Rebranding initiative holds student focus group

by Lily Rugo / Beacon Correspondent • March 5, 2015

As part of Emerson’s rebranding initiative, the college held a focus group on March 4 to hear student opinions about the school and the project.

During the focus group, which was held in the Levy Focus Group Room in the Walker Building, nine students spoke with representatives from SimpsonScarborough and Ologie, the two companies Emerson hired to consult on the initiative. The college announced last year it plans to develop new options for a new brand that better reflects the school today.

Participants at the focus group discussed their thoughts on Emerson, how students feel about the school, daily life for students, and how others might perceive Emerson.

“I’m a fan of [Emerson] taking a look at what is going on, and taking the pulse of Emerson before they decide what needs to be rebranded,” said senior performing arts major Paul McGlew in an interview after the meeting.

Dana Edwards, vice president and partner of SimpsonScarborough, led the roundtable discussion. Edwards asked all of the students why they chose Emerson and about their feelings now that they have enrolled at the school. While most of the students were proud to be at Emerson, they still had critiques about the college and the way other undergraduates might perceive the school. 

Uyen Le, a sophomore marketing communication student who attended the meeting, said she thinks that people misunderstand Emerson as being only an art school.

“I think Emerson needs to put more emphasis on the communication aspect,” Le said in an interview after the meeting.

At the meeting, students said that their peers have a reputation for being “hipsters” and that the school is perceived as not being focused on academics.

The group also discussed opportunities for students in various majors to collaborate; the competitiveness within majors; and the struggle to maintain balance between classes, extracurricular activities, and social lives.

Some students said that Emerson’s orientation week festivities can put off students with the trademark glitter, tutus, and positivity.

“I just wanted to share my opinion and have a voice on the topic, because I’ve always wanted some input on Emerson College, ever since I came here as a freshman,” Tyson Hallowell, a junior communication studies, said in an interview after the meeting.

This was only the first round of student-based focus groups that SimpsonScarborough and Ologie plan to hold, along with other focus groups with alumni, prospective students, and faculty.

“I think we were all extremely honest in our thoughts and feelings towards Emerson,” Stephanie Bailey, a junior political communication major, said in an interview, “so I’m just hoping that they’ll take that really seriously.”