On the one hand, Surrey had positive momentum thanks to a rising National Student Survey (NSS) ranking, a clear 3-year strategy launched in 2021 and recognition in the prestigious Sunday Times University Rankings for its outstanding record in student employability. On the other hand, for the last five years they did not have an effective corporate brand to support their ambitions.
Surrey needed a new brand to match its ambitions and achievements. The task was to develop the outward expression of their corporate brand: A strategic brand essence (strategic proposition); the audience-facing expression of it (tag line or similar to be used consistently to summarise their brand promise); and a new creative style and tone (how the corporate brand would be executed in look, feel and tone across key creative collateral and tasks).
We reviewed the hugely competitive landscape where vision, mission and values were hard to differentiate – however their brand propositions, when identified, were less so. We interviewed students to understand their feelings towards the University – which were for the most part very strong. Then fleshed out a brand tower and developed a number of brand propositions that would be exclusively Surrey, emotional, relevant to all stakeholders and that took the strongest brand characteristics that were ever present at Surrey.
Creative exploration played upon key words like hopes and dreams, influence, discovery, expanse, realisation and wonderful world.
We developed a brand which played out Surrey’s core competitive difference – its attitude. Made up from its behaviours and a mindset of continual progression. After all, what could be more powerful than a collaborative community driven by the power of wonder? The set of brand guidelines were the most stand out guidelines we’ve ever produced in the education sector and we can’t wait to see how they develop in practice!
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