Establishing York’s brand

York U "This Is My Time" advertisement

York U "This Is My Time" advertisementEstablishing a new brand for a large, diverse and comprehensive institution such as York University doesn’t happen overnight.

Hundreds of hours of robust market research and opinions drawn from key groups both inside and outside the University were synthesized to arrive at three key concepts, which were then evolved into the final brand concept, one that captured the essence, values, personality, strengths and benefits that conveyed what makes York University unique and different from other universities.

More than 250 people from diverse groups from inside and outside York were consulted about their current perceptions of the University. Students from grades 10 and 11, drawn from high schools in the Greater Toronto Area along with their parents (who are key influencers in their choice of postsecondary education) were consulted about their current understanding of York University and what they liked or didn’t like about possible brand concepts.

Three key ideas were distilled from the data: Make tomorrow yours, The world lives here, and Open up your world.

“Overwhelmingly, parents, future students and other groups gravitated toward the concept of ‘make tomorrow yours’ ,” says Robin Edmison, associate director and a member of the brand project team, Marketing & Creative Services in the University’s Communications & Public Affairs Division.

“That concept is what eventually led us to the tagline ‘this is my time’, and a campaign based around student testimonials, but with a twist – not what we’re doing right at this moment, but how we plan to change the world in the future.”

It’s a concept based in truth because “this is my time” shows the exceptional commitment York’s current students to becoming future global citizens, their dreams and aspirations, and how they are turning to the University to help them achieve their visions.

“This is a vision and it’s what is being said by our students,” says Edmison. “It reinforces another campaign theme, which is about turning passion into action and the important role of a York education in preparing students to one day achieve their dreams.”

In this highly competitive global world, universities are developing and implementing their individual brands and building on these brands to develop marketing strategies that serve to highlight their institutional strengths from their competition.

Enabling York students to turn passion into action through a quality education taught by global thought leaders is all about developing solutions for a complex world.