Monday, October 12th, 2015
Dixie State University recently began the process of rebranding its identity.
In an effort to establish a strong brand and identity for the university – one of the six goals of the institution’s strategic plan, Dixie 2020: Status to Stature — President Richard B. Williams has commissioned an Identity Committee to oversee the process of changing the institutional nickname and athletic mascot from Red Storm and Big “D” the Bull, respectively.
“A strong identity allows an organization to more effectively tell its story,” Dr. Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership at DSU and a member of the Identity Committee, said. “Dixie State University has a rich history, an incredibly bright future and an amazing story to tell, and it deserves an identity that will articulate its unique message.”
The committee, made up of individuals representing Dixie State University’s alumni, students, Athletics Department, faculty, staff, administration and community, is working with Utah company Love Communications to create the new nickname and mascot. Love was chosen based on their experience within higher education, athletics and similar rebranding campaigns.
In the first of three phases, Love will study the extensive research that has been conducted in the last 10 years and measures institutional stakeholders’ opinions regarding the university’s identity. The agency will pull data from the multiple surveys that students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members have answered. Additionally, Love will pore over the transcripts of interviews and discussions with focus groups and interpret the data the Strategic Planning Committee gathered during their yearlong process of identifying DSU’s mission, values, goals and strategies.
“The research overwhelmingly demonstrates that the current identity is confusing and a more authentic brand is not only desired, but much needed,” Dr. Sharp said.
Based on the data collected from the research, DSU’s new nickname and mascot will not include any current or past identities. Additionally, the name Dixie State University will remain the formal name of the institution, as determined by the Utah State Legislature when DSU was granted university status.
During the second phase of the rebranding process, Love Communications will create multiple concepts for the university’s new identity based on the research and their own investigations. Dixie State’s Identity Committee will choose three finalists from the concepts Love creates. From there, the agency will develop and design mascot renderings, logos, color schemes, and overall brand concepts for all three options. Love will work directly with the Identity Committee to present the three finalists to major DSU stakeholders and measure interest among these key groups.
To complete the process, the Identity Committee and Love Communications will roll out and implement the new identity and mascot. This will likely include a community celebration during which the new identity and mascot will be formally implemented.
The committee is working to complete the first two phases by the end of December 2015. Phase three is set to take place in 2016.
“The stakeholders of Dixie State can be assured that the new identity will take into consideration our past, the new strategic plan, the research that has been gathered for more than a decade, and the elements of an effective brand — along with the guidance of branding professionals,” Dr. Sharp said. “Although mascots, nicknames, and colors are subjective, I believe we will discover an identity that is clear, authentic, and distinct, and that successfully tells the great story of Dixie State University.”