If you were to see Augusta University in a parking lot, what kind of car would it be?
For a solid majority of the more than 2,700 people who took the Augusta University branding survey, the answer is a Honda.
Skeptical? According to Alex Wier, creative director at Wier/Stewart, the company hired to guide GRU through the sometimes turbulent waters of the latest name change and rebranding, the answer means more than you might think.
“When you ask people some of the high-level questions that go into a survey like this, a lot of times it’s tough to get them to articulate exactly what they mean,” Wier said. “But if they say, ‘It’s like a Honda,’ we all kind of know what a Honda’s like. It’s solid, it’s dependable and it’s a good value.”
Wier was pleased to see that those attributes were reinforced by the fact that all six groups that made up the survey chose either affordability or academics as Augusta University’s top value.
To quote the infographic explaining the results, strong academics and reasonable affordability equal a high-value education. In other words, a Honda.
If one thing emerges from the survey, which will help determine the look of Augusta University’s new branding, it’s the fact that the entire university and health system community seems to be on the same page, something many find surprising, given the amount of change experienced over the last several years.
“I think the big story here is that people are kind of in the same place about their top-level thoughts about the personality of the university,” Wier said. “Academic faculty and staff, undergrads, clinical faculty and staff, grad students, alumni and unaffiliated community members all agreed on where the entity lands between being conservative or progressive, fresh or established, introverted or extroverted.”
In a presidential announcement that contains the survey results, President Brooks Keel expressed a similar excitement.
“There was a clear set of themes that emerged from this exercise, and those themes give us a very solid foundation on which to build the brand of this great university,” he said.
Specifically, participants consistently described Augusta University as somewhat progressive, somewhat established and somewhat extroverted, qualities that Wier and his team will eventually translate into the visual language of the university.
“We’re developing something that’s never going to change, that’s always going to look awesome and is just going to get more and more equity the longer it goes,” he said. “Like the university itself.”