The school’s brand identity continues to reap recognition since its launch last year
Jessica Lio // Online Editor
Photograph c/o Tae Hoon Kim
Victoria Miles, Capilano University’s director of communications and marketing, was presented with the Coup de Coeur Award by the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education (CACE) at a national conference in Edmonton, AB. on Oct. 2.
Miles was recognized for her work on the University’s “brand story” which gives context to the new logo and visual identity that was implemented in November 2016. The new identity followed a months-long rebranding process, which considered input from various campus stakeholder groups and First Nations Elders.
CapU’s updated logo, shaped similarly to an eagle’s wing – a symbol for wisdom, friendship and leadership in Coast Salish culture – emphasizes the spirit of diversity, creativity and unity that the University takes pride in fostering.
CACE’s recognition follows two awards from the University & College Designers Association (UCDA), which the University received over the summer for its innovative brand strategy and recent advertising campaign.
This major Lower Mainland advertising campaign ran between January and March of this year, and featured placements on billboards, busses, transit shelters and terminals, along with print and online ads. It was strategically launched at a time when most students applying to post-secondary institutions hadn’t yet committed to a school, and the University hoped to entice high school students to give CapU full consideration as a viable choice for completing a meaningful post-secondary credential.
“We were coming out with this very bold statement of our place as a university in British Columbia’s post-secondary environment,” said Miles, who has been working passionately to share the meaning behind the colourful new brand with students, employees and community members.
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At the conclusion of the campaign, the University partnered with Lux Insights, a third-party agency specializing in brand measurement and tracking, to conduct a study identifying perceptions of CapU within BC’s post-secondary landscape.
Lux Insights found that respondents who observed an improvement in CapU’s reputation attributed the change partly to the new brand, which had only been in place for three months at the time of the survey. Respondents also cited CapU’s designation change from community college to university as a positive factor – a change that took place nearly a decade ago in 2008. The new brand having already penetrated consciousness was a strong indicator to the University that it was resonating with students in a strong way.
Among other early indicators of the brand’s resonance, according to Miles, was recognition from professional peers such as Ken Steele, co-founder of Academica Group and founder of Eduvation – two leading post-secondary news and research platforms in Canada. Of 105 post-secondary institutions between 2015-2017, Steele listed Capilano University as the top contender in Eduvation’s global survey of brand identity redesign initiatives. In his analysis, Steele also noted that CapU’s new brand could serve as inspiration for the “potential for reconciliation in Canada.”
Miles echoed this sentiment and noted the logo visually represented the connection to nature valued by all members of the campus community. “It recognizes that we find our place between sea and sky, in this extraordinary positioning on the west coast. It honours our relationship with First Nations and it honours our value of all diversity. There’s a place for all of us here at Cap,” she said.
CapU’s institutional research department and registrar’s office have measured an increase in student enrolment that hasn’t occurred in several years. Miles expressed her confidence in the brand’s ability to encourage students to choose Capilano University as the place to complete a meaningful credential as they pursue the careers they’re interested in.
Her hope now is that all members of the campus community will take personal responsibility for demonstrating the qualities that inspired the brand identity – unity, creativity, confidence, endurance and luminosity – and carry those values with them as they make a greater impact on society.