St George's is operating in an increasingly competitive market, with growing competition from both home and overseas institutions. The HE landscape is unpredictable, with possible further changes in fees, number control, and the unknown impact of Brexit. There is also a sharp fall in the 18-year old population of around 2 percent this cycle and in 2020, so universities are competing for a smaller pool of potential applicants.
The pace of change is significant. St George's needs to ensure it is able to adapt and remain responsive to an ever-changing HE market. Success in the future depends on St George's having a clear and distinctive market position and a strong brand identity that connects with future prospective students and stakeholders.
The university has ambitious targets for domestic and international growth. The University's reputation will be vital in realising these ambitions – whether it's related to student recruitment, a fundraising campaign, or promoting research impact.
Aims and objectives
Understand current awareness and perception of St George's among its key audiences and understand what our target students look for in their ideal university.
Develop a compelling overarching positioning statement for St George's to identify what is distinctive about the university compared to its competitors and establish a way for staff and students to articulate this in a way that resonates with its key audiences.
Distil the various messages currently in use and develop a set of agreed stratified messages for particular audiences to support the overarching positioning which can be clearly substantiated.
Develop a unified visual identity and language for St George's that support the positioning statement and helps the university stand-out in a crowded market.
Develop a set of practical guidelines to help St George's present itself consistently across media.
Longer-term, increase brand awareness and familiarity with what St George's stands for.
A series of workshops with students and staff and led by our creative partner Spencer du Bois were held during April and May 2019.
Fifty people participated in these workshops, which were designed to elicit thoughts around our messaging, ambitions, approach and overall purpose. As a result of this work the agency developed some broad themes and approaches we could take towards our messaging.
These themes were put into a recently circulated survey so that all staff, students and partners could input into which messages they felt best reflected St George's.
400 people participated in the surveys.
After reviewing the survey, there will be a series of evaluation workshops with staff and students.
There will also be a staff participation meeting, details of which will be circulated shortly.
Any questions about the project can be emailed to the marketing team.
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The last review of St George's institutional messaging was conducted in 2013 and was developed on the basis of a shared identity with St George's Hospital. Furthermore, the current visual identity guidelines are limited and cannot be easily applied across all channels. This has led to a lack of consistency in how we present ourselves. A new Reputation and Visual Identity Project is intended to review the university's current brand and consider how we can consolidate and develop a differentiated, stronger identity to help the university achieve its future ambitions.
In addition, the University of London Bill currently going through the parliamentary process, will allow federal member institutions of the University of London, including St George's, to apply for university title in their own right. This offers the university an opportunity to review its relationship with the University of London in relation to its name which will be carefully considered and reflected in the new visual identity.
New visual identity guidelines including use of logo, colour palette, font, photography style, signage guidelines, space design etc.
New positioning statement underpinned by Corporate Plan mission and vision.
New stratified messaging framework with agreed statements at University and course level.
Ongoing brand management and governance policy.
Brand implementation plan from 2020/21.
Spencer du Bois have been appointed as our creative partner for this project. Spencer du Bois have significant experience working with education institutions such as Hull York Medical School, Imperial Business School and charity sector organisations such as the Samaritans to improve their messaging and visual identity.
The project is being funded by existing budget within the marketing department that is typically used for research and the development of marketing materials.
Two groups have been established to govern and manage the project.
The Project Delivery Team operationally manages the project implementation, consultation and communication. The project delivery team is chaired by Naz Hussain, Associate Director for Marketing and Student Recruitment.
The Project Steering Group makes key milestone decisions, ensures the project is being run effectively, and monitors risks and issues. The Steering Group is chaired by our Principal, Professor Jenny Higham and includes a member of Council and student member in addition to members of the senior leadership team.
There will be a range of opportunities for staff and students to participant in the project. A series of workshops, presentations and surveys will be undertaken to test current perceptions before developing of a new set of institutional messages are developed. They will then be tested in evaluation workshops for further refinement. Following this, work will begin on developing a range of creative concepts to replace the university's current visual identity before going through the same consultation and review process.