WLU pushes new ‘visual identity’ in advertisements

“Inspiring Lives” is the phrase at the bottom of a Wilfrid Laurier University advertisement in the Globe and Mail, which features Kelly Murmets, president and CEO of ParticipACTION.

This advertisement is one of three that will be appearing in publications this year. However, there is more to these advertisements than just undergraduate recruitment.

The advertisements are actually a continuation of the ‘Laurier 100’ campaign, which was launched during the university’s centennial year. This utilized the new tagline, “Inspiring Lives”, which was introduced alongside the new visual identity for the university in October of 2011.

“We realized that we were an institution with an incredible story to tell,” said Jacqui Tam, assistant vice president of communications, public affairs and marketing. “And that story is comprised of people.”

The centennial posed a prime opportunity to tell the story of Laurier. Tam explained that it was obvious that the best way to tell Laurier’s story would be to tell the story of people.

Since then, the advertisements have been featuring students,  faculty members or alumni from both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

“[The goal] is to raise awareness on a more national level,” said Tam. “To ensure that people actually hear the Laurier story and know something about Laurier.”

On a secondary level, the ads are also aimed at attracting people to Laurier, as well as making alumni and students proud.

“We want people talking about Laurier,” said Tom Buckley, assistant vice president of academic services.

Until recently, we focused most of, if not all, of our recruitment efforts locally. Entering into our second century I think we are aspiring to more.”

The advertisements will be running in the Globe and Mail and regional and local newspapers such as the Waterloo Region Record and the Brantford Expositor. They will also be featured on online support with the Globe and Mail, and also Globe and Mail apps on Blackberry, iPads and iPods.

The type of publications that the ads are appearing in speaks to the primary audience of the ads, who Tam said “really would be the business community, government, general public, potential donors and alumni”.

So far, the ads have received praise from the external community. As well, in their awards program this past year, the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education gave Laurier a gold award for its 2011 series.

Buckley is happy with the work public affairs has done in telling Laurier’s story.

“I think the people they select and the stories they tell align well with that we believe the Laurier experience is all about,” he concluded.

“We think that they’re very powerful in terms of the stories they tell,” Tams said.

“And if they’re powerful in terms of the stories they tell, that’s because the university community as a whole has an amazing number of individuals who have these incredible stories to tell and who do, to use our institutional proposition, inspire lives of leadership and purpose.”

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