USF finds new look, chooses new slogan

It’s official: USF not only has a new look but a new slogan.

“Touching Lives, Improving the World” is the slogan officials hope will make USF become a more marketable university.

These changes are a part of an effort to show how USF is “making a difference,” said Karen Clarke, associate vice president of university relations.

At a Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, Clarke introduced the new slogan that has become part of USF’s new identity. She said when people talk about USF, they often compare it to other schools and don’t recognize it as being located in any specific area.

“We are really getting our act together when it comes to how we present ourselves so that we have an effective look and style that’s all our own,” Clarke said. “But it’s not just about looking pretty; our brand promise is what makes us different from the University of Florida and other universities.”

USF will combine the new logo and the slogan “Touching Lives, Improving the World” in a series of advertisements to make USF more appealing, Clarke said.

The choice of which logo and slogan to choose was not an independent decision, Clarke said. Instead she had personal interviews with nearly 100 business and opinion leaders in the USF market to gain different perspectives on what others thought about USF.

“One of the key findings was that 88 percent of those surveyed said it is important for Tampa Bay to have a prominent research university,” Clarke said.

Then she said she posted an online poll during the summer where more than 5,700 staff, faculty and students voted within two weeks between 11 ideas for slogans which would best fit USF. The ideas were narrowed to five including: Creating Your Future Today, A World of Possibilities, Imagine the Possibilities, Turning Ideas into Realities, and Touching Lives, Improving the World.

“These changes were not made lightly; it’s not like slapping a new coat of paint on the family room,” Clarke said. “This is about making clear decisions about what’s going to work for this university and accomplish things for us and help us package things effectively for five, 10 or more years down the road.”

She said she consulted marketing experts from USF to decide which brand (of those five slogans) best fit the university, and they decided the others were too vague. “Touching Lives, Improving the World” was the most versatile way to express all of USF’s greatest strengths and points of excellence.

“Part of what we are doing (at USF) is changing lives in our students and changing lives in our community through our excellence in our healthcare and medical research,” Clarke said.

She applied the same process when selecting the logos, but also used focus groups, including faculty, staff and students to obtain feedback and suggestions.

Clarke said about 84 percent agreed with the new logo and said it would be more adaptable for different uses at USF than the others.

“I really wanted to make sure we consulted with the people who would be fulfilling this promise so they’d say ‘Yeah, that’s what we stand for’,” Clarke said. “It’s about helping people understand quickly what this university stands for … telling the story of USF in a way that people really care about.”