The Marketing and Communication team is excited to announce the launch of a brand refresh and website redesign project to support our strategic plan, Building a Future Full of Hope 2025. This initiative supports each of our strategic plan goals, with significant impact on Goals 1 and 2: Live our Lasallian Catholic Heritage and Grow Enrollment.
We have recently brought on an external branding and web design firm who will partner with us over the next year. The project has two stages, and we will ask for the participation and support of faculty, staff, students, and alumni throughout the process to ensure the outcomes are successful.
Part 1: Brand refresh
Great brands have a clear, consistent vision and understanding of what makes them different from the competition, and we are taking the time to ensure we have a clear, consistent, and compelling brand that touts our uniqueness and relevance, makes a lasting impression, and drives engagement.
The brand refresh affords us an opportunity to engage the university in review of our mission, vision, core values, key messages, and value proposition. A key component of branding is our brand voice, the personality, emotion, and sensibility we use in all our communications. It includes not only the words we use, but the images we create with those words. Our key messages and audience needs inform our voice. How we speak, what we say, the photos, videos, and words we use must be consistent, clear, and compelling to those we are talking to and engaging with.
To this end, our brand refresh will include an assessment of messaging and tone, setting a strong brand foundation and value proposition, and updating our look and feel (graphic standards such as fonts, colors, and logo usage). We will develop a brand resource guide, templates, key messaging, value proposition, and other deliverables to help each of us become brand stewards.
The discoveries from this part will inform the direction of part 2 of the project, the website redesign.
Part 2: Website redesign
As the website is Saint Mary’s No. 1 channel of communication with our many audiences, particularly prospective students, it is imperative for it to be timely, well-organized, and filled with compelling and informative content that is accurate and consistent.
To that end, the university is undertaking a web redesign project that includes:
- Developing a responsive, mobile-friendly site.
- Creating improved, clearer, and shorter paths to conversion through intuitive navigation and organization.
- Enhancing the visual appearance of the site with a modern and appealing design.
- Developing compelling content, including multimedia, through planning and calendars.
- Improving accessibility.
- Incorporating tools and technology to identify key pathways to conversion, and making decisions based on user behavior.
Each month, we will provide you with a status update on the work done to date, and next steps.
What has been done so far
Our team has been busy since last fall preparing for this project:
- Website redesign consultative committee established, representing key partners who rely on a quality website to meet division and larger university goals. The committee’s role is to provide insights and perspectives to inform the website redesign, and to serve as advocates and information sources for the redesign within their departments.
- Request for proposal created and offered to three external partners. This request for proposal detailed our needs for both the website redesign and brand refresh, expected timeline for completion, and goals of these integrated projects.
- Two prospective partners submitted responses, and members of the consultative committee reviewed and provided input. Marketing and Communication leadership interviewed both prospective partners and chose the partner most closely aligned with our needs, goals, budget, timeline, and culture: Modern Climate.
- Current site audit and competitive analysis.
- Initial sitemap created to guide the website redesign, informed by Google Analytics data about user demographics, most visited pages, exit pages, etc.
Highlights of next steps in June and July include:
- Focus groups and surveys for both website and brand including current undergraduate and Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs students, prospective students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
When will the new site be live?
Our current estimated public launch of the brand refresh and new site is by late spring 2022. We will continue to send out monthly updates that reflect our most current launch estimate.
As always, we appreciate all the thoughtful questions, feedback, and positive support from the community on the project thus far. Lots more to come! Please let us know if you have any questions.