Brand Strategy

Decorative graphic for brand strategy

A brand is the total experience we create for all of our audiences. It’s a statement that asks every Hokie to courageously answer the call — to help bring our mission to life on campus, in our communities, and in every corner of the globe.

About the VT Brand

Why Brand?

A brand is a reflection of the organization, a representation of its reputation. These brand guidelines encapsulate the image, primary messaging, and various ways we represent the university. Since our brand launch in 2017, the university has continued to update its identity brand standards to ensure a consistent look and style in the marketplace. Consistency among all units of Virginia Tech solidifies name recognition, a fundamental element of institutional positioning. We strive to uphold this brand of Virginia Tech and continually inform and engage our audiences about the Virginia Tech brand in an increasingly diverse and competitive higher education marketplace.

Projecting an image of cohesiveness and excellence is important for all of Virginia Tech’s many audiences.

Our Motto

Our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), is the foundation of our value proposition. Ut Prosim at the very heart of Virginia Tech and the value we hold most sacred and true. It should never be over-used or used casually, as in a play on words. It should be used sparingly with great reverence.

Mission & Vision

MISSION: Inspired by our land-grant identity and guided by our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech is an inclusive community of knowledge, discovery, and creativity dedicated to improving the quality of life and the human condition within the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the world.

2019 Mission Statement adopted by the Board of Visitors

VISION: Virginia Tech will be a global leader by inspiring and empowering people to learn, innovate, and serve beyond boundaries.

Positioning

Our positioning highlights our strengths, captures our personality, and communicates what the world expects from us. It’s the backbone of our brand.

What We Do

We reimagine the role of eduation and technology.

Because we foster a transdisciplinary approach that integrates technology in all spheres of inquiry.

How We Do It

We push the boundaries of knowledge and support people in their quests to go beyond limits.

Because we are VT-shaped, focused, and tenacious.

Why We Do it

We are a force for positive change.

Because we are driven to serve (Ut Prosim).

Brand Pillars

The university delivers on the value proposition through three brand pillars, research, culture, and learning. The brand pillars were revealed through branding discovery work as the attributes that our alumni and external audiences most value about Virginia Tech. The brand pillars give us a storytelling framework for the Virginia Tech’s mission, which is the university’s promise to the world.

Remember that value proposition expresses our attributes (Virginia Tech reimagines the roles of education and technology in every aspect of life) and our benefits (we serve as a force for positive change in a world without boundaries). To fulfill this value proposition, each of the university’s three brand pillars hold an attribute and a benefit:

Research

Attribute: Research that is adaptable, tangible, and future-focused.
Benefit: Research that discovers real and lasting solutions to big, complex problems in society.

Culture

Attribute: A culture that is inclusive, immersive, and spirited.
Benefit: A culture that develops people who have the breadth, depth, and experience to make an impact.

Learning

Attribute: Learning that is transdisciplinary, experiential, collaborative.
Benefit: Learning that fuels innovation and creativity.

Messaging Narrative

Together, the value proposition, motto, and the brand pillars create our messaging map, seen here in narrative form.
Virginia Tech reimagines the roles of education and technology in every aspect of life through research that is adaptable, tangible, and future-focused; through a culture that is inclusive, immersive, and spirited; and through learning that is transdisciplinary, experiential, and collaborative; in order to serve as a force for positive change in a world without boundaries by discovering real and lasting solutions to big, complex problems in society; by developing people who have the breadth, depth, and experience to make an impact; and by fueling innovation and creativity; all of which is built upon the foundation of our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Motivated by our motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) to be a force for positive change in a world without boundaries, Virginia Tech reimagines the role of education and technology in every aspect of life. Our research is adaptable, tangible, and future-focused, designed to discover real and lasting solutions to big, complex societal problems. Our culture is inclusive, immersive, and spirited. Hokies have the breadth, depth, and experience to make a true impact. Our learning is transdisciplinary, experiential, and collaborative, designed to fuel innovation and creativity in our problem-solving.

Colleges and units should see themselves in the messaging map and make it their own. They can explore how they fulfill the value proposition by considering each of the brand pillars.

Research

How do we serve as a force for positive change through research?
How does our research reimagine the roles of education and technology?

Culture

How does our college create a culture that thrives in a world without boundaries?
How does our culture serve as a force for positive change?

Learning

How does our college or unit reimagine the roles of education and technology?
How do we facilitate learning in a world without boundaries?

Brand Voice

Our story isn’t just about what we say; it’s about how we say it. Our brand voice brings our personality to life so that every message is uniquely Virginia Tech. The guidelines in this section help us all speak the same language.

Our brand platform is the simplest statement of our messaging using our brand voice. Our communications should always capture the spirit of these three words:

CLAIM YOUR ROLE

What it is

• The authentic essence of who we are and who we want to be.

• A representation of our ever-evolving role as individuals, as a community, and as an institution.

• A declaration of our innate drive to be a force of good in the world.

What it isn't

• A tagline or campaign theme.

• A representation of a singular or static role in the world.

• Something obligatory or forced on us by others.

CLAIM YOUR ROLE

“Claim Your Role” is the essence of our brand, but we need to be nuanced in our use of these three words. Here’s some guidance on creating copy that embodies our platform without being too one-note.

 

• Frame stories as profiles of people at work, driven by purpose and dedicated to making a difference.

• Focus on specific ways we fulfill our goal of re-imagining the role of technology and education.

• Highlight how Virginia Tech experiences shaped an individual’s role.

• Showcase examples of adaptability where we’ve persevered to overcome obstacles.

• Lead with the interdisciplinary nature of our work.

• Show the evolution of an individual’s role over time.

• Show how we courageously break down boundaries to create and fulfill new roles.

• Focus on how we are a force for positive change.

• Talk about how individual roles form a collective that is stronger than its parts.

• Show how Virginia Tech is leading the charge in new fields of study or new ways of solving problems.

 

Reaching our audiences

As we launch this platform, we’ve made sure that it’s flexible enough to resonate with our key audiences. Each of the statements shown here represents the sentiment of Claim Your Role, but in different words. “Claim Your Role” is not a tagline; rather, it’s a continual theme that should be present in all of our communications.

Personality

Our history is the cornerstone of our personality. We are naturally earnest, tenacious, and proud. As our brand evolves, we will build on these traits, showing the world that Hokies aspire to be inclusive, courageous, and adaptable. To ensure these aspirational traits become a natural extension of our brand personality, we will emphasize them in the way we communicate.

Emphasize that we are:

Inclusive

We deliberately ensure that everyone in our community feels welcome and valued.

Courageous

We will break new ground and blaze new trails to improve the world. We’re not afraid to disrupt the status quo to advance society.

Adaptable

In a rapidly changing world, we have the flexibility to embrace new ideas and change our approach.

 

Value Proposition

Virginia Tech re-imagines the roles of education and technology in every aspect of life to serve as a force for positive change in a world without boundaries.