Office of Strategic Marketing & Branding

Main Menu






Expressing freedom within the form

July 20, 2020
Messaging & copywriting

“The essence of branding is to create simple, relevant messages we can repeat over and over so that we brand ourselves into public consciousness.” 

That quote is from a book by Donald Miller called Building a Story Brand, which the strategic marketing and branding team has been reading together. The importance of simplicity and repetition in branding is something I know and believe. Just think how many times Nike has urged us to “Just do it” since they launched that slogan in 1988 – and we continue to feel inspired! 

But there’s also something about the repetitive aspect of branding that makes my creative side balk. I mean, who wants to say the same thing over and over?

Of course, blind repetition is not exactly what Miller is suggesting, and it’s definitely not how we envision campus communicators fortifying the U of I brand through messaging. Our job as writers is way more nuanced than that. I like to think of it as freedom within form.

The form is our simple message: The Power of I. Our plan is to repeat it so often that it becomes branded "into public consciousness," as Miller says.

But the freedom you each explore within that form is vital to bringing the brand message to life. There are as many ways to demonstrate the Power of I through relevant stories as there are individuals, innovations, collaborations and profound ripple effects across campus and around the world.

Our role as campus marketing professionals is to drive home the university's clear brand message, while highlighting the myriad of ways power is evident in this place and in its people (which is something you amazingly talented storytellers and social media managers across campus are already pros at!).