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DU Brand Communications Guidelines Effective August, 2009

Brand Communications Strategy

Evolve DU’s reputation from “Great Regional University” to “Great

National/International University” by claiming the intermediate ground of “Action

Brand Focus: At DU, we strive to improve the human condition, by

• Shaping the minds and hearts of our students through the excellence and
relevance of their DU experience, such that our alumni are unusually well
educated, unusually capable, unusually committed agents of positive change

• Leveraging our intellectual capital to help resolve the great issues of the day

Single Message: DU is a leader in tackling the great, global issues of our day.

Reason to Believe/Hard Proof:

• Impact of the lives of our alumni
• Specific actions of our schools, people, and programs
• Comprehensive, global view of impacts on society
• Collaborative, team-based, results-oriented culture

Each School, Department, and Division shares in the responsibility to nurture and
deliver this proof. Internal and external communications should feature specific proof
points that document the impact of our alumni and/or demonstrate DU’s leadership in
proactively tackling the great, global issues of our day. Further examples of DU’s wide-
ranging proof points and examples of how to communicate will be added to the DU
branding website at du.edu/brand.

How You Can Participate In Communicating the DU Brand

1) Reinforce Brand Attributes in all communications.

At DU, we celebrate innovation, ideas, engagement with a vast array of people and
communities worldwide, diversity and inclusion, integrity, and a focus on results, all in
pursuit of improving the human condition. We create the dynamic DU culture by sharing
experiences from our individual disciplines.

In communications, we avoid generic platitudes by sharing specific stories that

distinguish and define the unique DU community and its impact on people. We need to
explain why we do the things we do, focusing on their results, demonstrating our values.
By including specific examples – “proof points” – we make our communications more
powerful and more memorable.

Here are 5 key attributes that reinforce the DU Brand and should be woven into
university communications wherever possible. Thought-starters for ways to integrate the
attributes are provided in italics.

• Vision: Improving the human condition. - At DU we leverage intellectual capital

and learning to tackle the great issues of the day. We contribute to society by
developing new solutions, contributing expertise, inspiring others. Through the
excellence of our teaching and learning environment and the unique nature of the
DU experience these values are extended throughout the entirety of our student
and alumni community. At DU, we develop new ideas, brilliant minds, and
committed hearts capable of changing the world. (Can you cite an example that
shows this?)

• Meaningful student-faculty interactions - Collaborative, inclusive, friendly and

challenging relationships lead to personal discovery, increasingly sophisticated
academic and personal experiences, and the development of values and
commitments. (Perhaps a personal anecdote?)

• World-wise - DU excels at international study on campus and abroad, building

character and values, offering cross-cultural perspectives and sensitive
understanding of beliefs and behavior of different people across the world. (An
abundance of stories?)

• Action oriented - Students, faculty, and staff are fully engaged, innovative,
inquisitive, and results oriented. We ‘DU something about it’. (Your personal

• Denver optimism and energy - our beautiful western environment inspires

stewardship and renews sense of optimism and responsibility. (What makes this

This is not meant to exclude messaging on other themes -- academic rigor or inclusive
excellence, for example. Rather, those specific communications goals should be tied to
one of the brand attributes. Because the brand attributes stem from the vision, values,
mission and goals of the University, the integration should be relatively natural and easy
to achieve.

2) Reinforce the internal rallying cry, “DU SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”

More than a slogan, “DU something about it” is the bias for action and leadership that
we cultivate in every student. It compels the DU community to never cease in the
creation of knowledge, ideas, and opportunities to improve the human condition.

“DU something about it,” “Celebrate DU-ing,” “Be a DU-er” – Engagement at DU takes
many forms, and this slogan can and should have varied creative expressions. Look for
opportunities to celebrate the action-orientation of students, faculty, alumni and staff in
support of the brand attributes. Provide a forum for recognition, alert University
Communications to noteworthy stories, spread the word among your peers and the
public at large.

3) Incorporate DU’s External Theme line: UNIVERSITY OF DENVER. START


As a descriptor of DU, “Start from a higher place” encompasses our vision of serving
the public good, our reputation for ethical leadership, and our desirable Denver location.

This expression of the DU brand strategy will begin appearing in external marketing
communications in the beginning of the 2009/10 academic year. Designed for external
audiences, “Start from a higher place” is a simple expression that successfully captures
the complexity of DU’s varied audiences:

To undergraduate applicants and influencers, it means begin your college career at a

more advanced starting point.

To graduate students, it means begin your career and contribution to society from a
better vantage point.

To our partners in the private and public sectors, it reinforces DU’s reputation as an
ethical leader.

To our colleagues in academia, it reflects a commitment to the highest standards of

academic excellence.

To our alumni, it is a source of pride, an invitation to reflect on their transformative time

at DU and to re-engage with the DU community.

In contrast to “DU something about it,” use of “Start from a higher place,” is reserved
for University-level marketing communications. The general rule of thumb for “Start from
a higher place” is in marketing materials with a direct linkage to DU. For example, The
Josef Korbel School at the University of Denver: Start from a higher place. Not The
Josef Korbel School: Start from a higher place.

For further input or any questions regarding DU branding or the usage of either slogan
please contact our brand consultants Scott Gilbert and Carole Kitchell
(sgilbertcreations@yahoo.com, carole.kitchell@earthlink.net).