TTUHSC Reveals New Brand Identity: The Future of Health

six students with the words "the future of health" and the TTUHSC logo

This September, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) will implement its refreshed brand identity.

The TTUHSC External Relations team has researched, planned and executed the refreshed brand, allowing TTUHSC to communicate an authentic identity as a university and a health care organization.

Vice President of External Relations Ashley Hamm, Assistant Vice President Holly Russell, Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy Amanda Graham and Creative Director Aric Johnson presented the new brand identity to each campus during a series of brand labs held throughout the summer.. These presentations included an overview of the qualitative and quantitative research findings, a look at the refreshed identity and the tools that are now available for team members.

By answering a few general questions, the team shed light on what this brand refresh means, why it’s important for the community and what team members can do to communicate the message of the TTUHSC brand. 

Why is the TTUHSC brand important? 

AG: So often when someone thinks of a brand, they think of a logo or a certain set of colors. A brand encompasses so much more than that. It’s how someone thinks, feels and responds when they interact or engage with us. 

My five-year-old, who hasn’t learned to read yet, picked up a piece of mail the other day and got excited when she realized it was from Domino’s. She’s happy for any meal with bread and cheese—but it’s not the pizza that makes Domino’s special for her. It’s about an experience. She knows that when we order Domino’s it’s a casual night at our house; we get a movie night or she might get to stay up late. You might get that same feeling about Domino’s: easy, casual and convenient fun. 

We’re not creating the same brand for TTUHSC, but we are creating a brand that delivers a consistent type of engagement for our stakeholders. As the higher education and health care industries become more and more competitive, we need to stand out now more than ever. 

How does the process of a brand refresh start?

AH: We kicked off this work several years ago with what we’re referring to as a “brand audit.” We took the time to understand all the places our brand lives—from outdoor signage, to uniforms, to our website—and to understand how our brand is represented. 

From there, we went into our brand research phase and looked to see how people are connecting with our brand. Do they recognize our brand? Do they differentiate us from TTU? Do they think we’re one in the same with our hospital partners? Our deep dive across campuses showed how our students, potential students, alumni and community members connect with and recognize our brand. Ultimately, we wanted the research to inform our decisions. 

There is great equity in our name and in the double-T. So, rather than a full rebrand, we embarked on what we call a refresh: really developing a brand for TTUHSC that represents who we are. 

What research went into forming this brand identity?

AG: Having a data-driven approach and benchmarks was super important to us. About two years ago, we contracted BVK, a firm that specializes in health care and higher education. We felt they would be a strong partner for us, and they were able to execute quantitative and qualitative market studies across the state with both internal and external audiences.

HR: The refreshed identity was informed from the research and insights we received from BVK. We haven’t had access to this kind of information in the past, so our creative decisions have been informed through other data sources like Google Analytics, Meta insights, and reports from paid advertising efforts. So, we knew it was important to take these quantitative and qualitative findings and do a complete audit of our current assets. 

A key finding we really kept top-of-mind during this process was the low name recognition for TTUHSC. Many audiences, including a decent number of students, do not understand that we’re a standalone university. There’s a lack of clear identity to differentiate TTUHSC from TTU, both internally and externally, and the familiarity and association with TTUHSC is lower in markets outside of Lubbock. That said, it’s abundantly clear that there’s a ton of value in the double-T and the Texas Tech name. That association is overwhelmingly positive, which is great for us. 

What inspired the changes that were made?

AJ: Finding our brand identity has been cool, but very challenging. It’s difficult to come up with an idea that represents everyone. There are a lot of emotions and opinions surrounding who we are—which is a good thing. We want people to be passionate about the brand. 

Once we got through the research, we were left with three big things. The first was that whatever ideas we went with, they needed to be authentic and feel like us. The second was that it was important to include our vision and values. And lastly, our brand identity needs to be versatile enough to speak to all of our audiences. We’re a very diverse group: students, team members, donors, etc.. So we needed to be flexible and speak to these different audiences. Looking at those three things, this concept stood out above all the others.

Why “the future of health?”

AJ: I think that speaks to who we are now, and who we aspire to be. The words “future” and “health” are bold. They tell a story on their own without any context around them. 

The six students you can see within the creative concept represent our six schools. With the passage of time, we can change these students, allowing us to bring in a variety of different faces, which I think is cool. 

We’re making a mark. The research backs up a concern we’ve heard a lot: that people don’t know we’re here. So this concept needs to be bold, leave a mark and make our presence known. 

We also need our message to speak to our many audiences. So it all comes back to the future of health. It can speak to potential students or to donors or to alumni. That message is adaptable and will evolve over time. 

How are TTUHSC logos changing? 

HR: Upon completion of our audit, we accounted for over 150 logos and a substantial number of those did not feature the double-T and/or the TTUHSC name. We knew it was imperative to address the logo bloat and ensure that the double-T and our name were front and center. 

Ultimately, this association and affiliation lends instant credibility and legitimacy to your program, initiative, department, etc. Streamlining our logo also aligns with our core value of One Team. 

AG: Having a lot of unique symbols for TTUHSC causes confusion and ultimately weakens our brand. Many of us know firsthand the challenges of working with our logo when ordering something or creating a poster or other branded material. It can be tricky to know what to use. While we can’t solve every problem we might come across, we’ve done as much as we can to mitigate these issues. 

AJ: We’re getting rid of all logos other than the institutional logo. That includes promotional logos, which are being phased out. While this might sound extreme, the vital information will still be there with each designed piece. Each group, office or program will be communicated and represented. All that information can be communicated while keeping consistency by all of us using the same logo. 

The institutional logo will be used for formal communication and as a primary identifier. We also have spirit logos—requests for those are submitted to our team. They are more customizable and more casual. It’s a fun way for people to express themselves. 

What role do team members play in implementing the refreshed brand? 

AJ: We need your help to spread awareness among your team and within your department and school. Our team members are the eyes and ears to ensure collateral, presentations, signage, etc., are all aligned with our refreshed identity and guidelines. 

AH: Our brand is for everyone and needs to be cared for by everyone—making your role as an ambassador all the more important. 

This focus on brand is hugely important work. Work like this has never been done for our university, and we hope you’re energized about the refreshed brand. 

 

The TTUHSC brand launch celebrations begin on September 5 and will take place at each campus. 

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