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UB ready to tell its story worldwide — with Buffalo at the heart of it

Buffalo is more than a city. It’s a state of mind. And UB is more than a college campus. It’s a commitment.

By JOHN DELLACONTRADA

Published April 12, 2016

“This is a university-wide strategy that defines who we are, what we do and why it matters.”
Nancy Paton, vice president
University Communications

UB will begin telling its story worldwide in a more compelling and cohesive way with the launch today of a new identity and brand strategy for the institution.

“Our alumni, students, faculty and staff have all expressed a strong desire for the university to be much bolder in telling the world about what a great university UB is,” said President Satish K. Tripathi. “Today, we embark on a new university-wide effort to do just that.

“As UB continues to rise in the ranks of the nation’s great public research universities, the world is increasingly taking notice,” Tripathi said. “Our university, and what makes us distinctive, will become even more widely known through this strategy, and it will benefit the entire university, as well as the Buffalo community.”

This long-term identity and brand strategy, to be fully implemented over the next several years, will strengthen UB’s reputation and visibility worldwide, Tripathi said.

It will draw more top students to UB from across the state, nation and world, and aid in the recruitment of world-class faculty and staff. It will build pride among alumni, help to increase research funding and generate philanthropic support.  It will cement Buffalo’s status as a destination for smart, driven students and the world’s best scholars and researchers.

“Our carefully crafted strategy communicates UB’s distinctiveness in a relevant, consistent and authentic way to all audiences,” said Nancy Paton, vice president for university communications. “This is a university-wide strategy that defines who we are, what we do and why it matters.

“Increased competition in higher education for students, faculty, research funding and philanthropic support is indicative that we are entering a new era,” Paton said. “Differentiated and distinctive institutional reputation is vital to UB’s future success.”

‘Here is How’: A new framework for the UB brand

The new strategy features two key components, both of which resulted from a yearlong process involving the expertise and input of thousands of alumni, students, faculty, staff, prospective students and community members.

The first component is a brand framework that conveys UB’s distinctiveness. Based around a concept called “Here is How,” it presents UB as an extraordinary university in an extraordinary city — an institution that represents not only a place, but also a unique way of getting things done.

“‘Here is How’ captures UB’s unique personality, expressing distinctive traits and attributes identified over several months during the initiative’s research phase,” Paton said. “UB is an ambitious and inclusive community of big thinkers and doers. We are tenacious in pursuit of our goals, and we bring a global context to all that we do.”

These traits are shared by the people and city of Buffalo, she said. “It’s in the way we do things, and it’s reflected in Buffalo’s renaissance and UB’s role in this renaissance.”

This new storytelling framework will be conveyed in all facets of the university ranging from admissions brochures and alumni magazines to the university’s websites, signage, photography and social media.  

“Our ‘Here is How’ framework conveys a sense of what it’s like to be at UB and in Buffalo,” Paton said.

“It is a sustainable platform from which we’ll tell stories that will permeate the entire university, creating consistency and showing UB’s impact. They’re stories about how we teach, create and impact the world — and we do that right here in Buffalo, New York.”

The “Here is How” concept is captured in a video that launches the initiative.

Uniting around the ‘University at Buffalo’ name

Just as important as the “Here is How” framework, the new identity and branding initiative is focused on clearing up longtime confusion about the university’s name, Paton said.

For what may be the first time in UB’s history, all of the university’s schools and units will be aligned under one official name: the “University at Buffalo,” with the interlocking UB as the official university logo. UB’s affiliation with the State University of New York will continue to be a major part of the university’s name, particularly for international markets where the SUNY name is widely known and valued.

As a result of this effort, UB’s School of Law and School of Architecture and Planning are now more closely aligned with the university’s official name. The Division of Athletics and all UB athletics teams also are more closely aligned with the university’s name and will use “UB” and “Buffalo” as their primary identities. Athletics also is introducing a new spirit mark for the UB Bulls and will use the text tagline “New York’s Public Powerhouse” in marketing materials to emphasize UB’s strength in New York State and UB’s stature as one of the nation’s leading public research universities.

“The university’s academic strength has always been a key athletics message in promoting UB to student-athletes, coaches and other universities nationwide,” said Allen Greene, director of athletics.  “UB Athletics’ refreshed identity helps to further amplify that message and builds on our successful efforts to promote UB’s academic stature across the state and nationwide — a message with strong appeal to the coaches, staff and student-athletes we recruit.”

For examples of how all UB schools and units are incorporated into the university name, consult the brand website.

 “It is very important to UB’s future that we have a clear and consistent identity across the entire university,” Paton said. “Building momentum and consistency under the University at Buffalo name and interlocking UB symbol will forge a strong identification for the university and eliminate confusion.”

The new branding and identity initiative will be cheered by UB’s 243,000 alumni, said Mary Garlick Roll, president of the UB Alumni Association. “UB graduates all over the world are ready to share their pride and support,” she said.  “Like me, I’m sure they’ll be very excited to see the new UB brand come to life.”

UB deans, faculty, staff and students from across the university also have shared their support for the new brand and identity strategy.

“I think the branding initiative has been thoroughly researched and the final product really reflects the culture and values of this university,” said Joseph Pace of the undergraduate Student Association and a UB engineering major. “UB is an extremely diverse place with so many great things happening every day, and this new campaign will showcase what UB has to offer.”

“UB has an awesome story that needs to be shared; the new brand launch will be an integral exercise to execute this narrative,” said Philip L. Glick, chair of the Faculty Senate and professor of surgery.  “The new brand launch should also help to build better and stronger connections between departments, schools and the entire university.”

Over the next five to 10 years, the university will align the “Here is How” framework throughout the university while maintaining a consistent university identity. “Each of UB’s schools, units and departments will tell their stories through this framework,” Paton said.  “Collectively, we will show the world what it means to UB.”

READER COMMENTS

Great news for the UB family. We are not New York; we are Buffalo

 

Roger A Roll

As a former student, I'm glad to see that UB is showcasing the traditional South Campus. As a parent now, with college-age kids, I know that in addition to good academic strengths, I'd like my kids to find a campus setting with the features of a real "place."

 

Michael DiPasquale

This unified focus and identity occurs at the right time for UB. It unites the strength of UB, SUNY and Buffalo in ways that are reinforcing and instantly recognizable.

 

As a former dean of the UB School of Management and someone with great pride in what has been accomplished over the years, I am delighted to see this next step in university development. It is one that conveys both the continuity of tradition and distinctiveness achieved through impact.

 

Joseph Alutto

You had an opportunity to rebrand the university as the "University of New York or New York State University" and you completely wimped out or knuckled under pressure. Could the University at Buffalo name be more boring?

 

Tom Jacoutot

Love it! It creates a lot more brand equity to focus on "UB," "University at Buffalo" and "Buffalo" because the SUNY part has always caused confusion. 

 

This is a great time to double down efforts and make sure that there is never any doubt about what UB means. As an example: there are multiple schools that vie for "BU" and other highly contested acronyms, but there is only one distinct UB.

 

Cheers to everyone involved in the new efforts!

 

Alex Cespedes

Great strategy!

 

Mangesh Jaiswal

The University of California system has two flagship schools, Berkeley and Cal. New York State has four. Why can't UB be the "Cal" of New York State? We're the largest and most comprehensive university in the SUNY system. Not to mention the best athletics. A "New York State" brand would have been far superior and stronger for students, alumni, faculty and staff. Completely disappointed.

 

David Harary

It is long past time that the University at Buffalo reclaim its proper name and declare it to the world. The misguided prominence of the state alienated many members of the UB community. Remember there was a university in Buffalo before there was a State University of New York, and that we are the largest and strongest institution of higher education in the SUNY System. In short, we are Buffalo.

 

Patricia Maloney

Excellent strategy to highlight the strengths and future of our great institution.

 

Raymond Poltorak

I've been shaking my head in disbelief at this strategy for years -- this announcement is only the culmination of a long, and in my mind ill-advised, retreat from identification with SUNY.

 

Consider: Everyone knows SUNY is one of the top 15 state university systems. That seems a far stronger point of identification than building UB's identity on what many, fairly or unfairly, see as a troubled and peripheral city.

 

To make matters worse, for historical reasons UB can't be the University OF Buffalo, it has to be the University AT Buffalo. "University AT" naming is very rare among institutions of higher education -- so much so that I imagine the name makes many who don't know the place at all suspicious. "Is there a University OF Buffalo somewhere else and these guys are poaching on the name?" SUNY at Buffalo was an identity to be proud of; the "University at Buffalo" is, at best, a cipher among the people the school most yearns to impact: people outside of Western New York. (But at least it's not as terrible as University at Stony Brook.)

 

Tom Flynn

There is also University of Baltimore.

 

James Milles

It's about time. Something like this should have been done years ago.

 

David Gray

As a past president of the alumni association, I can attest to the positive response this branding campaign will generate. As a longtime advocate for a promotional campaign that will raise the profile of UB, I concur that this effort will help to tell the world that UB is a place for new ideas, provocative conversations and world-changing outcomes that prospective students and faculty will gravitate to.

 

Putting Buffalo front and center brings the university back to its core foundation, aligns UB with the city's renaissance and provides a clear message of not only what we do, but where we do it.

 

Joseph Lojacono  

As an alumnus who still has ties to Buffalo, this is very exciting news. I'm proud to see how UB is growing in these difficult, competitive times for universities.

 

Edward F. Ingerman

Very professionally put together, beautiful images, etc. Just one problem: This promo could have been for any large state university in the country — believe me, I've seen a bunch (I taught at Kent State University for 37 years).

 

Also, why not go with "Here's How" and an image of a frat boy with a UB beer mug. At least that would be memorable.

 

And one more thing: You can't expect people to take you too seriously if you start off with the statement,"Buffalo is not just a city; it is a state of mind." Please.

 

John Noel Reifel

On the whole, very nice job.

 

As a second-generation alum who went to UB nursery school and UB summer camp on the South Campus (yeah, I'm old), it is good to see a focus.

 

It had been getting a little tough keeping up with the most recent name changes at the law school after I graduated (there have been four). Now it can be officially known by the name everyone has called it anyway: UB Law.

 

As for "NEW YORK," a little perspective. First, the name confusion with the University of New York (the official name for the Board of Regents) and NYU would have gotten it kicked out of the patent office.  Second, the other SUNY university centers would not let Buffalo be "New York." They are the ones that went to SUNY Central when Buffalo created a one-campus, focused, development plan ("UB 2020") and diluted it (into "SUNY 2020") and then slowed down even that so that the others could catch up.

 

Jim Everett

The name "University at Buffalo" always seemed awkward to me. The use of "at" instead of "of" bothers me, if only because people often see it as a typo. The good thing about this name, though, is the emphasis on Buffalo. As other comments pointed out, UB entered a crowded field in trying to carve out a primarily "New York" identity. Besides, Buffalo is a great city.

 

I'm thinking that the name won't be such a big deal in the future as long as UB continues on the path it's on. The caliber of student has improved a lot since I attended. UB holds its own as a research institution. From the outside looking in, UB is poised to improve in many respects. A future where many more people are familiar with the quirky name "University at Buffalo" because they are familiar with UB's quality academics and important research is achievable.

 

Burt Samuelson

Am I missing something? I graduated almost 20 years ago.

We all refer to it as UB and the University at Buffalo and always have. All apparel said UB or University at Buffalo. So where was the confusion and need to rebrand? The only confusion was when SUNY was referenced due to Buffalo State.

 

Marc Hanan

Yes, I remember that "SUNY at Buffalo" or "The State University of New York at Buffalo" or "University at Buffalo" or "University of Buffalo" or "UB" were all the familiar names used by the community. Nobody complained about the name, but there was a lot of confusion in the community.

 

For an official needs and imaging upgrade, a unified logo and brand name have been needed, even to eliminate the confusion. However, "UB" or "University at Buffalo" are also confusing to outsiders. And Buffalo is not as well known to outsiders as New York.

 

So I recommend using "UB, the State University of New York" or "University at Buffalo, the State University of New York" instead. It is somewhat similar to "Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey" or "Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University." It is a little bit lengthy to read, but still better than the latter two.

 

Young-Cheol Ahn