New logo, who dis?

October 12, 2017 • Posted in Branding

Virginia Tech is rolling out a new brand platform, and feedback is mixed.

The two most notable things are a new logo and lack of a tagline. The previous tagline “Invent the Future” is engrained in the brand and most importantly the culture of Virginia Tech, even though it was debuted only 11 years ago. I remember this phrase displayed along side images of horses running on treadmills and hooked up to “who knows what” sort of cables on the big screen before football games. More than a marketing hook, it instilled pride in all students. There ARE so many programs at Tech that inventing the future is something to be proud of! Never have I seen a slogan that so accurately represented the organization and community it represented.

I’m not saying Virginia Tech didn’t do its due diligence in research before launching this new brand.  In fact, the entire (thorough) process has been outlined on their website https://vt.edu/brand.html. But this begs the question – with something as important to someone as the alma mater, can you change the core brand identity without backlash? I think not.

From my opinion, and the widespread opinions of my fellow alumni as seen on my social media channels, it’s clear the answer is no.

The term “Tech Effect” has been coined for the many (I like to think all) graduates of Virginia Tech who firmly believe that VT is one of the best places, greatest times, and home of the most wonderful experiences we will have in our lives. There is a special camaraderie that has been formed, and everyone loves “their” Virginia Tech. Our memories, incredible education, favorite dining hall meals, coolest bars (shout out to Big Al’s) and the ridiculously great friendships that are to be life long. With something held so dear, change won’t be easy.

Is this the first time Virginia Tech has rebranded itself? Nope. For a brand as strong, recognizable and cherished as Virginia Tech it would be crazy to think there wouldn’t be resistance. That is the proof that it was a brand worth treasuring in the first place.

That being said, I am biased towards the previous brand, the brand that I knew as a student. I leave you with the following quote that I was lucky enough to hear at my older sister’s graduation from Virginia Tech in 2012:

“And that brings me to the final lesson that all of you have taught us -– and that is the power of inventing the future.  And I know you hear this phrase all the time here at Virginia Tech, but today, I just want to pause for a moment on the word “invent.”  Because the phrase isn’t “succeed in the future,” it’s not “plan for the future” or “do the best you can in the future.”  It’s “invent the future.”  And with those three words comes a simple message:  a call to chart your own course and live life on your own terms.” – Michelle Obama

Virginia Tech Logo

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