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The Ohio University brand establishes how we communicate and express ourselves as an organization.

Adhering to the OHIO brand is essential to maintaining consistency as we communicate with all of our various audiences. A consistent message is critical in establishing a powerful brand. Deviation from branding guidelines may create confusion and dilute the brand identity of the University.

This page contains some of the most common questions about branding at Ohio University. The answers are posted here in order to help convey a common understanding of how we go about this shared endeavor of promoting OHIO as well as its units and programs.


Branding FAQS

What is a brand?

Robert A. Sevier, Ph.D., senior vice president of strategy at the marketing consulting firm Stamats, defines it this way: “ A brand is more than a look or a letterhead. It is a promise that you make—and strive to keep—to your most important audience.

Does using a certain color or logo really matter?

Yes, it does. There are two essential elements to effective branding: brand awareness and brand relevance. That means that the symbols of a brand must truly represent it, and that consumers have to see the symbols of a brand on everything associated with that brand.

Think about the companies at the top of the Forbes most valuable brands list: Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, McDonald’s. As you read that list, you probably envisioned the bitten apple, the fancy red script, the colorful letters, and the golden arches that are those companies’ trademarks. That’s because those companies are super-consistent in using the specific colors, type, logo usage, and other factors that make their brands so powerful.

And it’s not just that they’re noticeable—they are also relevant, memorable, and persuasive. Think again about those big brands. Coca-Cola’s old-fashioned script says “tradition”; the scarlet says “lively” and “fun.” McDonald’s golden arches look like French fries (and wouldn’t you love some right now?).

Those companies sell things. Why does Ohio University need a brand?

Ohio University competes in a global market for prospective students and employees, as well as for government funding and research grants. In order to attract the brightest students and the most qualified faculty and staff, the University must show that it is different from other choices in higher education.

What is Ohio University’s brand promise?

Ohio University promises an accessible, engaging student experience—one that fosters individuality and empowers each person to transform their aspirations into achievements. Those who choose Ohio University as the place to pursue a degree or a career all seem to cite the same attributes. They love the traditional campus. They are enriched by the innovative and collaborative learning environment and the diversity of the student body and faculty. They find Ohio University to be friendly and welcoming, with an authentic sense of place.

Our brand emphasizes those attributes. For example, using a specific shade of green and the image of Cutler Hall in the official University logo represent tradition. The photographs you choose, the tone of your writing, even the way you answer the phones—any or all of these can telegraph the ideas of diversity, collaboration, friendliness, and accessibility that are the core of Ohio University’s brand.

Why do I have to follow these guidelines?

It really is important that all University communications—from business cards to magazines, e-mails to websites—have a consistent look and voice. It tells your audience that what they’re reading or seeing is authentic, and ensures that every communication from Ohio University embodies the University brand.

If you’re not sure what to do, ask for help from your department, campus, or unit’s campus communicator and from University Communications and Marketing.