of the analysis, performed by the Educational Marketing Group (EMG,) were reported to university leadership in November, and included numerous recommendations for enhancing the success of these programs. These include the reorganization to create the new Office of Communications and Public Affairs. The survey has been distributed to over 3,000 Montanans and the results are currently being compiled. This work will involve building strong stakeholder consensus for a specific brand-marketing approach that will support the strategic vision objectives.
The consultant has already begun gathering data from university constituencies to facilitate the process.
This will be the master plan for applying the brand strategies to communications activities.
The products of this process will include tools such as logos, typefaces, graphic styles, graphic templates, photography, message sets, usage standards and other materials. This letter is to provide you more information about our current activities and future plans.
In addition, in our various communications, we often miss opportunities to reinforce important messages about the university.
Recommendations were submitted to the Executive Council and a number of these recommendations have already been implemented. The unit consists of four departments, as described below, which provide a variety of services to assist the campus in their communication planning.
As Director of the MSU News Service, Annette will coordinate all news activities for research, agriculture and extension, and the general campus. As Director of MSU Web Communications, Moss has been charged with achieving brand integration and a more consistent graphic identity across the MSU Web site. As Director of MSU Publications and Graphics, Suzi is responsible for the graphic design center, agriculture and extension publications and general university publications.
We will be working with a consultant to help us develop our brand, and all faculty and staff will be invited to provide input into this process. We look forward to working with the campus community in this process of developing the Montana State University brand. What I learned was that there were many agencies and consultants who could help develop strategies and plans but then few who could also implement the strategy in a pragmatic, speedy and cost-effective way. But when we reviewed our own brand we saw that there was room for us to reinforce who we are, and what we mean to our clients. Maybe – or more politely put, we have been very busy working on our client’s brands to update our own!
Aine has supported and influenced senior management across functional teams through strategy formulation, option generation and implementation in FMCG food, chilled food, alcohol and Professional Service Industries in Multi-National bluechip organisations. Since these orders require absolute accuracy, and because the business suite is such an important part of MSU's identity, we ask for your cooperation and patience during this phase of our work. At this time, University Printing and MSU Publications and Graphics are the only units that have the official MSU templates and graphics files. The design of the next home page and several associated feature pages are also currently underway. These publications include those with large external target audiences, and those with a long shelf life (one year or more). Asking the campus to use one logo--as well as consistent design templates for publications and Web sites--will ultimately save money because people will not be reinventing the wheel every time. The new icon will be set aside from the typography, allowing typesetting of, for example, Montana State University College of Engineering, which was not possible before. We e-mailed the bid to all Bozeman area designers, a few other design firms that were on our bid list,and a few statewide firms. While "familiarity with MSU" was one of the many criteria in the proposal, one of the strongest criteria was the past experience and ability to work with complex, multi-faceted organizations, and proof of experience in constructing a timeline, researching, trademarking, testing and getting stakeholder buy-in. We also researched the potential taglines extensively, including with President's Advisory Council, students, Alumni Board, and many other groups on campus.
To create the brand personality, we used personal interviews, university history and research data from meetings with several MSU stakeholder groups. 23 principals from the consulting firm presented early conceptual logo designs to the MSU Brand Design Committee.
More detailed information about the Web design project is available in the meeting minutes on the Web Advisory Committee's Web page.
We selected Esser after putting forth a limited solicitation proposal based on the state RFP guidelines. As a result of the internal branding process, Montana State University adopted a Brand Positioning Statement, Brand Promise and Key Messages in support of the Five-Year Vision document.
These efforts not only attract and retain new students and faculty, but also enhance and support the efforts of university and individual college fundraisers. When completed it will be presented to the Marketing Advisory Council for review and input, and then ultimately to the President's Executive Council for review, revision and approval. The brand components encompass the efforts of faculty and support staff while assuring the successful delivery of the brand promise. The President's Executive Council authorized specific responses be undertaken as part of the ongoing integrated marketing process. This office has four divisions, the MSU News Service, MSU Publications and Graphics, MSU Web Communications, and University Marketing, and each has responsibility for centralized management in their respective area. This data will be used to inform and guide the development of future communications strategies, and will provide a comparative baseline for future research. It will include specific actions and tactics focused on supporting specific institutional goals, clearly defined timetables for activities, and defined measurable outcomes. As with other phases of the integrated marketing process, this work will be undertaken with stakeholder input and feedback. Beyond the initial implementation the marketing and communications staff will continue to monitor the program effectiveness and react accordingly.
For these reasons, we have begun a several-stage process to develop an integrated marketing plan, which will provide the university a more coordinated, cohesive way of communicating with external audiences.
One of the outcomes of this activity will be a set of core university messages that will support our brand, and will need to be reinforced in all of our communication activities. People were looking for a way to prove a strategy worked by carrying it all the way from the initial idea to fruition. We will process business suite orders as quickly and accurately as possible in order to support the campus community. Even those units that are not using the bulk order system should submit their information according to the electronic guidelines below.
We also worked with the Alumni Association to find as many alumni design firms as possible. However, many items will be phased in over a fairly long period of time, and some items--like the memorial gates--will never be changed. All in all, Mountains and Minds came out as the clear winner for representing the ideals and strengths of MSU. Eventually, we will create a brand toolkit that allows everybody on campus to use the logo as well as other marketing pieces we will be creating. The consultants also met with the Communications and Public Affairs staff to discuss the development of identity standards and policies for the new branding program. Once that feedback has been received, the consultant will refine the designs for presentation and testing with other MSU stakeholders at a future campus visit. Final design of all Web components will follow the completion of the creative development for the new visual identity elements.
Eight firms submitted written proposals, we interviewed four, and an MSU committee chose Esser. In order to fully communicate and implement these messages campus wide an integrated marketing plan has been developed and will be implemented over the next academic year. The five components, taken together, define a full-bodied identity based solidly on academic excellence, with MSU's spectacular setting accentuating a competitive advantage that enhances learning and discovery as well as the overall educational experience.
These units are actively involved with subsequent phases to develop and implement the integrated marketing and branding programs.
The plan will be the overarching guide for coordinating communications and marketing resources in both near and long terms. Additionally, ongoing research, feedback, and assessment will be conducted to support the long-term success of the integrated marketing programs.
More information on the Web branding redesign process can be found in the minutes of the Web Advisory Committee.
Esser Design is a full-service agency specializing in branding, identity, and visual communications, including print, web, interactive, and multimedia applications. The firm has extensive experience with institutional identity, and completed a major graphic design project for Arizona State University.

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