The University of Florida is The Foundation for The Gator Nation. That is the University of Florida’s brand. In my opinion, it always will be. Probably always has been.
All this talk about rebranding is just promotion by the local advertising agency hired to create a new tag line for the year. And as all good marketing and PR students know, a brand is not a tag line or theme. It’s much, much bigger than that.
The press releases states, The University of Florida rebranded itself … focusing on the school’s research, global outreach and commitment to take on big issues facing the world. The new slogan: “For the Gator Good.”
The change the university says, is meant to emphasize the way the school makes a difference through its research. “The idea is to inspire others to come together and solve some of the world‘s most pressing problems.”
So when we created The Gator Nation campaign back in 2005, our first television commercials challenged people to: “Go Start a Fortune 500 company. Go write the great American novel. Go cure cancer. Go to Mars.” Wasn’t the idea then to inspire others to come together and solve some of the world’s most pressing problems?
Our print ads and web marketing did the same in how we talked about the contributions made possible by UF: “As Gators, a unique experience defines us. We lead and know how to follow. We speak and know when to listen. We run Fortune 500 companies and cure diseases. We influence every field of business and science with unique perspectives and inspired collaborations. We come together to form an unbreakable bond that produces some exceedingly memorable Gators. We are The Gator Nation!”
I probably am overly protective of the UF Brand, but even after nine years, The Gator Nation campaign still feels like my baby and I’m going to look after it.
Rebranding, not on your life. A new tag line for sure and “For the Gator Good” is a good one, but it is not a rebranding effort and the university and its new agency should stop talking like that. It makes them look dumb, and I know they are not.
It also confuses those who embrace The Gator Nation. If The Gator Nation is not our brand, then what is it?
1 of Many.