July 7, 2016

Isenberg Rebranding

Meghan’s Mind: Thoughts of a Millennial- Isenberg Rebranding

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As students, consumers, and marketers; we see rebranding from consumer companies much more than educational institutions. It’s easy to find out when Netflix and Uber change their look, but it’s rare to find Universities that are redefining their brand.

The Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst recently redefined their brand, and it encapsulates the true personality of Isenberg perfectly. Isenberg’s new campaign strives for individuality as the school tries to redefine itself as its own college, no longer just a school within UMass. The Isenberg school strives to be recognized as its own business school, with its own name, culture, and brand.

In the world of business schools, you don’t say Penn Business School when referring to the Wharton School, or Boston College Business when referring to the Carroll School of Management. Business students know they want to attend Mendoza not Notre Dame, and recruiters feel the same way. Students and recruiters alike are looking for a business program at a business school with a great reputation. Isenberg knows that, and their rebranding shows it.

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The new Isenberg “I” shows the two sides coming together, with a small space in the middle to symbolize the diverse student body joining to form one school. The “I” is used as a part of the logo, and a symbol of the school when it stands alone. The new branding guide shows the current logos, and specifically calls for all logos to be separate from the University of Massachusetts seal.

Isenberg’s new slogan “We Drive the Driven” is a perfect encapsulation of the student body. Isenberg students want to work hard. Many Isenberg students are accepted into bigger, more expensive private business programs, but choose to attend Isenberg for the monetary value of the education and the fantastic reputation of the school, which excels their student body to great lengths.

During the first phase of the rebranding, the school edited their programming, adding Operations Information Management as its own major, and adding multiple focuses for finance majors. However, Dean Fuller, who took over as Dean of Isenberg in 2009, knows that the brand must come from within, and cannot be a vision of what the school wants you to think, but it must be a reflection of what Isenberg truly is.

An excerpt from the Isenberg website states that while Fuller gives partial credit to programming and leadership, he states that it is the Isenberg students that are the driving force behind the school’s success and accolades. “In my second year here, I did a branding analysis to see what the Isenberg brand was,” Fuller said. “We participated in focus groups with recruiters, alumni, faculty and current students. What we found was that the unifying qualities for Isenberg students are persistence, tenacity, and a strong work ethic. We can teach the business skills, but you can’t teach work ethic.”

Hence the tagline, “We Drive the Driven.” As a marketer, I can’t help but think that the new branding had a large part in Isenberg’s new ranking as one of the top public business schools in the country. Call me biased, but I’m sure Dean Fuller would agree.


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