Bristol SU has undergone a significant transformation in the last 4 years from a failing organisation in significant debt into a successfully functioning business with an annual turnover of £3-4 million, representing a body of approximately 20,000 students. In 2015, the Union commissioned Alterline to develop a new brand for them which would help them connect more effectively with their student audience.
Research-led brand strategy
To truly connect with an audience, we need to know and understand them. The development of the new brand at Bristol SU began with us building an evidence base about who students are, what they care about, and what makes them tick.
The vast majority of students at the University of Bristol are there because they want to learn more about their chosen subject, but perhaps more importantly, they’re an aspirational bunch – they want to grow and develop as people, and make a better life for themselves in the future. They’re sociable and loyal, with friendship and loved ones important in their lives, but they’re free-spirted too and are seeking independence.
To say there’s just one type of student at the University of Bristol would be a simplistic view, and we ended up breaking the audience down into five key segments, based on their attitudes motivations and beliefs.
Developing the brand – a co-creative process
The development of the brand was a co-creative process. We brought together a group of Union staff, officers and students in a collaborative workshop in which they absorbed the evidence we’d gathered about students and were presented with the student segments. Using a range of stimuli, the groups were asked put together a brand mood board based on what they had learned, and pitch their ideal brand.
Our design team took inspiration from the mood boards, and other ideas generated on the day, to produce three creative concepts for the Union to consider. One of which was chosen and developed into the final concept.