Jeff Shafer posed those questions at last week’s faculty forum, titled “The UNC Greensboro Story: Narrative and Visual Identity Update.” It gave faculty an opportunity to hear about and give input on UNCG’s work in this area.
Shafer is associate vice chancellor and chief information officer, and was introduced by Dr. Andrea Hunter, Faculty Senate chair.
“We need a compelling, authentic voice that resonates with diverse stakeholders,” he said.
And when the conversation turns to the best universities in the state, we must be in that conversation, he said. Some call UNCG a best-kept secret. “Let’s not be content to be a ‘secret.’”
As he showed many impactful examples from the past year of promoting UNCG, including web stories, publications, ads, social media, billboards, even greater presence in the apparel sections in stores, he noted the need to better share who we are. “We have to stop underselling.”
A faculty member had told him early on, “Let’s make sure we authentically tell the story of our academic achievement.” He showed examples of UNCG promoting research and learning.
The university’s branding committee – composed of leaders from academic, athletic, advancement/alumni, admissions and administrative functions – as well as the agency FUSE IDEAS have spoken with more than 400 people, in a process of discovery. The research has led to several realizations about UNCG.
- Collective and tenacious focus on student success. Here, there’s a proactive, intentional commitment in this area that sets us apart.
- Community of earned achievement and pride. There’s a roll-up your sleeves work ethic in academics, research and service – with everyone working hard to make a difference. That helps students and alumni make a difference.
- A welcoming environment where everyone finds a home. It’s a place to belong and thrive for a vast array of students.
The result of these qualities?
“UNC Greensboro creates remarkable real-world impact, every day,” he said. That is the truth, but it’s not a tagline, he explained. It may lead to a direction for messaging.
Many faculty members spoke at the forum. Dr. Tara Green opened with a question about the presence of global connections in the new messaging. Other faculty members contributed suggestions: About campus beauty. About student success tied to work ethic and working hard. About the faculty being both great researchers and great teachers. UNCG as central to the state’s efforts to be successful. Gender, female identity and UNCG’s history as a women’s college. A suggestion about the value of humor and emotion in branding. Ethnicity and logos. School colors. The need to promote and tell the stories of UNCG’s nationally recognized programs.
As for potential logos, he said, “There is the need to update and simplify and position for the future.”
Regarding school colors, it’s unlikely any colors will go away. It is possible there may be an additional color or two. The team is looking at differentiation from other nearby universities in the area and the UNC system; symbolism; something new with a nod to our history; and style.
As for timing, Shafer indicated the plan is to launch anything new in conjunction with the State of the Campus Address and the return of students to campus in August.
There are no first drafts of “creative” yet, such as logos, but first drafts will be coming soon.
Faculty have several more opportunities to take part in the conversation in coming days:
- Friday, Feb. 2, 10-11:30 a.m. – EUC, Azalea Room
- Monday, Feb. 5, 3-4:30 p.m. – EUC, Phillips Room
- Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2-3:30 – EUC, Phillips Room
Registration for faculty members is open at workshops.uncg.edu – see “University Communications” tab.
By Mike Harris