CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 20, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University turns the page on a new chapter today with the rollout of a bold and modern brand that rallies pride in the Southeast community’s “Will To Do.”
The far-reaching and comprehensive rebranding campaign, nearly a year in the making, conveys the essence of today’s Southeast students who are tenacious and enterprising. It tells the story of Southeast’s groundbreaking and dynamic academic programs that are designed to help students become confident in their skills and prepare to launch extraordinary careers in an evolving workforce.
Ologie, a higher education branding and marketing firm from Columbus, Ohio, hired to lead the project, helped Southeast discover what sets itself apart from other universities and made recommendations to better articulate the University’s attributes.
“What we found during this process, with the help of our students, staff, faculty, alumni and our community, is that at Southeast Missouri State University, we have the ‘Will To Do,’” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University.
Punctuating the new brand are 120 vibrant banners with a new Southeast logo and messaging — “We Can’t Wait to See What You Do” — hoisted on poles across campus. Larger banners highlighted with student and alumni photos are showcased outside of campus buildings on Houck Field House, the University Center and the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. The new look embodies the essence of the Southeast community’s spirit and personality, said Jeff Harmon, executive director of Communications and Marketing.
Indoor spaces also have a new look with banners suspended from the atrium of the River Campus Cultural Arts Center and in several other locations.
“It’s very gratifying to see the brand launch coming together across campus,” Harmon said. “This project has been very successful because of the participation of the entire university community. We also want to thank our Facilities Management team for their great work in installing all of the banners on campus over the past few days.”
This morning, announcements via the Southeast Newswire and social media will direct faculty, staff, and student to WillToDo.semo.edu, where they will find a brand launch video and a form prompting them to tell the Southeast community what they have the will to do.
Dobbins added, “This new brand describes what we have always known about ourselves. This is a learning community that has the will to inspire others to succeed. This is what we do every day. Throughout the week, we want the University community to share the new brand in their own words by going to WillToDo.semo.edu to watch the video and tell us what they have the Will To Do.”
At 9 a.m. this morning, an interactive “Will Wall” will open on the wall overlooking the third floor lounge area in the University Center. There, students are again invited to express their will to do, and a time-lapse video will be shot chronicling the creation of the interactive graphic display, Harmon said.
Visitors to the University’s website at semo.edu will find the University’s online presence has been refreshed with an improved homepage and the new University logo appearing in the header and footer. Plans call for an entirely refreshed website reflecting the graphic elements of the new brand to be rolled out in the near future.
The Southeast Student Government Association (SGA) invites students to celebrate the new brand from noon to 1:30 p.m. today, April 20, in front of Kent Library. SGA members will be on hand to give students 1,000 free T-shirts with the new logo and brand messaging. Cupcakes will be available, and Southeast’s Steel Drum Band will perform. In case of inclement weather, the celebration will be moved inside the University Center.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to check out the brand with chalked #willtodo reminders on sidewalks and “willtodo.semo.edu” splashed on classroom whiteboards and chalkboards across the campus.
Throughout the week, new brand messaging will be pushed out in Southeast’s social media channels using #willtodo. Visitors to Southeast’s social media sites will find new cover photos and new branded material. Links to the brand video will be available on Southeast’s Facebook and Twitter sites, and photos from the SGA celebration will be posted on Southeast’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Students engaged in Southeast’s social media channels will have the chance to win window clings with new brand messaging, and Southeast’s new and old logos will be featured on “Throwback Thursday” at #TBT on Facebook and Twitter.
The brand is being launched locally with new messaging appearing on digital billboards in Cape Girardeau and Jackson. A comprehensive advertising campaign in St. Louis and across the southeast Missouri region will get underway in mid-May, Harmon said.
Ologie has been working with Southeast since last June to refine the brand.
Dobbins said, “We could not be more pleased with the efforts and ideas Ologie brought to Southeast. Their processes helped us discover the essence of this institution.”
The campaign is complete with compelling graphic elements, including new logos, colors, photography and fonts to be used in print and online that are consistent with new brand guidelines to convey Southeast’s passionate and inspirational personality.
A more modern logo, more usable in a variety of applications, was successfully updated with a more modern and versatile dome, and founding year of 1873 was added.
“Adding 1873 was important to all the audiences we met with, and it represents Southeast’s 142-year commitment to high quality educational opportunities for our region and beyond,” Dobbins said.
Southeast faithful will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise with the new University logo when it begins arriving at Southeast Bookstore later this month, according to Barbara Breedon, bookstore manager.
The new brand will gradually be reflected on a myriad of other University items, including transcripts, diplomas, parking tags and Southeast vehicles, Harmon said.
The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents in February approved the new University identity and branding based on a recommendation from Ologie.
Kevin Tyler, senior account manager with Ologie, said, “Ologie has worked very closely with the Southeast Missouri State leadership and community to develop an identity that is timeless, flexible and functional. This is more than a new identity — it’s an evolution in the impressive story of a great institution.”
The timetable for full implementation of the new branding is being developed with an emphasis on efficient use of University resources.