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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006. No paid or guest posts, no link sales.

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How not to do a rebrand, and feeling #UnWell

A rebrand should be done with consultation, and that should be factored in to any decision-making. In the 2010s, it should consider out-of-the-box suggestions, especially in an increasingly cluttered market-place. It should be launched internally first, then externally. A new logo would surface after months of exhaustive design work. The result should be something distinctive and meaningful that resonates with all audiences.
   Meanwhile, here’s one done by my Alma Mater amongst false claims, poor analyses, and considerable opposition, with the resulting logo appearing a mere week after the powers-that-be voted to ignore the feedback. In branding circles, any professional will tell you that there’s no way a logo can appear that quickly—unless, of course, Victoria University of Wellington had no inclination to listen to any of its audiences during its “feedback” process. But then, maybe this was done in a hurry:

   The result is flawed and lacks quality. Without even getting into the symbol or the typography, the hurried nature of this design is evident with the margin: the text is neither optically nor mathematically aligned, and accurately reflects the lack of consideration that this rebrand has followed. The one symbol I like, the ceremonial crest, does away with the type, and judging from the above, it’s just as well.
   I like change, and my businesses have thrived on it. But this left much to be desired from the moment we got wind of it. It supplants a name sourced from Queen Victoria with the name of an even older, white, male historical figure, creates confusion with at least three universities that share its initials if it is to be abbreviated UoW (Woollongong, Wah, Winchester; meanwhile the University of Washington is UW), and offers little by way of differentiation.
   Yes, there are other Victoria Universities out there. To me that’s a case of sticking with the name and marketing it more cleverly to be the dominant one—and forcing others to retrench. Where did the Kiwi desire to be number one go? Actually, how bad was the confusion, as, on the evidence, I’m unconvinced.
   If it’s about attracting foreign students, then alumnus Callum Osborne’s suggestion of Victoria University of New Zealand is one example to trade on the nation brand, which rates highly.
   There were many ways this could have gone, and at each turn amateurism and defeatism appeared, at least to my eyes, to be the themes. #UnWell

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Filed under: branding, business, culture, design, marketing, New Zealand, typography, Wellington—Jack Yan @ 12.58

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