Some Answers to Your ‘Big Orange. Big Ideas.’ Questions

Big Orange Big IdeaThe campus is abuzz this week as many faculty, staff, and students learn more about the university’s “Big Orange. Big Ideas.” branding strategy that rolled out to the campus Wednesday.

The tagline “Big Orange. Big Ideas.” will be used as the framework for marketing the university and reminding people of UT’s impact on the state and the nation. UT also unveiled the look in its re-designed website at www.utk.edu.

The Office of Communications and Marketing has received several great questions about the effort. We will start with a few.

What is branding?

Branding is not a logo, a tagline, or a color—although all of these are crucial elements. Branding is simply about reputation. Whether we are talking about soft drinks or universities, people form opinions about and have emotional connections with those items. It is those feelings and opinions that define a brand.

UT’s Office of Communications and Marketing didn’t create a new “brand” for the university; we worked with our stakeholders to create a strategy for helping to manage the university’s reputation.

The typical elements that we often associate with a brand (a logo, a particular color, a tagline) are really just shortcuts used to help evoke positive associations.

Why is it so focused on orange?

The brand celebrates the distinctive and vibrant color of the university: Big Orange. Big Orange is unique. It belongs to us, and when you see it, you can’t help but think of UT.

Our tagline, “Big Orange. Big Ideas.”, is intended to remind people of what they have already been saying about our university. All of the other elements that make up a branding campaign, from typography to messaging to T-shirts, are all designed to remind people—sometimes subtly—about the positive elements of our reputation.

Chancellor Cheek explains it well.

“Orange is central to our visual identity, but we aren’t just any orange,” Cheek said. “We are Big Orange. And we inspire Big Ideas. It’s an exclamation of pride, a reminder of who we are, a challenge to what we strive to be, and a promise to ourselves and to the world.”

I’m not a marketer or a public relations employee; what does managing the university’s brand have to do with me?

Everyone at the university is an ambassador for UT and plays a role in representing our brand. We are all responsible for helping to manage the university’s reputation because a reputation is a lot more than just a tagline or a commercial.

What do our students say about UT? How are we serving our students and shaping their experiences here?

Other examples include:

  • The broad impact of a faculty member and his/her next research publication.
  • The advisor who is helping our students stay on track to graduate.
  • The Facilities Services staff members who keep our landscape looking beautiful.

Our graduates who succeed in their professions and take time to tell people about their alma mater.

For more information about the brand, visit big.utk.edu.

 

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