Frequently Asked Questions
Published April 15, 2015
The University at Buffalo has embarked on a very important initiative to identify the distinctive strengths of the university and build a comprehensive identity and brand campaign upon those strengths. In a very competitive marketplace, this initiative will advance the reputation and brand position of the university by highlighting the talents and achievements of our faculty, students and alumni.
Higher education is undergoing significant change. Societal trends, shifts in funding priorities and emerging technologies are creating increased competition for the best students, for top faculty, for funding, for leadership and for reputation. Against this backdrop, branding and identity are increasingly important.
These environmental shifts require that UB differentiate itself from other institutions. It’s critical for the university to tell its story in a way that not only establishes distinction but also inspires.
The successful development and implementation of an identity and brand strategy will clearly articulate UB’s differentiated meaning and promise, and will catalyze the university’s reputation—a reputation that is built on a strong foundation of academic excellence—research and scholarly distinction, transformative student experiences and engaging public service.
The primary objective is to establish a distinctive, compelling and relevant position in the minds of our university stakeholders and key publics. We will accomplish this by defining the university’s strategic identity: who we are, what we do and why it matters.
Implementing a successful identity and brand strategy will produce several benefits to the university. These include:
This initiative will result in:
Developing an identity and messaging strategy for the university is expected to take approximately nine months.
Phase One: Discovery and Definition (January 2015 to April 2015)
Phase Two: Positioning, Messaging Development and Application (May 2015 to July 2015)
Phase Three: Market Testing and Launch (July 2015 to September 2015)
Phase Four: Measure Success (September 2015 to October 2015)
An engagement of this magnitude far exceeded the in-house expertise the university had at its disposal, and bringing an objective third party consultant in to co-lead this initiative gives the University at Buffalo the best chance to develop a contemporary identity and brand that has the appropriate balance of authenticity and aspiration.
The university sought a strategic and creative partner specializing in higher education with whom to collaborate in the development of a comprehensive identity and brand strategy. The firms with whom we are partnering have an exceptional track record of collaborating with large, complex public research institutions, and delivering compelling identity and brand strategies that have helped to catalyze their respective reputations.
The contract was awarded to Ologie who has partnered with Marshall Strategy.
Ologie and Marshall Strategy have collaborated successfully with some of the nation's leading research universities and medical schools. These firms bring a track record of accomplishment in successfully helping higher educational institutions define their purpose and tell their stories in engaging ways.
UB will benefit from the firms’ collective talents. By partnering with Ologie and Marshall Strategy, UB is benefiting from:
The contract was awarded to Ologie in the amount of $314,000. Ologie was the second-lowest bidder among vendors submitting proposals, and the average bid of proposals submitted was $527,450. Ologie and Marshall’s collaborative proposal was consistently ranked highest by three collective university groups representing senior academic and administrative leadership, faculty chairs and members, staff and alumni. The selection process involved 60 university representatives.
The contract was awarded in compliance with UB and SUNY procurement policies.
Progressive Bidding Process
This was a progressive bidding process consisting of three phases:
Phase I: Evaluation Criteria
Firms were ranked based on scores using specified evaluation criteria. The university selected five firms scoring the highest point rating to progress to Phase II, using an evaluation committee of senior communications leaders representing administrative and decanal organizations who reviewed all proposals. Cost, although a consideration, was not the sole determining factor. Firms described how they will provide their services to satisfy the stated requirements and/or conditions.
Phase II: Evaluation Criteria
The five highest ranked firms gave an on-site presentation, based on their proposal, to a committee of senior academic and administrative leadership. Each bidder was given 45 minutes to present on their qualifications, experience and project plan. Members of the committee held a question-and-answer period at the end of the presentation to clarify the bidders’ capabilities and fit to be successful in this mission-critical initiative. Cost was not discussed as part of the bidder’s presentation or during any subsequent question-and-answer period.
Three firms scoring the highest point ratings in Phase II Evaluation Criteria advanced to the final selection round.
Phase III: Evaluation Criteria
In this final phase, three firms were asked to present to the university’s senior leadership, which consists of the president, provost, vice presidents and the president’s chief of staff. Each firm was given 1.5 hours to present on their qualifications, experience and an in-depth discussion of their proposed project plan. Firms were also asked to present a relevant case study to demonstrate their success in achieving identity and brand strategy objectives. Committee members conducted a question-and-answer period at the end of the presentation to clarify the firm’s capabilities, expertise and understanding of the unique considerations of defining and actualizing an identity and brand strategy for a premier public research university.
The bid was awarded to the responsible bidder/contractor, qualified by experience and in a financial position to do the work specified.
The university’s identity and brand initiative is a highly collaborative effort involving a wide cross-section of UB stakeholders. Information about the initiative will be communicated through a variety of channels and mediums, including a soon-to-be launched website.