Rebranding: Tradition vs Updating

Rebranding a college can be much more difficult that perhaps anyone suspected — case in point, Middlebury College in Vermont launched a new logo last summer and a ground swell of protests by students and alumni convinced the school to revert back to the former logo.

It’s not that Middlebury didn’t select a good agency to do the rebranding, it’s just they underestimated the response. Well, maybe the logo was lacking too. What do you think? Read all about it at Facebook’s group of 698 members at Middlebury. You’ll need to log in with your Facebook account to view the group.

From the Middlebury Newspaper: The short and mostly good-natured fight over the logo pitted the Facebook Group against the product of the prestigious New York branding firm Chermayeff & Geismar, creators of the famous NBC “peacock,” as well as logos for universities like Cornell and NYU.

Interesting discussion at Sam Huleatt’s Leveraging Ideas

Author: Chris Brown

Business owner operating a marketing consulting firm. Online Publisher. Keynote Speaker.

One thought on “Rebranding: Tradition vs Updating”

  1. Rebranding a college is like walking through a psychological minefield, particularly with the school’s alumni. Colleges have long traditions and are often perceived as institutions that revere and preserve the past even as they enter the modern world. For alumni, their undergrad experience was undoubtedly transformative and, for those who bonded with the school, any changes like this are going to produce the same reaction as New Coke did for diehard Coke fans.

    I’m a believer in Emotional Branding, and I think many college grads are more emotionally invested in their school than in their handbag or their Scotch.

    (Plus, the logo doesn’t really look like the product of a major design effort. I can sympathize with the disgruntled alums/students.)


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