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Rebranding is the process of giving a company or institution a new image, either through product packaging or by changing the brand's logo, mission statement, or core capabilities. One of the most important components of any company, huge, medium-sized, or small, is rebranding. As a result, an institution might get an advantage over other businesses and competitors in marketplaces that are becoming more and more competitive by implementing an appropriate rebranding strategy (Stuart, 2012, p. 160). Branding serves as a promise to the customers since it is binding to the customers as far as the rebranded activities are concerned. Therefore, rebranding outlines what the prospective clients can expect from a company's products and services as it differentiates the services offered as compared to competitors. The foundation of a brand is a logo, website, packaging and the label should communicate promotional materials and all. A strategic change in the logo depicts how, what, where, when and whom a company or an institution plans on communicating and delivering on the brand massages this change involves how and where you advertise your brand. The distribution channels are also part of the brand change strategy (Goodson, 2012). The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has engaged in a rebranding program in a bid to ensure it rejuvenates its outlook. Although some people view the move to rebrand the University logo as a vital move, to some the question as to whether it was a wise move lingers in their minds.
The ACU Brand
In the New brand, the Australian Catholic University prides itself on offering a welcoming environment to every individual notwithstanding their socio-cultural background, beliefs, religion, and aspirations in life. Consequently, the Australian Catholic University also reaffirms its commitment to standing for something bright, to be an institution for people who look beneath the surface, and are stronger than external expectations and superficial measures of success (McLaunchlan, 2017). ACU wants to be for individuals who much to of different drum-a beat that comes from within themselves. It pushes them to pursue a lifelong journey of personal advancement, to engage with curiosity and generosity of spirit, and ask what makes life worth living.
Was the rebranding needed?
In the wake of competition in the intake level for various tertiary institutions in Australia, a pathway that ensures a given university has leverage for attracting a large number of students is essential. As a result, the rebranding was necessary and vital for the ACU as far as its academic activities, and optimum utilization of resources are concerned. Moreover, a change in the brand aimed at outlining a new promise to the existing and new stakeholders as underlined by the words ‘Impact through empathy.' The rebranding was needed to strengthen the previously existing brand mark as well as bring a sense of warmth and a new beginning to the institution. The prospect of spearheading an evolution led the desire to rebrand the company logo (Stuart, 2012).
The rebranding was essential and a requirement as a way of fostering the core values and competencies that played a significant role in catapulting the attainment of both the long-term and short-term goals as well as working in correlation with the University's values. Besides, the need to ensure clarity with regards to the University vision statement necessitated the need to rebrand as to enhance transparency about the steps required to lead the organization towards achieving the vision (McLaunchlan, 2017). The prospect of telling a compelling story about the tertiary institution prompted the need to have a rebranding exercise. The obvious relevance of drawing people's attention underlines the reason as to why the rebranding was essential since when an individual see's different perspectives, they are bound to change to conform to the rebrand outlook or expectations (Goodson, 2012). The rebranding was vital in rebuilding the prospect of the university in a compelling manner that would differentiate the institution from other tertiary institutions. As a result, the rebranding was necessary for both the school, the society and the world at large as far as tertiary education and life virtues are concerned.
Ways in which the brand has been changed
Although the shield in the University's logo has not broken, it has been reinforced yet simplified by a palette. The new ACU brand associates with two colors, the red and the purple colors that are both rich in symbolism to the Australian Catholic University community. The red color signifies the impact whereas the purple color signifies empathy. In the logo, the ACU text is written in purple signifying an empathetic element. On the other hand, the shied has a red color that symbolizes a struggle. The color red means that the only way to make it past the tertiary level is through hard work (Stuart, 2012, p. 162). The letters in the logo are appealing as illustrated by the letter C which has a ball serif that protrudes hence acting as an eye teaser to a person. As a result, the writings on the logo are beautiful and attractive to look at and understand. Despite the fact that the words ‘Australian Catholic University' on the logo has not changed, the use of the red and purple color has played an integral role in ensuring the colors attracts people into reading the content underlined by the logo with ease.
Effectiveness of the changes
The new brand puts much focus on the number one asset that ACU believes which are people; ACU thinks that an individual's character, enthusiasm, and devotion play an integral role in making the ACU an institution like no other. The ACU has set out a vision to inspire people and show them the difference they can go in the world. The changes on the ACU rebranding have played a vital role in its recent growth prospects as underlined by the increase in the number of research output. Moreover, the changes have played an essential role in assisting people to understand the university's culture as well as changing the approaches to teaching and learning (McLaunchlan, 2017). Similarly, the rebranding is key to the increased value attached to the Australian Catholic University's degree.
The university rebranding has achieved the role of imparting the notion that the it will ensure it provides the best and most appropriate of enhancing the learner environment by embracing an empathetic outlook. ‘Empathy' reflects how the university has a desire to improve society and the lives of individuals who aren't born of some purely intellectual, social, or political position. Instead, from a fundamental conviction of every human being's value, Inherent in the expression ‘impact through empathy' which is a profound reference to ACU catholic values. The new brand has served as a basis for ensuring the ACU is in the spotlight, as the institution competes favorably with other universities (Goodson, 2012).
The University and communication positioning
The rebranding aims at ensuring the university becomes a platform for providing academic excellence as well as a basis for having a cutting edge as long as competition with other tertiary institutions is concerned. The rebranding has served as a basis for the university to highlight the courses it offers to the public. Moreover, the rebranding has played a significant role in ensuring the institutions reveals to the immediate community and the world at large its modalities with regards to teaching and the service delivery mechanisms (Stuart, 2012, p. 166). The people are in a position to determine how the Australian Catholic University designs its campuses as well as the expected experiences. The ACU has invested a lot of finances, time, resources and as well as trust in ensuring it positions itself in a manner that provides the public domain quickly understands university's motives. Moreover, the Australian Catholic University has become an increasingly dynamic community as underlined by its several well-established networks of campuses (McLaunchlan, 2017).
The university communicates with regards to the new brand through the use of different measures such as ensuring there is an increased commitment to high performance not only in academics but also in research activities. Similarly, the university utilizes the aspects of engaging the community in its activities as a way of ensuring the people feel as part and parcel of the institution (Goodson, 2012). Consequently, the prospects for an improvement in the service delivery system serve as an integral role in highlighting the strides undertaken by the organization concerning ensuring efficiency and effectiveness with regards to the provision of facilities and resources.
Impact through empathy
Impact refers to the action as a result of a given activity. On the other hand, understanding refers to the ability to read a person's emotions as well as feeling with them and understanding their way of life as well as the challenges they face. Empathy as the ability to understand and share the feeling of another serves as a basis for walking in another person's shoes. Impact means to have a substantial effect on someone or something. Through is a means or a channel. Therefore, impact through empathy refers to having a considerable impact on individuals as a result of sharing the feelings of another person or walking through their shoes (Australian Catholic University, 2017). The phrase impact through understanding about the ACU University emphasizes on a generation who choose to excel through official engagements and positive impact both in the institution and in the general society. Moreover, impact through empathy illustrates people's whose capacity go beyond the limits of their point of view to engage in understanding a person's emotions.
The rebranding and communication working
The Australian Catholic University new brand mark has a rich history as it embodies the norms and values that as engraved in the hearts of ACU community. The new brand gives a more in-depth insight into the activities that the university intends to do as well as the plans. Similarly, the news brand serves acts as bait for attracting a large number of students who school in the institution. As a result, the rebranding has played a significant role in underlining the manner in which the university instills knowledge and skills to the learners. Therefore, it serves as a basis for the increase in the value of the graduate attributes as well as the research output. The communication working correlates with the intended goals of the institutions as underlined by the increase in the number of students together with the rise in efficiency and effectiveness with regards to service delivery (Australian Catholic University, 2017).
Rebranding and students' choice of higher learning institutions.
The rebranding plays a critical role in ensuring an institution has a new outlook. Moreover, having a new brand is essential in bringing a feeling of warmth about the service offered by an organization. The increasing changes encountered in the educational field have overburdened the students as they face enormous challenges. The rebranding provides insight on the activities of the university. As a result, the rebranding is vital in swaying the choice of the students about an individual's college of choice (Goodson, 2012). Since the rebranding aims at ensuring the potential students have an insight on the affairs and the services offered at a given university, the learners have an option of gauging the competitiveness of a given school as far as instilling knowledge and learning experience are concerned. The student experience is more complicated that and often relates to the actual teaching of a subject, job prospects and specific information about their course (Stuart, 2012, p. 162). Consequently, the student experience is an expression of brand values. As a result, rebranding plays a significant role in determining the choice of a given student's choice of a university.
Recommendations for Australian Catholic University rebranding
Australian Catholic University to focus on its core values, such as academic integrity that link teaching, research, and scholarship: business-friendly course with employability appeal; and real students' experiences.
Australian Catholic University should highlight student's testimony in University marketing material.
Australian Catholic University should never lose sight of the student; the whole student experience ought to be an expression of ACU brand values and norms. Moreover, the University should incorporate the use of the current students as the ambassadors of the institution in attracting potential students.
The university should involve the prospect of sports and talent in the aspects of the school in addition to academic issues.
Australian Catholic University, 2017. Australian Catholic University. [Online] Available at: https://www.acu.edu.au/international[Accessed 14 October 2017].
Goodson, S., 2012. Why Brand Building Is Important. [Online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/05/27/why-brand-building-is-important/#3850e78b3006[Accessed 14 October 2017].
McLaunchlan, J., 2017. Social Media and Rebranding in Higher Education. [Online] Available at: https://www.atem.org.au/events/event/social-media-and-rebranding-in-higher-education[Accessed 14 October 2017].
Stuart, H., 2012. Living the Corporate Rebrand: The Employee Perspective. Corporate Reputation Review, 15(3), pp. 158-168.
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