Citigate Lloyd Northover has been appointed to create the entire brand architecture for the soon-to-be-merged Manchester University and University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, known as Umist.
The work is the ‘most significant branding job in higher education’, says Citigate Lloyd Northover director Jim Bodoh, who is heading the project, and the merger will create the UK’s largest university. The project includes an identity for the ‘super-university’. The development of a name, which is being generated in-house, is ‘well on the way’ and will be announced ‘imminently’, explains Ian Haworth, project manager at Manchester University.
Citigate Lloyd Northover’s task is to ‘build the reputation of the single university’ through branding, Haworth says. It has started internal and external market research among stakeholders following its appointment earlier this month.
Stakeholders include past, present and future students and funding groups, that are working with Citigate Lloyd Northover in focus groups, says Bodoh.
‘We’re measuring current perceptions of the two universities. The client is sensitive to the need to win the hearts and minds of those involved with both institutions,’ he says.
The group is scheduled to complete the research stage early next month, after which it will meet with senior Manchester University and Umist staff to ‘articulate the brand’ before starting work on visual identity ideas, Bodoh adds. Much of the work will involve internal and external communications material.
Although the identity is set to launch early next year in time for the September 2004 student intake, the university prospectus is published this autumn. Depending on timings, it may or may not feature new branding, says Bodoh.
‘The long lead times mean that we are aiming to present creative work by the end of the summer. However, we’re currently establishing whether that will be possible,’ he says.
Citigate Lloyd Northover was appointed after winning a credentials pitch against three unnamed groups, shortlisted from an initial 15 consultancies.