Montana State University
Montana State University > University Communications > Integrated Marketing and Branding

Integrated Marketing and Branding

Project Background: President Gamble's Letter Initiating the Integrated Marketing Plan Process

Branded Web Site Development Update -- August 2006

Graphic Identity Guidelines -- September 2005 (PDF, 328K)

President Gamble's Letter Introducing Guidelines -- Sept. 2005 (PDF, 72K)

MSU Integrated Marketing Guidelines (PDF, 360K)

Business suite: Envelopes, letterhead and business cards

Orders should be made at: http://www.montana.edu/eztemplating
Re-designing a business suite that fits the needs of all campus constituents is one of the most difficult tasks of the integrated marketing and branding effort. Even more difficult is processing hundreds of orders in a very short time. Since these orders require absolute accuracy, and because the business suite is such an important part of MSU's identity, we ask for your cooperation and patience during this phase of our work. We will process business suite orders as quickly and accurately as possible in order to support the campus community.

Frequently Asked Letterhead Questions:

What's new about the business suite design and ordering procedures?

  • The new design for cards, letterhead and envelopes matches MSU's overall graphic identity
    New, better-quality paper
  • Will shift exclusively to on-line ordering


What's the same about the business suite design and ordering procedures?

  • Still offer option of scenic four-color photo on back (or choose blank back)
  • Same prices for printing and production of individual orders (but the 10% discount for bulk orders is new)
  • Encouraged to use University Printing for all business suite material, as they have the official templates and graphics

Can we still use cards, letterhead and envelopes with the current logo?
Yes -- we encourage you to use up existing supplies so as not to waste materials.

When will we have to switch over to the new identity for our business suite?
By the end of spring semester 2006, we encourage all staff to be using the new identity materials.

What if I need cards or letterhead immediately and can't wait until late August or September?
If you have existing cards with the current logo, use them up. You can also contact University Printing for a quick, short-run color-copy order of your current materials.

Can I send in an order now, to ensure quick delivery?
Yes, but with several hundred MSU clients needing new materials, bulk orders will be processed before individual orders or those that don't meet bulk order criteria. Eventually, we will be use an on-line order form exclusively. In the mean time, submit your information electronically to speed the process along. Even those units that are not using the bulk order system should submit their information according to the electronic guidelines below.

Can I use the MSU logo to make my own cards? Can I go to a local print shop and ask them to design something?
No. MSU has invested significant resources in developing a uniform graphic identity for the campus, and MSU's overall marketing goals are jeopardized if individual departments create business cards and letterhead that do not match this uniform identity. At this time, University Printing and MSU Publications and Graphics are the only units that have the official MSU templates and graphics files.

Branded Web site update

The design for the branded Web site templates has been finalized and several prototypical sites are currently being executed for testing purposes. Testing is expected to be complete by early September and the Web templates should be released for general use at that time. The design of the next home page and several associated feature pages are also currently underway. These should be complete by mid-to-late fall semester. More information on the Web branding redesign process can be found in the minutes of the Web Advisory Committee.

Update: June 2005

Timeline for New Logo Implementation

MAY

  • Announce final selection for logo

JUNE

  • Finalize typography and colors for the core mark
  • Imprint core logo on select marketing pieces that are produced through Communications and Public Affairs

JULY

  • Begin taking orders for new business cards, letterhead and envelopes. (Supplies of all materials imprinted with the current MSU logo may be used up until you are ready to reprint).

AUGUST

  • Post logo graphics files and the graphic identity guidelines on the Web for campus use.
  • University Printing begins producing orders for letterhead and business cards

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER

  • Official launch of new logo, graphic identity materials and branding effort
  • Entire MSU Brand Toolkit available. The toolkit will include additional templates (such as Web templates, Powerpoint presentations, etc.) plus additional tools and information about MSU marketing and branding.

**This timeline is our best estimate. As we work through the process this summer, we will adjust and update you accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can we use the new MSU logo on publications, Web sites, merchandise and other items?
Files will be ready for use by August. Publications produced through Communications and Public Affairs will be imprinted with the core logo beginning in July. These publications include those with large external target audiences, and those with a long shelf life (one year or more). Web site templates will come next. Merchandise orders, as always, should follow MSU's Trademark and Licensing Policy. Artwork for merchandise should be coordinated through the University Licensing Director, Julie Kipfer (jkipfer@montana.edu).

When can I get new business cards?
We will begin taking orders in July and will begin printing the orders in August and September.

What if I'm out of cards now?
If you cannot wait until fall, we suggest printing a limited run of cards using the current MSU logo. We will not ask people to destroy cards imprinted with the current logo, so you are not in danger of losing your current cards.

Why can't I use the logo now?
Though we announced the icon in May, we are still working on the details of typography, colors, and brand extensions, and we are writing the graphic identity standards, which outline how the new logo can and can't be used.

Can I just use the file that's on the Web in the press release?
No, that file was for media use to show the icon selection. The resolution is not appropriate for reproduction.

I have to print something now. What should I do?
Use the current MSU logo until the new MSU logo is available. If possible, print a more limited run of your publication so that you can reprint with the new logo this fall.

If you have additional questions about publications or general logo usage, call Julie Kipfer, Director of Marketing and Creative Services at 994-5737, taylor@montana.edu or Julie Kipfer, Director of Marketing, 994-5737, jkipfer@montana.edu. For questions about Web sites and Web templates, contact Jacob Dolan, Assistant Director of Web Communications, 994-5036, jake@montana.edu


Update: May 2005

MSU Chooses New Logo

Montana State University has chosen a new logo for the Bozeman-based university that reflects such elements as the spark of learning and the statewide reach of the university's land-grant mission, university officials announced today.

At the center of the design stands a block "M," with an arc underneath and a geometric shape above. The words "Montana State University" appear below the logo in traditional serif type. The design incorporates various tones of blue and gold, the university's official colors.

The new logo, which will be implemented during the next several months, does not replace the Bobcat head used by MSU Athletics, nor does it apply to MSU campuses in Billings, Great Falls and Havre, said Suzi Taylor, head of MSU publications and graphics.

However, it will be used by most entities affiliated with the Bozeman campus, including the MSU Extension Service, the agricultural research centers and off-campus nursing programs, Taylor added.

The new design replaces what many refer to as the "hotel sign" logo created 10 years ago when MSU merged with campuses in Billing, Havre and Great Falls.

Taylor said the new logo was designed to integrate both historical and aspirational values. For example, the "M" is reminiscent of the "M" on Bozeman's Mount Baldy, a familiar sight to thousands of city residents, alumni and visitors. The arc from which the "M" rises symbolizes the university's reach across the state.

"Together, the 'M' and the arc convey positive, upward motion -- a university on the rise," said Taylor.

The geometric element above the letter represents a spark of energy, or the academic flame of knowledge.

"Taken as a whole, the logo's elements signify Montana State University's key strengths and core values," Taylor said. Those attributes include discovery, creativity and the ability to integrate such elements as learning with lifestyle and teaching with research.

Following its implementation beginning this summer, the logo will appear on all university letterhead, business cards, publications and Web sites. It also will appear on official university merchandise including clothing.

Taylor said MSU will phase in the new logo rather than ask departments to toss out any publications, letterhead or other materials made with the present logo.

The logo often will appear with the phrase "Mountains and Minds," which the university has chosen as its official tagline, according to MSU marketing director Julie Kipfer.

Hundreds of other tagline suggestions were solicited from alumni, faculty, students and staff last summer, but "Mountains and Minds," which has appeared on various MSU marketing and recruitment materials for several years, best encapsulates the institution's essence and core values, Kipfer said.

MSU began the logo redesign process last fall, with Esser Design of Phoenix, following a communications audit that found more than 70 different logos in use on campus. The logo steering committee unveiled two proposed designs in March to faculty, alumni, staff, students and the public.

Taylor said the committee took the groups' comments into account and came up with the final design, which has drawn strong support from campus leadership and student groups.

The cost of the project was $23,500, paid for with private funds from the MSU Foundation.

The new mark is just one element of a larger marketing effort aimed at increasing the university's visibility and better communicating its overall strengths, said Kipfer.

Frequently Asked Logo Questions About the Logo, April 20, 2005

What did the project cost?
The project cost $23,500, which includes research, creative development of the marks in all necessary formats, recommendations on colors and typography, and graphic identity guidelines. The project was funded by the MSU Foundation.

Why are we developing a new logo?
Over the past 10 years, MSU has experienced a tremendous increase in academic quality and research contributions. We feel a change in the way we market ourselves will help to tell this story better. A new logo is just one of dozens of ways we are telling the MSU story.

In addition, our hope is that use of a consistent graphic identity across campus will not only give us stronger regional and national visibility, but will ultimately save money. When inventoried this fall, MSU centers and departments were using over 70 different logos. Asking the campus to use one logo--as well as consistent design templates for publications and Web sites--will ultimately save money because people will not be reinventing the wheel every time.

A new logo design will also allow for more flexibility in "brand extensions" for Colleges. Right now, the type "Montana State University Bozeman" is locked into the box shape of the current logo. The new icon will be set aside from the typography, allowing typesetting of, for example, Montana State University College of Engineering, which was not possible before.

To put the cost in perspective, a complete package of university marketing identity materials can cost several hundred thousand dollars. For example, Northern Arizona, another Big Sky Conference school, just invested $300,000 in a new marketing identity. The University of Maryland spent $650,000 on marketing and a new graphic identity package.

Why did we use an out-of-state company?
We used the State of Montana bidding process to choose the most qualified firm, which weighed many qualifications including not just creativity and talent, but research, testing and buy-in associated with a project of this scope. We went looking specifically for a firm that had experience working with complex multi-faceted organizations.

Because the project was under $25,000, we could have solicited just three proposals and made our selection. Instead, we tried harder to get more people involved. We e-mailed the bid to all Bozeman area designers, a few other design firms that were on our bid list,and a few statewide firms. We also worked with the Alumni Association to find as many alumni design firms as possible. We sent the proposal from Miami to Seattle using this list.

In the end, eight firms submitted a proposal. Five of these were local. While "familiarity with MSU" was one of the many criteria in the proposal, one of the strongest criteria was the past experience and ability to work with complex, multi-faceted organizations, and proof of experience in constructing a timeline, researching, trademarking, testing and getting stakeholder buy-in.

A seven-member committee chose Esser Design of the Phoenix as the most qualified firm.

Who will use the new logo?
The logo is designed to serve all of the university's groups, no matter where they are located or what type of work they do. That means it must work for the MSU nurses who are on the campuses in Billings, Great Falls and Missoula; for all the Extension offices across the state; for the agricultural research centers, etc.

However, the new design will NOT be used for MSU-Billings, MSU-Great Falls or MSU-Northern.

Does everyone have to use the logo?
University logos are most effective when they are used by all campus groups. The president will strongly encourage all MSU departments, centers and colleges to use the new core logo rather than creating their own individual logos. Our communications audit showed that over 70 different logos are currently in use at MSU. This dilutes the MSU brand, and our marketing is not as effective.

We have strategically identified a few select groups will be allowed to use different logos--such as the Museum of the Rockies and Bobcat Athletics. Other programs that are funded outside of MSU, or with many entities--not just MSU--will also be considered separately. One example is the Montana Water Center.

When can we use the logo?
Once the new logo is announced, it will take about 4-6 weeks to write graphic identity standards and prepare electronic files for all uses. We hope to begin using the new logo this summer and have it in full use by fall.

When do we have to start using the new logo?
We will give people time to phase out of the old logo. That means you can still use up your current supply of business cards, letterhead, etc. rather than throwing them away. However, when you re-order materials, they will come with the new logo.

What about signs, trucks and expensive materials. Will they get the new logo?
We are conscious of the expense involved in re-doing signage, vehicles and other items. Several departments have already contacted us wanting to use the new logo, and have set aside funds to do so. We will work with them as quickly as possible. However, many items will be phased in over a fairly long period of time, and some items--like the memorial gates--will never be changed.

What about the tagline?
Our official recommendation is Mountains and Minds. We searched extensively for new possibilities and found a few. We also researched the potential taglines extensively, including with President's Advisory Council, students, Alumni Board, and many other groups on campus. All in all, Mountains and Minds came out as the clear winner for representing the ideals and strengths of MSU. It also has brand equity from use over the years.

One of the goals mentioned was to be just Montana State University, not MSU. What does this mean?
This fall, the university's marketing advisory council decided to use just Montana State University whenever possible to signify our status as the flagship university of the MSU system. However, an official name change requires the approval of the regents, and our official name remains Montana State University-Bozeman. We have chosen, in most instances, to use just Montana State University.

Will we still have the Bobcat logo?
Yes. This new mark replaces only the academic logo.

How will we start using the new logo?
Our first priority will be business cards and letterhead, beginning with the university's senior leaders. We will also make the logo available to be printed on external-audience publications. Next, we will develop Web templates. Eventually, we will create a brand toolkit that allows everybody on campus to use the logo as well as other marketing pieces we will be creating. Our major launch will be at the start of the fall semester.


Update: March 2005

Creative Development

We are close to choosing a new MSU logo and are asking the university community and the public for feedback on two logo concepts. Everyone is invited to give feedback at two public forums to be held on March 29.

  • Session 1: March 29, 3:30pm, SUB Ballroom D
  • Session 2: March 29, 6:00pm, Alumni/Foundation Building on 11th Avenue

All students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members are welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Suzi Taylor: taylor@montana.edu


Update: January 2005

Creative Development

Our steering committee has recently reviewed seven different logo concepts and is working on narrowing these down to two or three good ideas that can then be presented to MSU's stakeholder groups and to the public this spring.

Brand Personality
One of our integrated marketing goals was to develop a document that embodies the core values and personality of Montana State University's brand. This brand personality document complements our market positioning statement, and helps us as we develop MSU's signature look and feel. To create the brand personality, we used personal interviews, university history and research data from meetings with several MSU stakeholder groups.

Montana State University Brand Personality

Montana State University is a vibrant and growing institution, where students, staff and alumni are ambitious and goal-oriented, yet down-to-earth and approachable.

Our work is ground-breaking, innovative and creative, and we are known as warm, well-rounded people with a reputation for a strong work ethic and high standards of personal integrity. We are passionate about intellectual and personal growth.

We enjoy learning from people with diverse backgrounds, and we like to take a bigpicture view. We value independence and emphasize cooperation more than competition. We are proud to be a leader in the academic, economic and social fabric of the state.

We like to explore many options and strive to challenge ourselves -- inside and outside the classroom. We are naturally curious and are willing to take a few risks when it comes to learning. We also like to have fun.

MSU offers us a distinct personal and professional lifestyle -- one that is more peaceful and inspiring, and less focused on social status and prestige.

Above all, we at Montana State University are alive -- part of a dynamic community that thrives on optimism, confidence, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to collaboration.

A copy of the MSU Brand Personality can be downloaded as a PDF (44k).


Update: November 2004

Creative Development

Esser Design, the consultant doing creative development for MSU, will present the logo concepts. On Nov. 23 principals from the consulting firm presented early conceptual logo designs to the MSU Brand Design Committee. The consultants also met with the Communications and Public Affairs staff to discuss the development of identity standards and policies for the new branding program.

The Brand Design Committee provided feedback on the overall logo concepts, as well as selected four specific ideas to be developed in more detail. The consultant agreed to refine the selected ideas and report back to the design committee by conference call on Dec. 3. Once that feedback has been received, the consultant will refine the designs for presentation and testing with other MSU stakeholders at a future campus visit.

MSU Web Site Branding
The MSU Web Advisory Committee has met several times this fall to begin planning for the next-generation branded MSU Web site. Major issues covered thus far have included the future use of media such as Macromedia Flash for the delivery of dynamic content on the Web site, the implementation of a Content Management System to help manage brand consistency, and the design criteria for branded Web page templates. Future meetings will include planning for the re-design of the MSU home page. Final design of all Web components will follow the completion of the creative development for the new visual identity elements.

The Web Advisory Committee reports to the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and is the lead review and advisory body for the branded Web site design process. MSU Web Communications will perform the actual design and coordination of the Web site branding project. More detailed information about the Web design project is available in the meeting minutes on the Web Advisory Committee's Web page.


Update: October 2004

We have now entered our creative development phase of the integrated marketing plan.

LOGO
First up is a new logo for Montana State University. We will be working with Esser Design of Phoenix (http://www.esserdesign.com) on this important piece of our graphic identity. We selected Esser after putting forth a limited solicitation proposal based on the state RFP guidelines. Eight firms submitted written proposals, we interviewed four, and an MSU committee chose Esser. Esser Design is a full-service agency specializing in branding, identity, and visual communications, including print, web, interactive, and multimedia applications. The firm has extensive experience with institutional identity, and completed a major graphic design project for Arizona State University.

Esser will use a three-step process to create the new identity package (which includes a new logo and recommendations for typefonts and colors). Esser will also make suggestions for graphic treatment of MSU entities that are slightly removed from the core brand -- such as Athletics.

Esser's first step is studying our research to date and assessing the current situation; the second step is gathering data from stakeholders and developing a project plan; and the third step is creative development. Esser will also assist in the implementation and "launch" of the new logo.

The new logo will be presented at the end of January 2005. A public meeting will be held in early December to show a few creative options.

PHOTOGRAPHY
One of the goals of our integrated marketing campaign is to develop a distinct style of photography that reflects our unique personality and institutional strengths. We are currently examining and testing several creative styles, and will begin implementing the style in early 2005.

If you are an MSU student, faculty or staff and are interested in volunteering as a photo model, please let us know by e-mail to taylor@montana.edu. This will be a fun project, and you might have the chance to be famous!

TAGLINE
We are now refining a list of potential taglines and will soon be testing them with various target audiences. The Web submission site remains open and we will continue to watch for new submissions.

We will be working closely with Esser Design so that the university logo and tagline work well together.


Update: August 2004

Integrated Marketing Overview

Over the past year, MSU has invested a significant amount of resources in creating a foundation for a coordinated marketing and communications effort. In the fall of 2003 a communications audit was conducted and in the spring of 2004, the university conducted an internal branding process. As a result of the internal branding process, Montana State University adopted a Brand Positioning Statement, Brand Promise and Key Messages in support of the Five-Year Vision document. In order to fully communicate and implement these messages campus wide an integrated marketing plan has been developed and will be implemented over the next academic year.

Integrated marketing helps develop a coherent and consistent image and message for the university. Universities that successfully integrate their communications, produce more targeted effective publications, enhance their reputation and visibility, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. These efforts not only attract and retain new students and faculty, but also enhance and support the efforts of university and individual college fundraisers.

In the first six months, the emphasis of the integrated marketing plan is to establish an internal foundation for the brand, its creative execution and the capability to deliver the brand promise. This includes building support for the brand identity and its messaging components and creating the marketing processes, tools and resources needed for an effective campaign.

A copy of the Integrated Marketing Plan can be downloaded as a PDF (72k). The document is formatted to print in landscape on legal-sized paper.


Update: August 2004

Brand Architecture Development Underway

Work is now underway to develop the Brand Architecture for the university's logos, colors, typefaces, tagline, etc. The Brand Architecture will be used as the basis for determining how these elements are applied to all branded products, such as letterhead, publications, advertising, Web pages and other communications.

Building the Brand Architecture involves assessing how closely each MSU unit should be associated with the university's main identity -- known as the Core Brand -- and then assigning it to a category with specifications for using the various identity elements.

The categories will provide flexibility in managing the brand by allowing for alternate uses where appropriate to better promote the university's diverse constituents. There will be four categories, with each providing an incrementally derivative association with the Core Brand. The categories are: the Core Brand, Brand Extensions, Sub-Brands and Independent Brands.

The product of Brand Architecture development will be a summary listing of the university's organization with defined categories and specifications for each operational unit. The Office of Communications and Public Affairs is currently developing the preliminary summary. When completed it will be presented to the Marketing Advisory Council for review and input, and then ultimately to the President's Executive Council for review, revision and approval.

The estimated completion date for the Brand Architecture is by mid-October.


Update: August 2004

Creative Development Underway

The process for the creative development of new logo(s), colors, typefaces and other elements of graphic identity package has begun. On August 13 a limited solicitation RFP was issued to hire a consultant to assist with these services. Responses were solicited from numerous Montana companies and select non-state firms.

We are looking for companies that have experience conceiving, executing, and implementing graphic identity programs for universities or complex multi-faceted organizations, while incorporating the organization's marketing objectives, brand positioning, brand promise and strategic goals. We are also looking for a group that has experience testing various graphic identity concepts, presenting well-researched concepts, and building consensus.

The final selection of the consultant should be complete by late September. At that time the actual development work will begin and run through the fall semester. The anticipated date for selection of the final designs is by the end of December 2004.


Update: June 2004

Tagline Development Underway

Information in now being gathered to develop a tagline that supports the brand promise. To submit ideas for the tagline, please read the background information and make a submission on the Web.

The steps involved in the tagline development process are outlined below, with projected dates for completion:

  • Gather input from Campus via Web submissions -- Complete
  • Gather input from internal working groups -- Complete
  • Analyze and rank initial submissions -- Complete
  • Creative development session with communications group -- Complete
  • Analyze and rank next submissions -- Aug. 27
  • Creative development session with Marketing Advisory Council -- Sept. 3
  • Conduct focus groups and target audience testing -- Sept. 15 - Oct. 15
  • Analyze and rank focus group results -- Oct. 15 - Nov. 15
  • Additional testing as needed -- Nov. 15 - Dec. 15
  • Present shortlist to Marketing Advisory Council -- Dec. 1
  • Make final selection -- by Dec. 15

Update: May 2004

Market Positioning and Branding Development Complete

The Market Positioning and Branding Development phase is essentially complete. The marketing consultant presented the findings of this process to MSU leadership and the campus community on May 3, 2004. These components of the program have now been defined and approved for use in subsequent phases:

Positioning Statement:

Who? Montana State University
What Category? is the premier land-grant research university in the Rocky Mountain region that integrates learning and the discovery of knowledge in a collaborative academic environment.
For Whom? We attract high-ability, goal-oriented students who are seeking an inspiring, student-centered campus in a spectacular setting.
What's Different? Our students work closely with world-class faculty in a community that values diversity and is invested in every student's success. Our pre-eminent scholarship involves students in developing creative solutions to today's and tomorrow's challenges.
So What? Our graduates are recruited and valued for their knowledge, professional skills, and strong work ethic and become effective and ethical leaders in their professions and communities.

Brand Promise:

Integrating learning and the discovery of knowledge

Brand Components:

  1. Nationally and internationally recognized scholars
  2. Leading research
  3. Student centered campus
  4. Opportunities for hands-on, active learning
  5. Spectacular educational setting

Rationale:

The brand promise is a compelling educational concept that provides a unique market position, prestige, and point of distinction for MSU. It is relevant to all units and all audiences including students, donors, alumni, and influencers. The brand components encompass the efforts of faculty and support staff while assuring the successful delivery of the brand promise. The five components, taken together, define a full-bodied identity based solidly on academic excellence, with MSU's spectacular setting accentuating a competitive advantage that enhances learning and discovery as well as the overall educational experience.

Measures of Success:

We will succeed at building the Montana State University brand when...

  1. we have cultivated a faculty that is nationally recognized for integrating learning and the discovery of knowledge.
  2. every undergraduate student participates in a research or creative experience.
  3. we attract and retain high-ability students based on our ability to integrate learning and the discovery of knowledge.
  4. we are recognized as a powerful research and creative enterprise.
  5. we are known for creating partnerships that make critical contributions to the communities and citizens of Montana.
  6. we have created a strong network of support for student success.
  7. we have an endowment that enables all qualified Montana residents to attend MSU.

Next Steps:

The next phases in the marketing program are to prepare an Integrated Marketing Plan and begin Creative Development. (See process descriptions below.) This work is currently underway.


Update: March 2004

Integrated Marketing Plan Timeline and Process

timeline graphic

Phase Descriptions for Integrated Marketing Plan and Brand Development:

Communications Audit

As the first step toward developing an integrated marketing and communications plan for MSU, this past fall an external marketing consultant conducted an audit of MSU's communications practices to evaluate the effectiveness of our current programs and resource allocation. The results of the analysis, performed by the Educational Marketing Group (EMG,) were reported to university leadership in November, and included numerous recommendations for enhancing the success of these programs. The President's Executive Council authorized specific responses be undertaken as part of the ongoing integrated marketing process.

Audit Responses

Several changes related to enhancing university communications and marketing practices were implemented in response to the Communications Audit. These include the reorganization to create the new Office of Communications and Public Affairs. This office has four divisions, the MSU News Service, MSU Publications and Graphics, MSU Web Communications, and University Marketing, and each has responsibility for centralized management in their respective area. These units are actively involved with subsequent phases to develop and implement the integrated marketing and branding programs.

Another response currently underway is a market research survey to obtain information from MSU's external audiences about their impressions of our identity. The survey has been distributed to over 3,000 Montanans and the results are currently being compiled. This data will be used to inform and guide the development of future communications strategies, and will provide a comparative baseline for future research.

Market Positioning and Brand Development

The primary objective of this phase is to create a unique and compelling MSU marketing strategy based on a specific brand promise, and to define brand components that will support MSU's strategic objectives through our communications. This work will involve building strong stakeholder consensus for a specific brand-marketing approach that will support the strategic vision objectives.

This phase of development is currently underway and MSU is again working with EMG as a consultant. The consultant has already begun gathering data from university constituencies to facilitate the process.

The results of this phase will be a clearly defined brand promise, market positioning strategy, key messages and brand architecture that will guide future creative development. This phase was completed in May 2004.

Integrated Marketing Plan

Once the marketing and branding strategies have been defined, these will be used to guide development of an Integrated Marketing Plan. This will be the master plan for applying the brand strategies to communications activities. It will include specific actions and tactics focused on supporting specific institutional goals, clearly defined timetables for activities, and defined measurable outcomes. The plan will be the overarching guide for coordinating communications and marketing resources in both near and long terms. This phase was completed in September 2004.

Creative Development

The final phase of brand development is the creation of visual and message components that portray the institution's values and identity across all communication platforms, such as publications, advertising, news media, Web sites and other channels. The products of this process will include tools such as logos, typefaces, graphic styles, graphic templates, photography, message sets, usage standards and other materials. As with other phases of the integrated marketing process, this work will be undertaken with stakeholder input and feedback.

There is a considerable amount of effort involved in this phase and the availability of resources will be a factor in the timetable for the work. We anticipate this work will be completed by December 2004.

Next Steps

Accomplishing the steps outlined above will provide a solid framework for the university to begin realizing the benefits of an integrated brand-marketing approach to support our strategic objectives. Like any long-term program , the plan will be dynamic and evolve along the way. Beyond the initial implementation the marketing and communications staff will continue to monitor the program effectiveness and react accordingly. Additionally, ongoing research, feedback, and assessment will be conducted to support the long-term success of the integrated marketing programs.


February 2004

Letter To Directors and Department Heads:

In his recent "campus update" letter, President Gamble referred to our efforts to improve the university's communications with our public. This letter is to provide you more information about our current activities and future plans.

In the various communications that come from a department, college or other unit of MSU, (whether through a brochure, newsletter or Web site), we lack a clear "graphic identity." We have a proliferation of logos, styles and colors, to such an extent that it is often difficult to determine that a publication or Web site is affiliated with MSU. In addition, in our various communications, we often miss opportunities to reinforce important messages about the university. For these reasons, we have begun a several-stage process to develop an integrated marketing plan, which will provide the university a more coordinated, cohesive way of communicating with external audiences.

Our first step was to conduct an audit of our current communication activities, the resources that are invested, and the overall effectiveness of these activities. Recommendations were submitted to the Executive Council and a number of these recommendations have already been implemented.

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES

Organizational changes have been made in University Relations and Communications Services, to enable us to more effectively centralize, and therefore better coordinate, communications through our publications, Web sites and media releases.

The name of University Relations has been changed to Communications and Public Affairs, to better represent our areas of responsibility. The unit consists of four departments, as described below, which provide a variety of services to assist the campus in their communication planning.

MSU News Service -- For press releases, features and working with state and national media, contact Annette Trinity-Stevens. As Director of the MSU News Service, Annette will coordinate all news activities for research, agriculture and extension, and the general campus. (annettet@montana.edu, 994-5607)

MSU Web Communications -- For Web design and development projects, contact Moss Hartt. As Director of MSU Web Communications, Moss has been charged with achieving brand integration and a more consistent graphic identity across the MSU Web site. (mhartt@montana.edu, 994-5140)

MSU Publications and Graphics -- For all printed materials, contact Suzi Taylor. As Director of MSU Publications and Graphics, Suzi is responsible for the graphic design center, agriculture and extension publications and general university publications. (taylor@montana.edu 994-2795)

University Marketing -- For questions on university marketing strategy, proper use of MSU logos on commercial products, and marketing promotions, contact Julie Kipfer. As Director of University Marketing, Julie will oversee MSU's brand building process. (jkipfer@montana.edu, 994-5737.)

In addition, if you have general questions regarding university communications or need assistance determining whom to contact, you can also call Shar Cantwil at 994-2722.

BRAND DEVELOPMENT

The next phase in creating MSU's integrated marketing plan is to define our unique identity or "brand." This will require determining what we stand for as a university -- our strengths, our niche, our personality and character, and our values, and what distinguishes MSU from other institutions. We will be working with a consultant to help us develop our brand, and all faculty and staff will be invited to provide input into this process. One of the outcomes of this activity will be a set of core university messages that will support our brand, and will need to be reinforced in all of our communication activities.

FUTURE PLANS

We hope to begin the creative work this spring, which will involve a review all aspects of our graphic identity, including colors, brand photography and official logos. In the meantime, the University's existing graphic standards continue to be in effect for publications, use of logo, and letterheads/envelopes. These can be found online on the MSU Web site.

There clearly is substantial mutual gain for the university and all divisions, and these benefits should be evident once we reach a point where our image is solidified, we have developed the right set of core messages and those are reinforced routinely by all representatives of our university.

The support you give to this transition will be critical to our overall success. We look forward to working with the campus community in this process of developing the Montana State University brand.

Cathy Conover

Vice President, Division of Communications and Public Affairs
February 2004