Rebranding: Finding a new face for TRU

TRU got a look at what people really think of the university last week. The results of a branding questionnaire released to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members over the last few weeks were presented at a town hall meeting on Oct. 30 in the Campus Activity Centre.

The anonymous survey prompted individuals to give their honest opinions about TRU and will be used to create a new brand to represent the university.

“We’re trying to figure out why people love this place so much and…what we have that makes us different, and what it is that we can do better than other [universities],” said Lucille Gnanasihamany, associate vice president of marketing and communications.

According to 739 responses, TRU sets itself apart from other universities through class size, scope of programs and location. When it came to the things that TRU does well, university atmosphere made up the top answer, followed by international culture and activities. Finally, respondents regarded people at TRU as sincere (friendly, down-to-earth) and rugged (outdoorsy).

The town hall also gave individuals the chance for a more hands-on approach. Event goers were able to write their thoughts on a series of themes and attach them to a theme wall. Topics included opportunity, diversity and community connection.

Those who agreed with another’s point of view were able to place a coloured dot on the comment, indicating their agreement.

“I like the idea of the board that lets you be a little more free with your thoughts and lets you write down exactly what you think, knowing it will all be looked at by the committee and all be taken into account,” TRU student Katharine Ranta said.

Ranta is also involved in the branding development.

“I like looking at the dots so you can see what other people think as well, and you can go, ‘Oh, I agree with that’ or ‘No, I don’t,’” TRU director of finance Kathy Humphrey said.

In the university’s 2006 rebranding effort, it ended up paying $100,000 to Trapeze Communications for the slogan “Now, that’s university,” according to a report by Kamloops This Week. This rebranding effort has taken a more collaborative approach.

The new brand for TRU will aim to capture the attention of those who know little about the university and convince more students to explore the institution.

“We really do believe that it’s important for those people who can really benefit from TRU to know about us, because otherwise they’ll go on with their lives and they might have been able to have a really good experience at TRU, but they never knew,” Gnanasihamany said.

The information presented at the town hall will be available online for another five weeks to give open learning students and students who were not able to attend the meeting the chance to express their opinions.