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Culture, Insights

Branding Our School Spirit

STM-Academic-Crest-3cIn February of 2011, BBR Creative began working with St. Thomas More High School (STM) to help guide and implement a complete brand overhaul and revitalization for the school. As proud alums, Mallory (2002) and I (1987) were extremely excited (and honestly, a little nervous) to participate in such an important milestone in the school’s history.

Upon our initial meeting it was very clear that the STM team leading the revitalization project had done their homework and had a clear understanding of the important role a brand plays within an organization.  It was also very clear that a re-brand was necessary. Not only was STM dealing with a legal halt-and-desist for their athletic logo, the school was also trying to manage multiple identities that represented various departments of the school. Secondly, the new administration understood that there was a history of community misconception about the school that needed to be challenged.

The project was segmented into two phases. Phase 1 was the discovery and defining phase that began with the BBR Creative team hosting a series of six focus groups divided to answer questions about individual topics. The topics covered: academics, athletics, spirituality, faculty, image and future goals. From the focus group findings, BBR defined STM’s strengths and weaknesses (brand mapping), its core differentiators, the school’s brand personality, brand position and brand promise which was presented in a strategy document.

After the discovery phase BBR moved into Phase 2, the visual re-brand phase. BBR’s biggest challenge was to update and redesign a family of logos that came with years of brand equity and also deep-seated internal and external loyalty. Accepting change among the stakeholders was not going to be easy.  Luckily, Phase 1 delivered well-defined solutions on how to broach the update for the school’s identity and BBR was able to accept the design challenge with ease. Phase 1 concluded with the unveiling of a cohesive logo family that successfully honors the school’s history and celebrates its future.

“BBR Creative helped St. Thomas More Catholic High School revitalize our brand. While maintaining fidelity to our past, they revised and refreshed our image with both internal and external constituencies. BBR collaborated closely with our stakeholders and produced top quality deliverables that represented well the essence of our community.”

Audrey C. Menard, Ed.D.
Principal – St. Thomas More Catholic High School

Six months later, BBR delivered what I feel is one of the most robust and successful brand projects ever completed in the history of our agency.  But for me, the biggest success of the entire project lay not in the sheer magnitude and complexity of the job, but in the school’s commitment to make the internal changes necessary to develop a healthy, sustainable brand. I was so impressed to see that STM followed the brand strategies we advised and immediately implemented them into their policies and literature. Yet even more impressive was that the STM team understood that the re-brand was an investment in the school; not simple words on paper, but words that were to be put into action and reflect how the school community teaches, believes, prays, studies, competes, shares and celebrates. Not only did STM fully integrate their new brand identity in time for the fall 2011 school year, but they have also implemented what the brand stands for in their school policy and culture, showing that STM truly understands how to LIVE their brand. Go Cougars!!!