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

Our Brand: How to Convey It.

Recently in Driven to Discover Category

Big impact marketing without the big impact cost

| No Comments

Last spring Tony Baisley was in a familiar position for communications directors across the University. He needed to come up with a communications campaign to share the amazing work of his faculty while operating on a tightened budget.


Tony and his staff worked with a small team from University Relations to develop five ads sculpted to the stories of his School of Nursing faculty, using the University's Because campaign. It proved to be a success. They built an affordable series, and the school has infused the creative theme throughout its communications.

After he first determined which School of Nursing stories to highlight, Tony turned to UR to help articulate the work and design a creative. He was able to leverage the University's brand and Because templates - saving his money and maximizing communications impact. "We would have had to try our own hand at this or hire an agency to tackle it were it not for their partnership," he says. Tony was also able to work with a team that was familiar with the University and its brand standards. There wasn't the learning curve that an outside designer would have faced.

Going forward, Tony is repurposing the ads throughout the School of Nursing. They hang as artwork in hallways, are part of notecards to donors, and are table tents at events. Next up? "We are now building off the original five ads," he says, "and creating new ones featuring strategic areas of opportunity for us!"

If you want to leverage Driven to Discover in your communications, contact me at

Making "Because" yours

| No Comments

You've probably seen it online or on television but now Because is yours! The campaign standards have been posted on the Our Brand site.

Here you'll find the usual tools (graphics, guidelines, examples, etc.) for crafting the campaign to fit your unit, but the most important takeaway is how to properly capture the tone and intent of Because.

At its core, the Because campaign draws in audiences by answering the question, "Why the University of Minnesota?" Why should people believe in us and support us? And it's up to you to answer those questions through Because statements.

Think big and forward-looking here. Like an inspiration-filled line from a speech by your favorite politician (if any of us still have one these days), a Because statement should evoke the highest of what is achievable. For instance, the University is driven to discover "Because damaged hearts and lungs must be mended." Or "Because creativity fuels the new economy." The possibilities are endless but just be sure to keep the guidelines in mind.

A unique aspect of this campaign is that University units can request, at no cost, an actual 3D Because model for use in their promotional efforts. Whether a large-scale event or photo shoot, you can add Because in another dimension to your promotions.

Sometimes there is confusion between Driven to Discover and Because. It is important to remember that Driven to Discover is the University's official brand now and into the future. Because does not replace it. The Because campaign is a continuation of that brand and a chance to further explore how and why the University is Driven to Discover.

Finally, have fun with Because (within the standards of course!). Make it yours and unique to your department, staff, students, professors or whatever helps convey the ways your units engages in discovery!

If you have any questions or thoughts about using the Because campaign for your unit, contact me at or 5-8962.

Happy New Year!

Sticky ideas

| No Comments

"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."