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AuthorsLiam McMurray
StakeholdersDigital, IDPS
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Findings

  1. Sporting achievement is as recognised as academic achievement when thinking of the University, as is the historic setting of Bath.
  2. People identify us with the colour 'blue', but our location and the study section of the website mean 'green' is also a strongly associated colour.
  3. The logo is seen as appropriate and historic, and makes us look established.
  4. We are seen as 'ambitious' and 'challenging', with a strong impression of 'community'.
  5. We should take action to promote feelings of 'nurturing', 'responsible', and 'inclusive' as these are existing positive but not widespread sentiments

Discovery

The setup

We have an ongoing project to look at our brand guidelines and develop them into a working best practice. Open day gives us an excellent opportunity to speak to many potential students and their families. I (Unknown User (lm317)) saw June's open day as an ideal chance to carry out some simple user research into what (if any) brand perception people visiting us had.

I worked with Takashi Yonenaga, Richard Box, and other designers on campus to create a short list of questions that we could ask on open day without taking up too much time. These were then worked up into an online survey which could be accessed on iPads on campus.

The questions we agreed on were:
 

  1. What first comes to mind when thinking of the University of Bath?
  2. What colours do you associate with the University of Bath? (white, silver, grey, black, blue, green, lime, yellow, gold, orange, brown, red, pink, purple, other)
  3. What do you think of the University of Bath logo? (Old Fashioned, Established, Elegant, Strong, Smart, Professional, Confusing, Busy/fussy, Messy, Other)
  4. Out of the following list of words, which ones would you strongly associate with the University of Bath? (Ambitious, Arrogant, Inclusive, Challenging, Community, Elitist, Nurturing, Assured, Responsible, Environmental)

  5. Have you seen examples of our current brand, for example a printed prospectus or the website? If so, what did you think?

  6. Any other thoughts about the University of Bath that you'd like to share? 

Some of these were multiple choice, some were open responses.

The results

Over the two days (16/17th June 2016) Richard Box and I interviewed 30 prospective students in and around doing our jobs as open day representatives.

I have analysed the responses and below are the most common ones, as well as any noteworthy outliers.

Most interviews happened either by the lake, at the library, or outside accommodation.

1. What first comes to mind when thinking of the University of Bath?

Nice green campus, an historic city, sporting and academic achievement.

2. What colours do you associate with the University of Bath?

Over half the responses said 'blue', closely followed by 'green'.

3. What do you think of the University of Bath logo?

Of the multiple choice responses, only 'Established' scored highly. Over 50% thought none of the words presented were right and provided their own. Of these, the most common were 'Appropriate' and 'Historic', which I'd suggest are pretty similar in meaning to 'Established'.

4. Out of the following list of words, which ones would you strongly associate with the University of Bath?

Among those asked, we have a strong positive association with these words: "Community", "Ambitious", "Challenging".

Around one in three thought of us as "Nurturing", "Responsible", "Environmental", and "Inclusive". These terms weren't universally picked up, but those that did associate them with Bath did so in a positive way.

Very few thought we may be "Elitist" (1 'yes' and 4 'maybe').

Nobody thought we were "Arrogant" (1 'maybe').

5. Have you seen examples of our current brand, for example a printed prospectus or the website? If so, what did you think?

Thoughts were that the prospectus was colourful and easy to use, the cover was liked but content more important.

The website was also clear and easy to use, but needs more detail on courses.

6. Any other thoughts about the University of Bath that you'd like to share?

This was mostly open day feedback, the main one of which was the small, pretty campus.

Improving the process

With very little setup cost we managed to get an interesting and informative snapshot of views, we will run this again at the next Open Day (September).

  1. Make this a dedicated role on Open Day, so that full attention can be given to it, and we are not leaving other team members short-handed.*
  2. Capture the responses of parents on a separate survey, or capture the fact that you're asking a parent on the original survey.
  3. Reduce open-end answers, as they make it more difficult to capture responses efficiently.**
  4. Make completing all multiple choice answers compulsory.

*Liam is doing this.

**Takashi is doing this.

 

Reference