Last year the University of Mary Washington spent over $40,000 to develop a new branding campaign for the university. The Educational Marketing Group was hired a year ago to reinvent our school’s image, and now the Student Senate voted to remove those banners and slogans from the campus, on Oct. 24, 2012. The University could have used the money wasted on these banners to repair Mason Hall after the unexpected fire.
The need to remove the banners is an embarrassment to the administration. After all the rumors of tuition increases and academic budget cuts, this money could have been allocated differently to reduce the need for them. As the Bullet said when UMW first unveiled its tagline, the University should have consulted with the College of Business to create the new branding campaign. These students are extremely familiar with UMW and know how they want the school to be perceived. The business department could have created a senior seminar specifically dedicated to creating these slogans. The “great minds” of this university are not being properly utilized, and perfectly good talent and marketing education is going unnoticed.
Differentiating UMW from all other Virginia universities and liberal arts schools should have been the main focus of the advertising campaign. Instead of achieving this goal, the new marketing slogans have given the school a poor image. Prospective students and the incoming freshman class have witnessed these banners saying “change your mind” and “no apologies.” These quotes do not inspire our growing minds to “get to work.” While the university attempted to better our image, the campaign had the reverse effect.
What UMW needs is a unique, iconic and easily recognizable logo, and business students need the experience of designing such a large and important campaign. The opportunity to be a member of the design team would give any student the experience to thrive in a corporate environment.
In the future, the administration should consider consulting the students, since the use of student interaction in the creative processes would further emphasize the value of the education here at UMW.