University of Minnesota
University Relations
Our Brand: How to Convey It

Our Brand: How to Convey It.

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The redesigned is live!

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Months of design, coding, programming, and testing are finally over. Thursday afternoon, May 26, we launched the new U of M home page redesign featuring the ability to choose from seven different audience views, not to mention the default or "no preference" view.

Choose Your View

It's no secret that the University's home page has to provide information for both internal and external audiences and that each person coming to the site could wear more than one hat depending on what they're looking for on any particular day.

With that in mind, we established seven different views--Current Students, Donors & Alumni, Faculty, Future Students, Parent, Sports Fans, and Staff--to help our audiences quickly link to what they need. For example, if you identify yourself as "Staff," you will see a home page view customized to your needs. The feature story area will have stories that may be of particular interest to staff, mixed in with the same stories that are found on the U's "no preference," or default home page.

On the right side of the staff view, you'll find links to Brief, the University's UMNews website, Government and Community Relations, Email, and Employee Self Service.

Roll over the drop down menus at the top of the page and you'll see the standard links that can be found on all views along with additional links that are helpful specifically for University staff.

Take a look at the "spotlight" sections near the bottom of the page to find events, links to Internal Communications, Civil Service, People and more.


Each of the seven views has the same breakdown of sections on the home page. So for those who identify with both staff and alumni views, for example, the similarity between the page layouts should make the transition from one view to the other fairly simple.

What Didn't Change?

Some things remain the same. The links to One Stop and myU, in the upper right corner, are still there. As is the search bar, which doubles as a search for University websites and a search for people. The links to all the campuses are still at the top of the page and links to maps, parking, directories, and contact the U are still in the footer.

On the Leading-Edge...?

We've looked, and we've noticed a few other colleges and universities with some capcity to change views based on audience, but we are the first major university to launch a home page audience view of this scope. We know there are going to be some necessary tweeks and a few growing pains. We're prepared to adjust and we want your input. But...we think we're on the right track.

Take a few minutes to jump through the new site. Change your view. Change it again. Then use the "Tell us what you think" link in the footer to send us your comments.

FREE webinar - Usability Services at the U

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Usability by David Rosen, Usability Services
Jan. 25, 2011; 10 a.m.
Attend via UMConnect

Join David Rosen, usability services manager, and learn about usability services' origins at the University, its accomplishments since David started leading the group in March 2009, and what future services and plans look like.

Register today! A confirmation email with the link to UMConnect will be sent to you prior to the webinar.

College students on the web

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As I read Jakob Nielsen's latest post "College Students on the Web," the summary resonated with me:

"Students are multitaskers who move through websites rapidly, often missing the item they come to find. They're enraptured by social media but reserve it for private conversations and thus visit company sites from search engines."

Nielsen also noted, "Students usually kept many browser tabs open at the same time. When a site slowed them down, they'd usually switch to another tab and continue on another site. Even if they're just checking their Facebook page, such context switches removed users from the flow of using the first site. Thus, even in cases when they later returned, users had a harder time picking up where they had left off."

I couldn't help but chuckle at Nielsen's description because he accurately describes my behavior. At times, I have been known to have a dozen or more tabs open on my browser and not only have one browser window open but three or four. My attention jumps from site to site in a split second. So, while I am definitely NOT in the student age group he refers to (18-24) - I do like to think my online habits mean I am young at heart.

Read Nielsen's entire article at:

Sticky ideas

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"I approve this message." It rings in my ears. I can't get it out of my mind. Even after the election has passed, words or images from the countless political ads still linger in my memory. And then there are the "mayhem" ads for auto insurance. No matter what is happening at the moment, those spots make me smile or even sometimes, dare I say, laugh out loud.

I don't think I am alone. Good or bad, the advertisers have amassed their tools, worked some magic, and created something that catches our attention, draws us in, and maybe even brightens our day. Our time is so limited and we don't want to waste it on messages that don't matter to us. Our audiences feel the same way. So how do we breakthrough the message clutter and create something memorable?

According to Dan and Chip Heath in their book, Made to Stick, memorable messages are simple, credible, concrete, unexpected, and emotional. They "stick" in the minds of audiences and help inform their impressions of an institution and why it is relevant.

This very thinking is key to the latest creative expression of the University's brand, Driven to Discover. This year's creative expression is called "Because." It is tied to our overall brand and it uses Because statements to more explicitly connect the University and the state's economy.

When we collectively and consistently use our brand assets and creative expressions, our audiences will recognize us, remember us, and ultimately, be more inclined to believe in and support us.

To that end, we are creating templates and standards for easy integration of the "Because" elements into your communication materials. These "Because" resources will be available later this month and will include direction for consistent use of photography, tone, and graphics; details on requesting the 3D Because model for use in your photo shoots; and more.

We are here to help and answer your questions or consult on ways to integrate "Because" into your communications. Why? Because this is YOUR brand. And "I approve this message."

Our Brand--How to Convey It

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If you haven't already heard from one or two University listservs, University Relations launched the new Our Brand--How to Convey It website today.

This new site is designed to be a "one stop" location for guidelines, recommendations, requirements, logos, templates, and images related to University marketing and branding.

Our Brand--How to Convey It combines and replaces several sites that you may already be aware of; the Graphic Standards site, the eCommunication Standards (webdepot) site, the Style Manual, and the Images Library. (These old sites will remain online until Monday.)

Please take some time in the next few weeks to visit the new site and make comments via the questionnaire posted on the home page of the site (in the upper right corner) at We value your input!

Thank you,

University Relations Marketing and Electronic Communications staff