SC State unveils new brand, new Web Site, "New State of Mind"

Friday, February 23, 2007

ORANGEBURG – Today, South Carolina State enters its 111th Founders’ Day weekend, Feb. 23-25, with a new branding campaign, a new Web site and a “new state of mind.”

“The introduction of the SC State’s ‘A New State of Mind’ branding campaign is the culmination of one-and-a-half years of intense internal and external market research, planning and development,” said Erica S. Prioleau, director of University Relations & Marketing.

The University held a 2 p.m. ceremony in The STATE Room, in which SC State’s new logo, slogan and Web site – developed in the branding process – was revealed to the campus community and the world at-large.

“Today, I have heard SC State’s brand described as modern, easy-to-recall, forward-looking, and inclusive,” said SC State President Andrew Hugine Jr. “I concur with all of those comments, but I’d like to add two more – youthful and exuberant!!”

“And, why shouldn’t SC State’s brand be all of those things? Since our founding in 1896 – we have reinvented ourselves again and again to better educate our students and to improve our service to all the people of our state,” he continued.

“This day needs to be a day of unity, of bridging the University’s past to its future, of joining together to advance SC State, and to position the institution for new growth and a broader, more inclusive, mission. SC State’s new brand is symbolic of new relationships, new initiatives, and a renewed sense of urgency in reaching out for a positive future,” said Hugine.

In the past, the icons used most often for SC State have been the University’s Official Seal and the Bulldog mascot. The Official University Seal was designed in 1968 by former art professor Dr. Leo F. Twiggs for the inauguration of then-SC State President M. Maceo Nance Jr. That seal will continue to be used on all official documents of the University. The Bulldog logo will remain the visual centerpiece of all SC State Athletics. All logos – both new and old – and a guide for their appropriate use are available on the SC State Web site, www.scsu.edu.

“As a self-contained circular graphic designed with the purpose of displaying balance, consistency and equality, SC State’s brand is created to honor our legacy and to position us for the future,” said Prioleau.

“Our new brand is a forward-looking design, contemporary, inclusive, and very easy to recall. Employing SC State’s official colors – it points to our geographic location, identifies us as a state-assisted institution, and roots us in our history,” said Prioleau. It is also easily adaptable to any application – Internet, television, print, signage, billboards, and other items including SC State apparel, she added.

“SC State’s new branding icon separates our University from any other state-assisted institution, and from all of our competition,” said Martha Scott Smith, a member of SC State’s Board of Trustees.

“When we are searching for funding opportunities, when we are communicating with legislators and other politicians, and when we are recruiting new students from across the globe, we need to have a readily identifiable image,” Smith continued.

“McDonald’s has its Golden Arches, Nike has its Swoosh, Target has its Bull’s-Eye and even Tiffany & Company has a signature blue color. These are images that are easy to recall. We embarked on a similar mission with SC State – to have an image that is a visual touchstone that makes anyone who sees it say, ‘Aha, now we’re talking about SC State’,” said Smith.

The decision to pursue a new brand for the State of South Carolina’s sole public, historically black university was approved by the SC State Board of Trustees in 2005, said Maurice Washington, chairman of SC State’s Board of Trustees.

Early in the process, an image assessment of SC State was conducted to understand how South Carolina State University is perceived by the general public and the business community; make recommendations on what SC State can do to improve its image in South Carolina, across the United States and around the world; secure more support from public sources, including the South Carolina Legislature, as well as from private sources; and improve the attractiveness of SC State to potential faculty, staff, administrators and students.

In March of 2006, questionnaires were mailed out to over 300 business leaders across the state, and to a random sample of 2,200 individuals in separate households that are representative of households in South Carolina proportionate to population by county.

“In addition to this mailed survey of South Carolinians, research also included interviews and discussions with people associated with our university, interviews and discussions with people inside and outside of South Carolina who are not associated with SC State and publications related to higher education institutions,” said Washington.

The end result of all of the research was a list of recommendations – presented to SC State’s Board of Trustees in summer 2006. These recommendations are in response to SC State’s desire to build a brand and an identity that will increase our enrollment, increase the quality of administration, faculty, staff and students, increase funding from both public and private sources, increase diversity to include people of all races from South Carolina, from North America and from abroad, and to have an image that will enable the university to become known as a school with an academic focus and a drive toward excellence.

According to Washington, some of the recommendations – include:
1. Telling the story of SC State’s origins and history;
2. Describing SC State’s role in the Civil Rights Movement;
3. Highlighting SC State’s famous administrators, faculty and alumni;
4. Identifying and telling the stories of SC State alumni who are succeeding in their respective careers;
5. Making a decision on what the primary academic focus area will be at the University;
6. Establishing an economic development center on SC State’s campus that works with county economic development offices, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and power companies to provide resources to make the Palmetto State more attractive to new businesses and to assist in the expansion of existing business in the state;
7. Aiming for SC State’s multicultural future – to better position the University for recognition, for planned growth, and for new revenues – it was recommended that SC State strive to become known as South Carolina’s international and multicultural university – based on its heritage as a black university – but destined to serve students, faculty and businesses from throughout the world; and finally, and perhaps most importantly,
8. Creating and promoting an image for SC State that leads nearly all South Carolinians to see a benefit in learning more about the institution, in considering SC State for employment, for an undergraduate or graduate degree, and as a source for employees.

“Some of these recommendations have already been acted upon by our Board of Trustees – some are still being studied, and still others will emerge over time,” said Washington.

Another aspect of SC State’s branding campaign included the design and launch of a newly revamped Web site – www.scsu.edu, which Valerie Dinkins, interim vice president of the Division of Institutional Advancement, describes as “not only attractive, but second-to-none functionality.”

“Soon, our Web site will also feature profiles on distinguished alumni. At the moment, we are using that area on our home page to promote the upcoming presidential primary debate,” added Dinkins. “I know that you will enjoy and appreciate the continually updated news and other features on our home page as well.”

President Hugine added, “With our wonderful new web site up and running – and our campus becoming an international center of attention as a result of the national debates taking place here on our campus – people from all corners of the globe – will be able to learn about our university on-line and on their own time.”

“Even now, I suspect some young man or woman in China, or Poland, or India, or the Pacific Islands is surfing our web site and dreaming of coming here for an education in a welcoming and progressive small American town just a short drive from our beaches and the international City of Charleston!,” he said.

In addition, Wachovia South Carolina President Kendall Alley presented SC State with a $250,000 check on behalf of the Wachovia Corporation.

"Providing access to higher education to all members of our community is one of the ways we can improve an individual's economic future and reduce poverty in our communities," said Alley. "Wachovia is proud to establish a scholarship program with SC State University to ensure students who need higher education the most, but can least afford it receive financial help."

The contribution is the single largest corporate gift presented to SC State.

“This contribution on this special day is symbolic of the partnerships that we wish to foster and cultivate, and the excitement that we wish for everyone to have for SC State and our ‘new state of mind’,” said Dinkins.