By Kass Pemberton and Mari Torres
Soar higher. A call to Fontbonne’s campus to elevate one’s education and to serve the dear neighbor. Living out this mission is an integral part of who Fontbonne is and this new slogan is just the beginning of Fontbonne’s rebranding process. The last time that Fontbonne rebranded itself was back in 2002, when Fontbonne College officially became Fontbonne University. In 2002, Fontbonne University also introduced the slogan “Learn More, Be More.” Some members of the community felt that there was a disconnect from our brand and our true identity. The solution was for the Fontbonne marketing team to make a completely new identity for Fontbonne to embrace.
The rebranding process began about a year ago when the marketing team paired up with Dovetail, a company that specializes in branding. The process started with a lot of research, both internal and external. Initially they did internal research where they interviewed students, faculty, and staff about their perceptions about the university. This led to external research, where the team spoke to people who weren’t necessarily affiliated with Fontbonne. They asked questions concerning awareness and familiarity with Fontbonne University and what it represents. After looking at all of the findings from their research, Fontbonne’s current image was described, among other things, as “very sleepy.” They discovered that if you knew about Fontbonne, you had very positive perceptions about the university, but you only knew about Fontbonne if you knew someone who went there. With that in mind, it was determined that it was time for a change.
On Tuesday, January 8th, the new brand was revealed to faculty and staff during a diversity and inclusion training session with help from University President Dr. Mike Pressimone. On Tuesday, January 15th in the DSAC Cafe, the Marketing team in conjunction with SGA presented the new brand to the Fontbonne student body. Recently Elizabeth Brennan, Director of Communications and Marketing, spoke with the Griffin Roar about the transition to Fontbonne’s new identity.
With this rebranding, there are many hopes for what it will do for the University. Elizabeth Brennan said, “I think the hopes are that we really energize this place and we remind our students and our constituents that they are a big part of our brand and our identity. As students and as alums and as staff, you all are our biggest ambassadors. If you have a good experience here you are the biggest part of our brand.” Not only does Brennan hope to energize the people within Fontbonne, “we hope to re-engage the community, we want the community to remember us, to know us, to know our name.” This rebranding is meant not only to energize the Fontbonne community, but the greater St. Louis community as well.
The Griffin Roar also interviewed Student Government Association (SGA) President Brian Aach about his personal involvement in the rebranding process. In his role as President, Brian worked directly with the Marketing team for the event on campus which showcased the new brand.
Aach explained the process of inviting as many students as possible to the event. “We tried to get student’s involvement by having an event in DSAC on a Tuesday where we broadcasted the logo and new brand. Being in SGA, we tried to invite all students to the event.”
The Griffin Roar was very interested to know how students among Fontbonne’s community were reacting to the new brand. According to Aach, morale on campus is improving because of the new brand.
“Personally, I have heard a lot of good things. A lot of students are especially excited about the new Griffin. People are excited to have a fierce but calm mascot. That’s what people are saying and I totally agree with them. With the logo, I personally love the new blue and purple. Tons of people have put the new stickers with the logo on their cars. I’m walking around and the dorm next to mine has the new logo on their window.”
Brennan can also account for a raised morale on campus. “It is such a big change, but people seem to realize this is needed and they are excited about it, they are excited about having something new to be excited about.”
Also, with Fontbonne being a smaller, Catholic, liberal arts college in St. Louis, Aach believes the brand will help to show off who Fontbonne is and positively separate it from the competition. The rebranding of Fontbonne went live Monday, March 4, 2019. The launch consisted of the official public unveiling of the ad campaign (including radio ads and billboards), the new magazine, and the new university website. All social media platforms have switched over as well.
Aach summed up the need for the rebranding, saying “I think Fontbonne needed this change to be known because campus was becoming really quiet. I think this will help people know, ‘Hey this is Fontbonne, we actually do exist, we aren’t just across the street from Washington University.’ I’ve heard a lot of good things.”