Comment • reviews • Nordic Noir • whimsy
Your brand isn’t your logo, though many people wrongly think they’re interchangeable. What does it mean to change your logo? Here’s the second of three stories about three organisations that think they know.
2. Warwick Business School (WBS)
The WBS message board has been full of negative comments about our beloved school’s new logo. As MBA students we have hundreds of things – study notes, lecture slides, document wallets, even our much prized September Seminar canvas bags – with the old logo on it. So obviously we have a loyalty to the classy understatement of the previous logo. Next year’s cohort will have redesigned materials. I suspect that if the quality is as high, or higher, they won’t really mind.
The school is at pains to explain that the new logo is an initiative of the new Dean, Mark Taylor, in line with his ambitions for the school to become the world’s leading business school linked to a university. The increased use of ‘WBS’ rather than the full name will, I think, help those from outside the UK for which ‘Warwick’ might be a bit of a tongue-twister.
But Dean Taylor has other battles to fight. While MBA students are, as a rule, a stroppy lot, the school knows that our primary concern is for the consistent high standard of teaching to be maintained and where possible improved. That’s why we came; that is where the WBS brand lives.
The wider problem is increased competition among business schools and what that means in the context of university funds. The MBA programme is profitable for WBS. If it were to be still more profitable, should those extra funds go to develop WBS itself or to other parts of the university?
That decision is out of the Dean’s hands. He knows it, and so do his academics – on whom the delivery of his wider initiatives rely. So he has given a number of interviews to the press, in classic new-CEO mode, saying that the school has plateaued and his plan will fix things. I’m not sure whether that’s rallied the troops yet, but I do know that if I had read those interviews before I came to Warwick, I wouldn’t have come to Warwick. And since I am very glad I came to Warwick that would have been a real shame. I know people doing MBA courses at the other schools on my shortlist and WBS is head and shoulders above the others. (How’s that for loyalty/sycophancy?)
Mark Taylor is playing the long game, of course. He is assuming that the short term damage to the brand from these interviews will be overcome in the medium and long term. The new logo is a promise of things to come. Right now, the new logo symbolises an organisation that is suddenly unsure of itself. But the new ad campaign built around the logo sparkles with confidence. Time will tell whether the new strategy of which this new logo is but one manifestation, will do the business for the business school.
View the launch of the new WBS logo at http://bit.ly/c7dxHi