This project included everything from the development of multi-facetted qual and quant research program, to the development of a brand model, to the creation of a new visual language and identity with our friends at Entro G+A, and to the development of bespoke tools to ensure almost universal buy in to the new brand. At the end of it our client said: "We cannot believe the positive response we are getting and are so pleased to share this with you. We’ve created something really wonderful and meaningful for people and it’s definitely bringing the change we were hoping to see."
Here's a summary of what we did:
Norquest College is Alberta’s largest community college, with more than 9000 individual students. As the designated community college for the Edmonton region, Norquest serves more than one million Albertans and delivers off-campus learning throughout its stewardship region.
In the past year, a great deal had changed at the College. A major restructuring was implemented and a new division – Transformation – was created to help lead the College in a new direction. Five areas of focus were developed to help Norquest achieve its strategic priorities of enhanced presence, growth, and diversification and create a culture of accountability based on outcomes.
Norquest identified a need to rebrand itself and understood that that brand is more than a new logo and marketing campaign. The College needed to change who they are and the value proposition to its current and future stakeholders. Norquest need to define its brand – who they are, what they stand for, its vision, direction, and priorities, what encapsulates the College and how to deliver the brand to its key audiences in a way that resonates and inspires them to action.
Norquest had a fairly significant amount of existing research, including branding research that was less than five years old. But the College had taken a major shift in direction and some additional research was required.
More importantly, faculty and staff support for the new strategic direction was less than desired. It was essential that the brand development process engage internal and external stakeholders in the process to help ensure their support for the brand outcome, whatever it might be.
The heart of the approach was a Dialogic Research session with more than 80 participants representing faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, government, community organizations, businesses and members of the general public with no previous experience with Norquest. This session was supplemented with three smaller dialogic sessions with ESL and Aboriginal students.
The developed brand model then acted as a design brief for Entro G+A in their design of a new visual identity and the ensuing brand launch plan.
A brand model, including Brand Essence, Brand Promise and Brand Attributes was developed and tested with students and the general public. A brand communications plan was developed that included both specific communications recommendations as well as initiatives to integrate the brand into the daily work of the College.
Brand applications were created to galvanize students and staff, and were shared at full internal and external launches.
A critical aspect of the initiative was to secure 65% support for the new brand strategy among staff. Once the brand model was developed and tested, it was presented in three open houses to faculty and staff. It resulted in 91% support for the new brand – a tremendous turnaround from the initial concerns and skepticism that faculty and staff had for the new direction.