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OHIO Brand Development Timeline

Tracing the Evolution of OHIO's Brand Campaign

For more than 10 years, University Communications and Marketing (UCM) has partnered with Undergraduate Admissions, other units across Ohio University, and outside agencies to spearhead the development of the OHIO brand.

These efforts have contributed to record enrollments, underscoring the importance of unified marketing initiatives that reflect a strong OHIO brand. Given the challenges of an increasingly competitive higher education environment, continued investment in a united OHIO brand is essential to success as we collaboratively build on our significant progress in attracting and recruiting high-quality students. This timeline offers an at-a-glance overview of some significant steps in the continuing evolution of OHIO's brand.

    1. Biennial Brand Perception Study reveals OHIO as one of only two universities in the competitive set in Ohio to see statistically significant growth in familiarity and overall impression—a particularly meaningful affirmation of successful marketing when viewed against the backdrop of an increasingly challenging environment for recruiting high-quality prospective students.

    2. Creative Impact Study surveying college-bound high school students shows OHIO’s "it’s you" campaign gives them a sense of belonging at OHIO. Participants note unscripted feel of advertisements conveys authenticity, and messaging about supportive professors is believable and reassuring.

      Icon representing supportive professors
    3. Checklist Icon

      A brand audit among internal stakeholders finds: 1) OHIO’s story feels authentic; 2) the 2013 brand rollout provided good foundation; and 3) the time has come to evolve the message with more emphasis on OHIO’s academic excellence, moving toward a more singular message platform that can work across OHIO’s multiple colleges, campuses, and units.

    1. UCM develops "it’s you" bracket guidelines intended to maximize effectiveness of this visual hallmark of OHIO’s brand through consistent application. Such guidelines contribute to elevating OHIO’s profile and enhancing recognition of our brand.

      Visual example of using 'its you' brackets
    2. Screenshot of new UCM website

      Updated UCM website launches (www.ohio.edu/ucm), featuring a "Brand Center" component that offers a more user-friendly set of brand guidelines, downloads, and easier access to resources and information. Included topics range from photography to stationery to e-mail signatures and much more. This effort is designed to help advance professional, unified communications for Ohio University.

    1. "OHIO you" app, based on ideas and inspiration from students and developed as a joint venture between UCM and Electronic Vision, is launched as a free download for iOS devices.

    2. UCM University launches, offering workshops focused on brand-related topics.

      UCM University Logo
    3. Marketing Symposium Logo

      UCM hosts University's first Marketing Symposium with support of the Marketing Advisory Council.

    4. UCM-led redesign of University’s main website www.ohio.edu launches, featuring bigger, bolder images; optimization for mobile devices; and a better overall user experience.

      Visual Example of Redesign
    5. The OHIO Guarantee logo/seal

      UCM produces promotional materials for “Your Passport to The OHIO GuaranteeTM” and hosts first in a series of events in partnership with departments including Undergraduate Admissions, Residential Housing, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Office of the Registrar, Office of the Bursar, and Dining Services.

    6. UCM begins offering “OHIO Promotables” (backdrops, etc.) to University units based on the “it’s you” theme.

      It's You Campaign Materials
    7. UCM wins a Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for the Ohio University “it’s you” campaign. Other winners in the Reputation and Brand Management category include such global brands as Ford, Microsoft, and Walmart.

    8. Compass website screenshot

      Compass story traces the evolution of ohio.edu.

    9. UCM produces banners and bracelets for “You did it” Commencement theme.

      Photograph of commencement banner outside the Ohio University Convocation Center
    10. UCM offers “Best Video Practices” workshop (presented to a group of Cutler Scholars in preparation for their summer trips).

    11. Photograph of workshop participants practicing on-camera interviews

      UCM’s “Working with the Media” workshops debuts.

    12. “it’s you” campaign overview for alumni audience appears in spring issue of Ohio Today.

      Ohio Today logo
    13. Screenshot of UCM Musings Blog website

      UCM Musings blog debuts.

    14. Scripps College “Start You Up” website launches (partnership between Scripps and UCM reflecting the “it’s you” brand).

    15. Trademarking of “it’s you” lockup.

      Trademarked logo for 'its you' campaign
    1. Screenshot of Compass Website

      “Making the Difference” series launches in Compass.

    2. UCM launches e-greeting site and offers social media downloads (Facebook, Google+, and Twitter) reflecting “it’s you” campaign.

    3. Photograph of OHIO ad in a magazine

      UCM creates Ohio University “it’s you” ads that appear in USA Today and regional newspapers.

    4. UCM launches Ohio University front door (www.ohio.edu) refresh with marquee featuring “it’s you” campaign themes.

      Screenshot of redesigned OHIO homepage
    5. Icon showing social media and 'its you'

      #itsyou hashtag debuts on UCM-administered social media; related ad appears in fall issue of Ohio Today alumni magazine.

    6. UCM completes redesign of employee orientation binder and debuts new “it’s you” related theme of “you make the difference” to advance faculty and staff recruitment and retention.

      Photo of the employee orientation binder
    7. Photo from the campaign launch event

      “it’s you” campaign launches with premiere event featuring four new UCM-produced commercials.

    8. “it’s you” commercials begin airing in major regional television markets.

    9. UCM produces first batch of major admissions print materials incorporating “it’s you” theme.

      Photo of various admissions materials
    10. Admissions microsite redeveloped with “it’s you” focus.

    11. Icon of a radio

      “it’s you” radio ads scripted and voiced by UCM recorded at WOUB.

    12. UCM-created “it’s you” banners with core campaign themes installed throughout campus.

      Photo of 'its you' banner outside the Baker University Center
    13. Thumbnail from 'its you' trailer video

      UCM debuts “it’s you” teaser trailer.

    14. “it’s you” Design and Message Survey (prospective students and parents).

    15. UCM launches OHIO Insiders subsite.

      OHIO Insiders logo
    16. Image of film Marquee for 'Your OHIO Film Festival' contest

      UCM launches “Your OHIO Film Festival” contest.

    1. UCM films interviews with students to gain authentic feedback about their OHIO experiences for campaign commercials.

    2. UCM develops core themes to support “it’s you” campaign based on recurring comments in student interviews: “Love at First Sight” (campus beauty); “Home Away from Home”; “Supportive Professors”; and “Bobcat Pride.”

      Graphic of 'Love at First Sight' version of branding
    3. Logo for 'its you' campaign

      UCM team comes up with “it’s you” as the foundational concept for the branding campaign.

    4. Creative concept surveys testing initial campaign concepts with students and University community.

    1. MelamedRiley completes Ohio University Brand Essence Development Summary Report.

    2. Brand Essence Workshop hosted by MelamedRiley for Marketing Advisory Council (MAC).

      Graphic showing the Brand Essence process
    3. “Personality” surveys garner feedback from MAC and students to reveal University culture.

    4. Marketing Advisory Council is formed to help ensure a consistent and unified marketing effort throughout Ohio University's campuses and centers.

    1. Brand Perception Study initiated.

    2. UCM launches ongoing “Branding OHIO” column.

      Screenshot of a 'Branding OHIO' story in Compass
    1. “Discover Your Promise” 2.0 marketing campaign launched.

      Screenshot from 'Discover Your Promise' video campaign
    2. Broadcast commercials are shot and produced by UCM with the support and involvement of OHIO alumni and current students.

    3. Concept for TV and radio broadcast commercials is revamped, keeping the “Promise” theme.

    1. Mixed media icons

      Same billboard, print, TV, and radio are run in the same timeslots. Because it’s an election year, fall TV advertising schedule is adjusted to avoid political ad saturation.

    1. Image of print piece from 'Discover Your Promise' campaign

      “Discover Your Promise” marketing campaign launches.

    2. Radio ads are produced by UCM.

    3. Icon of broadcast tower

      Broadcast commercials are filmed by Richmarc Productions.

    4. The theme is captured in online and in print material for Undergraduate Admissions.

      Photo of Undergraduate Admissions materials from 2007
    5. Example of an OHIO print ad from 2007

      Billboards and print ads are designed by UCM.

    6. A media buyer is identified (Melamed Riley).

    7. Logo from the 'Discover Your Promise' campaign

      The “Discover Your Promise” marketing campaign is chosen for the University’s first-ever marketing effort.

    1. Images of initial concepts for Ohio University's first marketing campaign

      Concepts are presented to various stakeholder groups across the institution for reaction and input.

    2. Concept creation for fall presentations developed.