The challenges facing higher education are undeniable. The pandemic has profoundly affected higher education. It has intensified the need for colleges to address demographic challenges and their individual and collective value propositions, and it has demanded that institutions innovate to appeal to and meet the needs of students and the changing workforce in a post-pandemic world.
Guided by our strategic plan, Summit, Trinity has made tremendous strides in all three of our overarching goals: to design a distinctive, relevant liberal arts education that positions Trinity as a first-choice destination of students, faculty, and staff; to connect the college even more deeply to the Hartford region and the world beyond; and to build on Trinity’s historic past to ensure a vibrant, sustainable future.
Now, as we look to a post-pandemic world and the college’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2023, and we seek to leverage the opportunities of a new curriculum, the time is ripe to revisit Trinity’s brand.
Where Challenge Meets Opportunity
At this moment of great challenge in higher education, Trinity College has an opportunity to clearly articulate who we are and set our sights on our vision for the institution we want to be in our third century. This is not about reinventing ourselves or changing who we are. Rather, we are reflecting upon, clarifying, and articulating what is already true about Trinity.
In order to do this, we are teaming up with a strategic marketing and communications partner to help us better understand and strengthen our brand so that we can:
- Raise the awareness, recognition, visibility, and reputation of Trinity College with key stakeholders, including prospective students and their parents, current students, faculty and staff, alumni, and key external audiences
- Strengthen the competitive position of Trinity College relative to other colleges and universities that the college competes with for students, faculty, staff, and philanthropic gifts
- Identify an accurate and effective brand promise that Trinity College can deliver
- Develop comprehensive brand elements, including a refreshed identity and associated verbal and visual elements, that accurately describes the unique Trinity College educational experience
The desired outcome of this project is a clear and distinctive positioning for Trinity College. Success (and progress toward success) will be measured by admissions and advancement metrics, as well as by changes in perceptions from other key audiences, including parents, alumni, staff, faculty, and community leaders.
Trinity College is partnering with Ologie, an Ohio-based branding and marketing agency with deep experience and expertise in helping higher education and purpose-driven brands find their true voice. They will work with us to lead a market-informed process that will define our brand, our look, our print and digital collateral, and our messages for admissions recruitment and beyond, including advancement (fundraising and engagement), and internal audiences.
Work is already underway. The Trinity and Ologie teams kicked things off in July by outlining a process comprising the following milestones:
Phase 1: Discover
During this phase, the Ologie team will immerse themselves in all facets of the Trinity College brand to assess the current situation, gather input, and develop key insights for strategy development. Over the course of 10–12 weeks, Ologie will thoroughly audit our current brand and identity system, review existing research and data, conduct qualitative and quantitative primary research through focus groups and surveys, and they will provide a summary of their analysis and key findings.
Phase 2: Define
In this phase, Ologie will translate the findings and insights from the discovery phase into a brand strategy, which will include positioning, messaging, audiences, and personality for the Trinity College brand. This phase, which will take roughly four weeks, translates all relevant insights from Phase 1 into a clear and concise brand strategy that identifies what the Trinity brand stands for, who the core audience groups are, what makes Trinity distinctive, where we stand in relation to competitors and peers, and how Trinity should communicate its positioning and core messaging.
Phase 3: Create
In this phase, Ologie will work with Trinity to establish an enduring, distinctive creative platform and visual identity that brings the brand strategy to life. The outcomes of this phase are the most visual, as Ologie will be refreshing the college’s identity system, developing creative concepts and refining them to one approach, testing the creative concept, and developing a set of comprehensive brand guidelines. The creative phase is expected to be completed in 10–12 weeks and will conclude by the end of 2021.
Phase 4: Activate
During this phase, Ologie and Trinity will work together to socialize, implement, and roll out the new brand platform internally and externally. This phase kicks off at the start of 2022, and some of the key activities include internal training for working within the new brand, developing a plan for launching the new brand, and developing a set of tactics for implementing the new brand, such as admissions materials, refreshing the college’s website, and more.
Meet Trinity’s Dedicated Ologie Team
Executive Account Director
Associate Strategy Director
Executive Creative Director
Associate Visual Director
Associate Copy Director
Meet Trinity’s Internal Project Teams
- Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience
- Sonia Cardenas, Acting Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science
- Michael Casey, Vice President for Advancement
- Joe DiChristina, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management
- Mitch Polin ’96, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Professor of Theater and Dance
- Christina Posniak, Assistant Vice President for College Advancement
- Jason Rojas M’12, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Affairs
- Suzanne A. Silitch, APR, Inde Communications
- Anthony Berry, Director of Admissions and Special Assistant to VP for Strategic Initiatives
- Caroline Deveau, Interim Director of Communications and Marketing
- Judy Grote, Executive Assistant
- Lizzy Lee, Director of Design
- Katelyn Rice, Director of Marketing
- Kyle Smith ’05, Senior Associate Director of Admissions and Manager of Marketing and Communications
Be on the lookout for invitations to participate in the discovery phase. Between now and October, all members of the Trinity community will have an opportunity to share their opinions and feedback to help Ologie get to know Trinity’s challenges and opportunities. We will chronicle the project here on this blog and provide timely updates to the community. In the meantime, we welcome your ideas, questions, and feedback. Please be in touch; we hope to hear from you.