College completes first phase of rebranding

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • April 22, 2015

Emerson’s rebranding initiative has hit one milestone: Administrators are finished collecting research involving focus groups and interviews. These qualitative results will be shared at the end of the month with the project’s advisory board, according to Andrew Tiedemann, vice president for communications and marketing.

SimpsonScarborough, a research consultant group hired by the college, took a two-day trip to the college’s Boston and Los Angeles campuses, according to Dana Edwards, vice president and partner of SimpsonScarborough. The company held focus groups with current undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni in each city.

Consultants also conducted interviews with President M. Lee Pelton, former President Jacqueline Liebergott, and Kevin Bright, the founding director of Emerson Los Angeles, according to Tiedemann.

Edwards wrote in a statement emailed to the Beacon that Emerson was dedicated to making the survey process as inclusive as possible.

The college announced in December that it would embark on a comprehensive review of its public image and develop new possibilities for its graphic identity and website. The focus groups were the first stage of this review.

Sean Mack, a junior marketing communication major and one of the undergraduate representatives on the advisory committee, said that the company has met with the board several times. The board includes students, professors, and administrators, and Mack said that the meetings were open and facilitated a wide range of viewpoints.

“People were pulled from all across the campus,” Mack said.

Mack said he was most looking forward to seeing the differences between the current Emerson students’ vision of the school versus how alumni see the college.

Tiedemann said that for the next phase of the project, the college will spend May and June developing a survey that it plans to release in early September and keep open for 10 to 12 days.

“This means the survey will be running over Labor Day,” said Tiedemann. “I don’t think alumni will take the survey while they’re at work, but the day off may give them the opportunity.”

The survey will contain a shared set of questions for all respondents, and have others tailored towards prospective students, undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, or alumni. According to Tiedemann, the survey should take about 10 to 12 minutes to finish.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of this effort and we encourage everyone to complete the survey in the fall,” Edwards wrote.

Tiedemann said after the survey closes, the college and consulting groups will interpret the data over the following two months. They plan to see what Emerson’s outward representation ought to be, and what makes the college different from other institutions. These ideas, and a suggestions for a new graphic identity, should be ready to present to the advising committee by the end of October.

In November, the college will be looking for community feedback. Tiedemann said there would be a website for comments and open forums with Emerson community members.

The advisory board will narrow down choices for Emerson’s new mission statement and graphics in December, said Tiedemann. By the first week of February 2016, the new brand and graphic identities should be finished.

“We’re off to a good start,” said Tiedemann. “The broad community involvement has been great.”