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‘Be Bullish’

USF will launch "Be Bullish" as its new university tagline in the fall in an effort to recreate the image of the university.

Joe Hice, USF’s chief marketing officer, is attempting to push the new tagline into the general student population. The new tagline will replace USF’s previous one of 15 years, “Touching Lives, Improving the World.”

“To ‘Be Bullish’ is a statement to be positive about something or someone’s future,” Hice said. “We feel with everything that’s going on at USF, we have a bright future and we’re all very positive about what’s to come for students who are currently attending and even after they  graduate.”

The new campaign will attempt to give students and faculty a new feeling of optimism toward USF and the opportunities the university can provide, Hice said.

The phrase is being named USF’s “tagline” opposed to “slogan” because USF views the phrase as being a long-term marketing tool, opposed to being used for a single campaign — which is what slogans are predominantly used for.

“Our goal is to have an impact on our university’s ability to positively affect our students' futures,” Hice said.

As the fall approaches, Hice and the rest of the USF’s marketing department are preparing to push the campaign in a variety of ways, including on-campus tabling and activism.

“The timing now is that we’re developing an ongoing communications campaign that will launch with the start of the new fall semester,” Hice said. “We’ll get out on campus and do a lot of activism. We’ll have information stations, banners and signs up, and we’ll work with student organizations. Working closely with the people of WUSF will aid us in telling the story. All of those traditional means will be a huge help.”

With a large campus like USF, Hice said he and his team needed to develop a tagline that best encompassed the entire university and all of its different departments.

“The other challenge you have when you’re trying to develop a communications program for an organization as big and complex as the university is that you need to find something that works everywhere,” Hice said. “It’s real easy to ‘Be Bullish’ about journalism and communications, education and engineering or USF health … It’s not necessarily meant to be a headline or an ad, but more of a tagline that kind of underlines the messaging and positive energy that we want to push forward.”

The “Be Bullish” campaign is occurring while campus consolidation is in the works, which will see USF’s Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses unify as one. Hice said the new tagline will be another way of creating unification between the three locations because, “It’s one of those phrases that can work everywhere.”

The university also announced last fall that it's working to to clarify its brand across all three campuses by focusing on the “U” logo of USF Tampa, instead of having different ones for each campus.

Student involvement helped shape the new tagline, though the absence of students on campus during the summer has led to some setbacks, Hice said.

“Students are key and one of the challenges of trying to put all this together in the summer is that there’s not a lot of students on campus that can work with us on it,” Hice said. “We’ve been working with Student Government, but once it starts rolling out we’ll be more involved with the general population.”

Before becoming the chief marketing officer at USF, Hice previously worked with the University of Florida. Taking what he has learned from his experiences as the chief marketing officer of UF, Hice said he hopes to help develop the sense of pride he experienced at UF.

Some of Hice’s successes at UF included the coining of Florida’s famous “Gator Nation” slogan.

Hice said he hopes USF’s new tagline will help shed light on the many things the university can give students to be proud of.

“USF has great academics and a great campus lifestyle,” Hice said. “I think people are really just starting to understand that and this new campaign will help to make sure people do.”