‘The Will To Do’: Southeast Unveils Brand with Bold, Novel Feel

Logo-2 ColorCAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, April 3, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University enters a new era later this month with bold, proud and modern messaging and images expressing the heart and commitment of today’s campus and students in a vibrant, confident and innovative brand.

The cornerstone of the brand, “The Will To Do,” conveys the essence of today’s Southeast students who are tenacious and enterprising, while practical and self-assured in their skills and prepared to launch extraordinary careers in an evolving workforce.

University officials, along with representatives from Ologie, a higher education branding and marketing firm from Columbus, Ohio, hired to lead the project, unveiled the results of their efforts at today’s Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffee.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said, “We are really pleased with the efforts and ideas Ologie brought to Southeast. Their process really enabled them to 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 new dome logo, contemporary and more usable in a variety of applications, will begin appearing widely in a number of mediums. A new wordmark that includes “1873,” the year Southeast was founded, also has been developed.

The far-reaching and comprehensive rebranding campaign, nearly a year in the making, will culminate with campus-wide activities planned for April 20. A lunch time event, planned in cooperation with the Student Government Association, is scheduled for noon in front of Kent Library. Live entertainment will be provided, 1,000 free T-shirts will be distributed to students and cupcakes with the new Southeast logo will be available.

During that week, 120 outdoor pole banners reflecting the new brand will go up across campus, and large hanging banners conveying the University’s branding will appear on Houck Field House and the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center.

Indoor spaces will get a new look as well with banners to be hung from the atrium of the River Campus Cultural Arts Center, the Skylight Terrace in the University Center and in several other locations. An interactive graphic display inviting people to express their “Will To Do” will appear on a wall overlooking the third floor lounge area in the University Center.

Online, Southeast Missouri State’s website at semo.edu will be updated April 20 with the new University logo, with plans for an entirely refreshed online presence reflecting the graphic elements of the new brand to be rolled out in the near future.

“The new logo provided us an opportunity to create a better header, and in the near future we will apply the branding to the remainder of the website,” said Jeff Harmon, director of University Communications and Marketing, who has led the rebranding initiative.

Beginning April 20, new brand messaging also will be pushed out in Southeast’s social media channels using hashtags related to the branding.

In addition, Southeast faithful will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise with the new University logo when it begins arriving at Southeast Bookstore in late April, according to Barbara Breedon, bookstore manager.

Harmon said Southeast Admissions is already implementing the new messaging in its recruitment materials and marketing and communications plans. Other departments are working with University Communications and Marketing to plan transitions to implement the logo.

The new brand will 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, whose work on the project began last June.

Since then, Ologie moved through their “Discover, Define, and Create” process and conducted numerous focus groups and interviews with a wide variety of constituents, both on- and off-campus, completed a communications audit of all Southeast marketing and admissions materials and websites, and reviewed the positions of peer institutions. They then synthesized this information and used it to guide them in the creation of a new University identity (dome and wordmark) and messaging concept. The messaging and imagery were developed with regular collaborative communication and feedback from a wide variety of University constituencies.

The messaging concept is being embraced in the written and visual communication of the University brand, centered around “The Will To Do.”

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 firm was on campus earlier this week to train a variety of internal groups on how to effectively use the new brand messaging during “brand ambassador training.”  University faculty and staff received information on items such as replacing letterhead, business cards and other materials, which may be ordered online. The timetable for full implementation of the new branding is being developed with an emphasis on efficient use of University resources.