Q & A about Wentworth’s Updated Logo and Brand

There have been questions about why Wentworth launched a new brand, including the updating of our logos. Here are the answers:

Why an updated brand?
All colleges and universities are facing an existential crisis in the next 10 years. The number of high school students in Wentworth’s primary service area is expected to drop by nearly 25 percent due to the decline in the birthrate following the 2008 Great Recession. Additionally, many families are skeptical about the value of education as the cost of a college degree increases. Fortunately, Wentworth’s high-demand majors and hands-on education are what the world and employers need right now. However, Wentworth suffers from low brand awareness nationally (6 percent overall and 2 percent among women) and misperceptions that it is a 2-year vocational tech school. Those universities who are nimble and build their reputations around offering high-value learning will survive. The new brand—encompassing a strong positioning statement; updated graphics, photography and video; and an active promotional campaign—builds awareness about Wentworth’s genuine value in a way that appeals to students and parents and distinguishes us from our competitors. It is essential to our survival and ability to thrive in the future.

Are you getting rid of the shield?
No. The shield, which is based on the family crest of Arioch Wentworth (our founder), is not going anywhere. It’s been updated for better digital translation and to bring out the objects in the symbol – the chevron which symbolizes protection and the leopards which are symbols of bravery and courage in the face of danger. It will remain our official seal and will continue to appear on diplomas, stationery and across campus. As was the case at MIT, the shield is part of our history, but we are putting a new rendition of the W forward to symbolize our future. 

What happened to the old W?
The old, 5-factors W has morphed into the new Onward and Upward W to better reflect Wentworth’s active-learning model in which students are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and make an immediate difference in the world. The 5-factors W did not reflect our genuine strength nor was it memorable. The Onward and Upward W evolved through nearly 80 designs and was extensively tested among current and prospective students. It was rated the most appealing by our target audience. To reflect Wentworth’s close ties to employers through the CO-OP program, track record for graduating career-ready students and desire to differentiate Wentworth from traditional universities known for their slowness to change (resting on their laurels), we chose a logo that communicates action, professionalism and agility. 

What about the University of Now tagline?
The tagline derived from extensive research, discussions and testing to determine Wentworth’s brand positioning. Watch this video on our brand positioning

What was the process for getting to the new brand and graphic identity?
The year-long process combined traditional attitude and awareness research with design-thinking techniques and agile iterative testing, which are taught extensively in Wentworth’s Industrial Design program, Accelerate and throughout other areas of the university. (Read a complete review of the process.) Below is a chart of the timeline. 

Marketing and Communication staff particularly enjoyed fanning out with prototypes and testing them with current students. Based on the results from the comprehensive process, we believe we’ve hit upon a very strong brand position for Wentworth and expression of the brand that will play a major role in building the Institute’s reputation. 

How will you know if it’s successful?
The team will be able to track its success through digital advertising impressions, pageviews and clicks, as well as a follow-up brand awareness and attitude survey once enough time has passed to measure its impact. 

How can I support the brand?
The most important thing that you can do is reflect upon why you are at Wentworth and what you’ve gained from the experience and share that with others. Person-to-person referral is the most powerful form of marketing. It brings tremendous credibility to the brand. 

I have some comments or questions, who do I talk to?
Feel free to write to marketing@wit.edu or call or write to me at davism15@wit.edu or 617-929-4501. I welcome the opportunity to talk about the efforts and to hear your feedback. 
Michelle Davis
Chief Marketing Officer