Branding U

Every university has its own identity — as any proud alumnus will tell you. And the universities carefully market that brand — just look at the “identity ad” from each of the opposing schools on every televised collegiate sporting event. Here’s a quirky new effort in University branding – from today’s Washington Post (American University, now home to the ‘American Wonk’):

New York has financiers. Las Vegas has gamblers, and Austin has slackers.
Washington? Washington has wonks.
That’s the inspiration behind a new American University effort to distinguish itself among a crowd of local colleges competing for attention by branding the campus as the home of the “American Wonk.”
The school has handed out 3,500 free T-shirts imprinted with 18 slogans, including “Legal Wonk” and “Arts Wonk.” Ads have begun appearing at Metro stops and in local newspapers. And during alumni weekend in October, there will be a “Wonk of Fame” exhibit.

Now, every school in the DC area touts its connection with the policy world. But it seems that they all also try to maintain a broader brand. It will be interesting to see how the other schools react (if at all) to this very target attempt to corner the “wonk” brand.
As a self-proclaimed wonk, I may have to get one of those t-shirts. And add the University of Michigan logo (Go Blue)!

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