Our brand is the sum total of all associations that are made with the university. The branding function is the way in which we influence those associations.

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Why do we need to integrate the university’s marketing and communications effort?

As Fresno State moves into its second century with a new Strategic Plan in place, it is an appropriate time to review, update and strengthen our brand and move the institution forward. Beginning in 2009, the Integrated Marketing and Communications Council (IMCC) involved faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in hundreds of hours of discussion about Fresno State's image, communications and visual identity. We issued invitations on campus for forums and discussion groups, held dozens of meetings, conducted online and in-person surveys, workshops and individual interviews with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and community members, and conducted research to determine the best practices in university branding in the U.S.

We already have a university “brand” – why change what seems to be working?

At the onset of the project, a research team headed by Dr. Tamyra Pierce (Mass Communications and Journalism) and Jim Lowe (Jeffrey Scott Agency) conducted research to determine the current communication process and examine perspectives and understanding of the existing Fresno State identity.

The research shows that there is confusion about the University's identity, as the campus is referred to by many different names (e.g., Fresno State, CSU Fresno, CSUF, Cal State Fresno) and utilizes a variety of logos. An integrated marketing and communications effort will provide instant recognition and identification, build a strong identity, and communicate with a consistent voice. Our goal is uniformity, consistency, and simplicity in our messaging. When many different logos are used to represent the university, our image becomes a disjointed and visually confusing "house of brands." Consistent use of a singular logo will instead present our university as a unified "branded house."

Incorrect Branding

Correct Logos

More Correct Logos

What is the university’s name?

Our official name is not changing – California State University, Fresno. With the new logo, we are also embracing the use of “Fresno State” in all usages related to the university.

How was the new logo developed?

Using a broadly inclusive process, the Steering Committee of the IMCC took information gathered from all of the sources mentioned above and asked a group of graphic design students guided by campus Senior Graphic Designer Todd Graves, and a local design agency providing free consulting to prepare possible new logos. They created more than 50 variations, which were tested in focus groups.

The final selection includes a newly designed font for “Fresno State." The three words in the tagline, “Discovery. Diversity. Distinction,” were selected from a long list of words and phrases that embody the essence of the academic experience at Fresno State, as laid out in our new Strategic Plan for Excellence. These tagline words were frequently mentioned in the focus groups.

In the same way, the Bulldog paw was incorporated into the new logo because many of our constituents said they related to the Bulldog mascot, independent of any athletic connection to the campus. In fact, the paw used in the new logo is the same paw that was originally designed for the Fresno State Alumni Association by Jeffrey Scott Agency in 2004 and is still in use today. There are tens of thousands of paw pins in circulation as a result of an ongoing Alumni Association campaign and these pins are worn proudly by Fresno State alumni and supporters all over the country.

How did the group communicate and consult with the university’s stakeholders?

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members were invited to participate in meetings, focus groups and surveys throughout the process. Calls for participation were sent through campus Bulletin Board system, the Provost’s faculty listserv and through personal contact.

Announcements and updates were made via Bulletin Board, including calls for participation in stakeholder meetings with our consultant Jeanette DeDiemar, Ph.D., focus groups and other meetings. The President’s Reflections, Academic Assembly remarks, University Roundtable and University Journal were also used to communicate progress.

In May 2011, consultant DeDeimar’s meetings on campus included: Integrated Marketing and Communications Council (IMCC), IMCC Steering Committee, faculty group, all-campus group, students, Cabinet, Web redesign team and University Communications.

Calls for faculty focus group and staff focus group participants were made in June and September 2011 and the groups were conducted by MCJ Chair Tamyra Pierce and volunteer Jim Lowe, executive vice president Jeffrey Scott Agency, a Fresno Advertising, branding, marketing, new media and public relations firm.

Provost Covino reviewed the logo and graphic standards with the Provost's Leadership Team (Deans, Associate vice presidents, directors) on three occasions.

Research conducted as part of the effort included:

  • Surveys (2009-2012): a total of 2,772 respondents (faculty, staff, students, administrators, community and alumni)
  • Focus groups: A total of 194 participants volunteered to be part of our focus groups between 2011-2012. These respondents included faculty, staff, students, parents and the community. We conducted more than 11 different 1-hour focus group sessions on campus – these included general sessions asking about identity of Fresno State and then several focus group sessions to test various logos and taglines.

    The "paw" design, in various forms, was a favorite among students. "Bulldogs" was the word continuously used to identify the "identity" among all groups. In addition, although most said "California State University, Fresno" was more formal, a majority identified the campus as "Fresno State." 
  • Content analysis: Reviewed websites and printed publications on campus. As a result, we found 100+ different individual logos being used on campus and the absence or incorrect use of the university name.)
  • Survey & focus groups' samples:
    The following is a distribution of the total number of members in the various groups that participated in surveys:
    Faculty: 485+
    Staff: 454+
    Students: 529+ (heavy participation in the focus groups)
    Community: 1000+
    Administrators: 141+

All participants in the focus groups were asked the same questions to ensure consistency.

Research also included reviewing the Strategic Plan for Excellence for keywords and possible taglines, which were tested with students, faculty, staff and community using focus groups.

To review the full research report, click here.

What happens to other university logos that are currently in use?

In order to create a unified institutional brand, most of the individual school/college, program and institute logos will no longer be used. Instead, their program name will be included on the new university logo as a sub-brand.

Can I still use the sunburst and medallion logos?

Going forward, the sunburst and medallion logos should not be used on any new materials.

What about the University/Academic seal?

The University seal remains unchanged in design, but its approved uses have been restricted. In response to faculty concerns as voiced by the Academic Senate, the President has authorized additional acceptable uses for the Academic Seal. To read the President's full response to those concerns, click here.

The additional acceptable uses include the following:

  • It may be used by the Office of the President; University-level formal and official documents such as diplomas and certificates, transcripts, resolutions and Commencement invitations.
  • University-wide stationery with the seal may be used for correspondence internationally, and with academic societies, publishers and for reference letters. All other correspondence will use newly designed stationery with the new logo.

Restriction of the university seal is in line with the practice of other universities. To see a review of other universities’ seal usage, click here.

Can I create a version of the logo for my department?

No new logos or variations of the new logo are permitted. One of the main goals of this branding effort is to raise the profile of the University by having a consistent visual representation of our schools/colleges, departments, administrative units and research centers and institutes. The new logo allows for all units to be co-branded with the main university visual identity.

How will the new logo be used on campus websites?

The new logo and graphic elements will be transitioned into the universal header on all campus websites as they move into the new Web content management system. When sites are moved, the new branding will automatically be included so site owners will need to do nothing to have their site branded according to the new graphics and Web standards.

How will the new logo be used on third-party websites?

The new logo will be permitted for use on third-party websites following the same guidelines that govern the current logos. The logo cannot be used to indicate a product or service endorsement, either real or implied, and must be presented according to the same color, size and non-alteration standards that are found in the Brand and Graphics Standards Manual.

How much is this initiative costing Fresno State? Considering the financial challenges facing the university, is this the right time to be focused on this initiative?

Instead of focusing on the relatively inexpensive cost of this effort, we considered the value of our image and its effect on the university. After celebrating the University's Centennial, now is the ideal time to focus on our future and ensure that we project an image that reflects our vision, mission, and goals. The branding effort is an investment that will provide long-term value for our institution.

To conserve financial resources, a campus committee is doing 100 percent of the work in this effort, aided by a consultant who is an expert in integrated marketing in higher education. It would be typical for a university of our size and scope to hire an external consulting firm or marketing agency at a cost as high as $250,000. Instead, using a consultant offered us the benefit of minimal expense ($15,000 of non-state funds over the course of one year) for experienced and professional guidance. This guidance helped ensure that our efforts in rebranding the University are both efficient and effective, without unnecessary missteps or financial waste. We are also utilizing ongoing marketing consulting services provided free of charge by a local agency, Jeffrey Scott Agency.

Throughout the branding process, the committee has been extremely careful to keep costs at a minimum while ensuring that the effort has been thoughtful, inclusive, and consistent with the results of our marketing research. Some items, such as campus banners, were already budgeted and scheduled for replacement and were postponed in order to feature the new brand. Other items, such as letterhead and business cards, will feature the new brand as supplies are replenished. Our festive launch ceremony had a budget of non-state funds of less than $4,000.

Our unit has staff working on marketing and communications. What resources are available to help them implement the new logo?

We believe an integrated marketing and communications effort will help individual departments, units and programs by providing established guidelines, principles, structure and materials that are common for the entire campus. They will have the assurance that their efforts are part of a united effort to create a strong Fresno State identity. That broadens the circle of those who know what we are doing and benefits us all.

A library of resources and a guide to using them will be available on the university's website and accessible to everyone who has a need to create materials featuring the new brand. In addition, workshops will be scheduled to help members of the campus community learn how to use the new brand to gain maximum value for their college, department, or unit.

Digital versions of the new logo, guidelines on how to use the new brand, and sample templates will be provided on this website. The new Brand and Graphics Standards Manual will be available through a link on the home page. LEAD training workshops will be available for those who wish to learn how to use the new branding within their own unit.

What is going to happen to our existing supply of letterhead, stationary, business cards, brochures, etc.?

We will move through a transitional phase-out of materials. Many of the materials that will result from the new brand are materials that would be needed to replace existing supplies as they are used. We encourage you to begin using the new logo as soon as possible, although you may use up your current stock through Dec. 31, 2012. Please recycle old materials. Current business cards may be used until your supply is exhausted and are not subject to the Dec. 31, 2012 deadline. Orders for new or updated business cards will be re-designed to meet the new branding standards.

How do I obtain stationery with the new brand?

University stationery with the new Fresno State logo as letterhead has been designed and may be used for all correspondence. Customized stationery for all campus units may be ordered from Printing Services.

Existing stationery with the university seal may be used until Dec. 31, 2012, and then should be recycled.

The seal letterhead may continue to be used only for the following: items from the Office of the President; University-level formal and official documents such as diplomas and certificates, transcripts, and resolutions; and Commencement-related uses. It may be used for correspondence internationally, and with academic societies, publishers and for reference letters. It may be ordered from Printing Services. All other correspondence should use stationery and envelopes with the new logo.

Will electronic templates be available for letterhead?

Yes - a template for electronic letterhead may be obtained by making a request to brand@csufresno.edu. An electronic template customized to your school, college, department will be sent to you.

In addition to ordering customized stationery from Printing Services, campus units may now use a new template for letterhead that allows printing from a user’s desk. Customized templates for each campus unit may be ordered at brand@csufresno.edu. The templates allow units to compose and print their own letters on their desktop or department printers in color, using standard copy paper.

The letterhead template has the new logo at the top and a footer with department personalization at the bottom. These fields are unalterable.

Those who choose desktop printing should set their printer properties for the highest color and dpi settings to ensure that quality images are produced. University Printing Services will continue to supply pre-printed letterhead with the new logo upon request.

Will Fresno state be changing its Web URL and email addresses?

We have secured fresnostate.edu as a new URL for the university’s website. Many Web pages will reflect that change immediately and others will transition later to the new URL. Searching with both “fresnostate.edu” and “csufresno.edu” will take you to our website. The email for faculty and staff will not change immediately and will transition to the new URL later since that effort will take careful planning and a sufficient phase-in period.

What about the wayfinding signage on campus?

The campus has selected a vendor to design a comprehensive and completely new wayfinding signage program. This initiative is an outgrowth of the Campus Master Plan and is a step toward meeting the goals outlined in that document. This project will include campus "gateway signage," which encompasses our main entryway as well as a full integration of all wayfinding signs throughout the exterior of the campus; from large vehicular directional signage, parking, biking and pedestrian wayfinding signage, to the large campus map signage and street banners. This design initiative and the signage itself are funded using non-state monies.

Who was leading this initiative?

President Welty is the chair of the IMCC, with Provost Covino and University Communications AVP Shirley Armbruster co-chairing the Steering Committee. The IMCC members are students, faculty, staff, and administrators representing every area of the campus, plus community volunteers who are alumni and public relations professionals. While this group heads the initiative, truly the entire campus is leading the charge. Every time we send an email, hand out a brochure, or wear Fresno State apparel, we are actively promoting the Fresno State brand and communicating our message with the wider community. We each play a vital role in how we choose to carry this message forward.

Integrated Marketing and Communications Council

Name of the person Department
John D. Welty Office of the President
Michelle Nelson Office of the President
Lynette Zelezny Academic Affairs
Dawn Lewis Academic Senate
Bernie Vinovrski Admissions/Student Outreach
Peter Robertson Fresno State Alumni Association
Paul Ladwig Athletics
Deborah Adishian-Astone Auxiliary Operations
Kent Clark Comprehensive Campaign
John Bushoven Digital Instruction
Susan Hawksworth Division of Continuing & Global Education
Ron Durham Kennel Bookstore
Dave Tyckoson Madden Library
Kathleen Schock Comprehensive Campaign
Bruce Whitworth University Communications
Betsy Hays College of Arts and Humanities
Tamyra Pierce College of Arts and Humanities
Lanny Larson University Communications
Philip Neufeld Information Technology Services
Peter Smits Advancement
Jennifer Sobieralski Gibson Farm Market/Agricultural Foundation
Sally Ramage Student Affairs
Valerie Gomez, Yesenia Carrillo USU Student Representatives
Pedro Ramirez, Selena Farnesi ASI Student Representatives
Tracy Newel Development
Sandra Witte Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences & Technology
Jose Diaz College of Arts and Humanities
Janell Morillo Kremen School of Education and Human Development
Ram Nunna, Manoochehr Zoghi Lyles College of Engineering
Jody Hironaka-Juteau College of Health and Human Services
Steve Walker, Xuanning Fu College of Social Sciences
Rick Zechman College of Science and Mathematics

Name of the person Department
William A. Covino Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Bruce Batti/Jim Lowe Community members
Bernie Vinovrski Admissions/Student Outreach
Peter Robertson Fresno State Alumni Association
Paul Ladwig Athletics
Deborah Adishian-Astone Auxiliary Operations
Susan Hawksworth Division of Continuing & Global Education
Philip Neufeld Information Technology Services
Tamyra Pierce Mass Communications and Journalism
Bruce Whitworth, Todd Graves University Communications
Sally Ramage Student Affairs
Nkeiru Uzebgu, Estevan Gutierrez, Valerie Gomez USU Student Representatives
Selena Farnesi ASI Student Representative
Jeanette DeDiemar Consultant

How will the university measure success?

Our goal is greater consistency in both the messaging and the look and feel of Fresno State’s communication efforts across campus. The main goal of integrated marketing is becoming more strategic.

Success entails reducing the amount of time and money spent on marketing across campus by providing tools and templates for consistent messaging. We can measure the success of our efforts by providing case studies of departments that have adopted integrated marketing principles and the new Fresno State brand. Individuals throughout campus will have the ability to access the new graphic elements through a branding website with templates and other resources. The effort will be considered successful when people use these resources.

In addition, post-adoption surveys will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the new branding effort.

How can I be involved/contribute?

We welcome involvement by students, faculty, staff, and administrators! We’re looking for “Brand Champions” to help us positively impact the perception of our institution. If you’re interested, let us know by visiting the IMCC webpage (www.fresnostate.edu/President/imcc) and clicking on the Provide Feedback link on the left-side navigation bar.

Where and how can I provide feedback?

Please go to the IMCC webpage and click on the Provide Feedback link on the left-side navigation bar.