This week we introduced our new logo on our website and social channels. The logo is part of our branding and visual identity project, which we’ve been working on since 2014-15 when we undertook research to create our Strategic Plan 2015-19. The research, done with over 3,500 students, revealed that they didn't identify with all of our support and services. Those who were highly engaged with our work understood who we were but the majority of our members didn’t; which is what the branding and visual identity project seeks to address. Our organisational vision, mission and values are outlined in our Strategic Plan and these are the foundations of this work.
This project is one of the eight key change projects listed in our Strategic Plan 2015-19. The project aims to move us from having a confused look, whereby we were still using up to three old logos across our buildings and publications work, to enabling all of our offerings (buildings, support services, activities, events etc) to appear connected and be easily identifiable as the Students’ Association’s. We feel this is vital for the success of the other seven key change projects we will be delivering before 2019.
The other reason for us undertaking this work at this time is that the redevelopments at the Pleasance complex and King’s Buildings House mean that we soon must spend considerable money on signage and wayfinding for these renovated spaces and in order to do this only once we wanted to be able to create the updated signage in our new visual identity.
We undertook additional research, on top of the research we did in 2014-15, as part of this project. The work raised the topic of our organisational name – highlighting that for new students the ‘EUSA’ acronym was a barrier to access and understanding who we are and what we offer. The other assertion was that our ‘association’ label was less effective in describing our activities than the word ‘union’ may be. We commissioned an independent (TNS Omnibus) survey to test this. We surveyed people living across the UK aged 16-30 years who were planning to attend, currently attending, or had attended university and asked the question: “Would you call the organisation at a university that is responsible for student representation, events, societies, support services and student venues the… a) Students’ Union, or b) Students’ Association?”
- 83% said “a) Students’ Union”, compared to 17% for “b) Students’ Association”.
- Crucially, of those aged 16-19 years who were ‘planning to attend university’ (e.g. our future student members), 92% said “a) Students’ Union”.
Because of the result of this research, in March 2016 we went to referendum to ask our members whether we should change our name, using the following wording:
- Should EUSA (Edinburgh University Students’ Association) change its name to University of Edinburgh Students’ Union?
Current student members voted that they did not want us to change from being called an Association to a Union. Having confirmed at Referendum we would not be changing our name we continued the project.
The visual identity element of the project has a one off budget of c. £5,000. This investment was made so that we don’t waste many more thousands in the coming 3-5 years revising signage (e.g. at The Pleasance and King’s Buildings House) and other visuals and materials multiple times, and to meet the strategic project’s objectives of the Students’ Association being seen as recognisable and relevant to our members, allowing us to build deeper affinity across all off our services and offerings.