Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor
Madeleine Setchel , Director Communications, Marketing and Engagement
Rawinia Higgins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Engagement
1 March 2018
Brand Project 2018
During the last few months there have been a number of discussions about changing the
University’s name and, more recently, changing the University’s brand.
The purpose of this memo is to provide a high-level overview of the work required from the
Communications, Marketing and Engagement perspective. This overview is for discussion
and also raises questions for further exploration.
The Vice-Chancel or is currently exploring a number of options regarding the name of the
University, the strategic drivers of which are:
1) Increasing our international brand awareness, particularly for prospective
2) Advancing our position in international university rankings and the global reach of our
More recently there has also been discussion about making changes to Victoria’s brand,
although this piece of work has not been ful y defined yet. The desire to change our name
and re-examine our brand are closely connected, but for the purposes of this paper wil be
The below assumes ful costings and an analysis of impact wil be undertaken, drawing on
international and domestic research already provided, prior to any decisions being made —
the outcome of which would inform the detailed programme of work.
Focus one: Changing our name
If a decision were made to change our name, a project would need to be developed to
manage such a significant piece of work. This would require input and leadership from a
number of areas of the University and involve a number of work streams. The project would
need to be managed through the University’s recently approved project management
The following are the areas of work we consider vital from an engagement perspective:
International reputation building
As noted above, the key driver for the change is strengthening our profile in international
markets. This can be undertaken by both direct and indirect means—through recruitment
agents to prospective students and their parents and via our academics to their international
colleagues. There has also been discussion about using channels like the Times Higher
A communications and marketing strategy will need to be developed to provide a roadmap
for how the change can be effectively communicated to the various audiences. However, as
much of the core work in this stream is based on our academic engagement and research
citations, this stream of work will need to involve other areas of the University.
In order to achieve the international profile and internal buy-in, internal communications will
be vital. A structured approach to support the Vice-Chancellor and other senior leaders will
be required, and work in this area has already begun.
This area of work is somewhat linked to the international reputation building but given the
lead times for people deciding which University to study at (both domestically and
internationally) and the marketing material required, this would be a separate work stream
with associated advertising components.
External communications and stakeholder engagement
A planned approach to external engagement is required, focusing on key stakeholders,
alumni, donors and other influencers. This would involve developing an engagement plan
with associated material to support the Vice-Chancellor and other SLT members in their
engagement with key stakeholders and related entities.
A key piece of work needed soon would be to work with Legal on
As well as a project to update the look, feel and content of the University’s web channel (162
sites) this work stream would also need to consider the brand’s digital footprint (including
social media) and search engine ratings.
Initial creative concepts will need to be peer reviewed by a creative agency before being
finalised and corporate brand guidelines developed.
In order to cement the new brand in the minds of various audiences, a brand campaign
would be required using traditional and digital media. A media strategy and advertising plan
would support this work.
Collateral roll out
This is a significant piece of work and ranges from replacing our stationery and merchandise
through to the signage on all our buildings.
Other operational work streams
In order to develop a full project, other work streams that would need to be scoped by other
areas of the University include:
Human Resources—contracts, role descriptions and recruitment
Research citations and ranking impacts (as noted under international reputation)
Graduation and qualifications
IT and research systems
Naming of related entities (VUW Foundation, VUWSA, VUP etc.)
Focus two: Changing Victoria’s brand
At Victoria we define our brand as the following core activities:
Who are we and what makes us different. This is currently Victoria as New Zealand’s
Globally Ranked Capital City University with a brand expression of “Capital thinking. Globally
minded.” This is supported by a number of agreed organisational messages and activities.
Our name and organisational logo
The Victoria University of Wellington name and crest with its portrait, landscape and
recruitment design iterations.
Our look and feel (sometimes called brand personality)
The Victoria University green, the palette of brand colours, including red and gold, and the
family of typefaces used across the organisation. This also includes images and
What we do
This is how we bring to life that which is distinctive about us and how it is a real experience
for our audiences. This includes things like our academic distinctiveness and our student
To develop a project that looks at refreshing our overall brand at the same time as changing
our name, we would need to have absolute clarity about which parts of our brand we are
focused on changing and which parts are non-negotiable.
Victoria’s current brand framework is complicated by the size and scope of the University
and its many audiences, as shown below in Figure 1.
1. The Vice-Chancellor considers the work streams outlined in this paper.
2. The Vice-Chancellor considers what should be included in the project, particularly
which areas of our brand are up for debate.
3. The Vice-Chancellor considers the scope of work to be undertaken and begins work
with the Strategic Project Office and the Engagement Group to scope the project.