In addition to welcoming students, staff and faculty back to campus this week, SUNY Geneseo is also welcoming an enhanced logo. Rolled out as part of the College’s ongoing branding and marketing efforts, the logo adds a more distinctive icon to the familiar stylized lettering already in use.
“The current wordmark, though well recognized, didn’t reflect the College’s history and reputation for academic excellence as well as we would have liked,” said Brian Bennett, director of strategic initiatives. “By adding this icon, the Geneseo logo now carries a distinctive element that reflects who we are and helps us represent our excellence more effectively.”
The design of the enhanced logo was led by Bennett, who also designed the previous College identity mark, also known as the ‘wave’ logo. He guided a team from SME, a national branding firm, which provided concept support, design consultation, best practices and market research.
Concept-testing included months of workshops, surveys, focus groups and participatory discussion that drew input from across the College community, and resulted in a logo design that features one of the College’s most iconic and loved landmarks, Sturges Hall. Even the hands on the clock have meaning: 9:13, representing September 13, which was opening day for the institution. The new look also incorporates 1871, the year SUNY Geneseo opened. The “beautiful valley” is also reflected in the “V”-shaped symbols at the bottom of the design. These elements are all incorporated in a shield shape, which was inspired by campus architecture and gives a nod to the College’s athletic mascot, the Knights.
The version of the logo that is currently in use will continue to be part of the College’s institutional brand identity so business cards, letterhead and other materials will continue to be within brand standards. Any new materials being produced for the College should carry the new enhanced logo as appropriate. For more on the new enhanced logo, templates, tools and resources, visit the College brand image style guide.
Rollout of the enhanced logo is the first part of the College’s new marketing and branding strategies. The next phase will include strategies and tactics to better articulate the College’s attributes.
“We know that no other liberal arts college – public or private – offers the kind of academic and intellectual excellence, commitment to the public good, and outstanding curricular and co-curricular programs that we do,” said Gail Glover, chief communications and marketing officer and who has led the branding initiative. “But in the competitive climate that we’re currently in, how do we ensure that the SUNY Geneseo experience will rise above all the other ‘voices’ and resonate with our respective audiences? Story-telling. And in a way that uses shared language and consistent messaging. Our branding efforts give us the tools to do that, allowing us to highlight our distinctiveness that in this higher education market, is so very important.”
The campaign focuses on four brand pillars – the building blocks that represent the values and attributes that make SUNY Geneseo a one-of-a-kind intellectual experience. Again, drawn from months of campus discussion, surveys and feedback, the pillars focus on Geneseo’s supportive community; it’s commitment to global citizenship; a climate that fosters a culture of higher expectations for all members of the community; and a track-record of exceptional outcomes.
All of these elements will drawn together in a single statement that embodies the heart and soul of who we are – a brand platform - which is still being finalized. This “big idea” will lead all external SUNY Geneseo communications for the next 2–3 years. It is hoped this shared language and consistent messaging will help increase brand awareness among targeted groups, particularly prospective students and their families, and help shape public perception.
For more information on accessing the new visuals and resources, please visit the College’s suite of brand guides, Telling the SUNY Geneseo Story.
In addition to Bennett and Glover, other members of the College’s core branding team working on this initiative include Jeff Gutenberg, associate professor of management; Julie Rao, director of institutional research; and Mallory Giambra, marketing director for Campus Auxiliary Services.
Also engaged in the initiative is the College’s 45-plus member Brand Band ambassador group, which will continue to consider and develop brand implementation and execution activities. Support for the branding initiative came from funding made available through implementation of the Geneseo 2021: Seeing Beyond the Horizon strategic plan, and through Campus Auxiliary Services and the College’s licensing program.