Do we really need another rebrand?
Online Editor-in-Chief, Jamie Speka, comments on the rebrand and priorities of the Guild.
Reminiscing on the last university year circulates memories of teacher strikes, cost of living, a lack of robust well-being facilities, and marking boycotts. Moving further back, one is reminded of the generally inaccessible campus prices; a confusingly drawn-out, exhaustive freshers’ fair (or welcome week) coming in Autumn; and the persistent lack of student interest in Guild proceedings.
“Thank goodness, another rebrand” is not a string of words I have heard among students following the Guild rebranding from black to orange. This follows the University’s rebrand from the previous year which, has been met with similar exclamations of, well, indifference.
In Spring 2022, the Guild released their new strategy to reorganise and rebrand their image. A year and three months later, the colour orange along with a snazzy new font and an exclamation point thrown into the mix is the final product. Outgoing Guild President, Lily Margaroli’s hope is that this will “play a big part in engaging more of our students in the work that we do.”
Creating a more youthful feel in brands is a notion that both the University and Guild have been crafting in recent years. The 18th-month-long University rebrand describe the previous logo as “outdated” and the University’s social media team stated that “it was starting to hold us back”.
A slew of questions arise about the rebrand. The first reckon with whether the Guild even needs a marketing strategy. As an effective monopoly (there is no other student’s union) it has no need to win students from other competitors the way businesses do. Nevertheless, the Guild still needs to pull engagement in–something that the Guild has been lacking as one could be reminded of the abysmal voter turnout in the last Guild elections. A branding reboot can have its merits. Curating a cohesive feel of any institution is important to growth–yet, in the midst of these rebrands, significant issues have been facing student life. Is this rebrand the best way to have students recognise the Guild’s legitimacy?
It is perplexing–to say the least–that the Guild is remedying these problems by slapping on a rebrand instead of working within these entities to meet a larger population of students.
A fair amount of construction could boost the Guild and students believe this comes from services that actually boost students. Students comment to Exeposé that engagement is lacking primarily in student advice (Guild Support Services) and voice (Guild elections, advisory boards, surveys). It is perplexing–to say the least–that the Guild is remedying these problems by slapping on a rebrand instead of working within these entities to meet a larger population of students. Let’s do away with the inbox-cluttering outreach that is clearly not working. Instead, knock down the red tape, walk onto campus, and speak to students like friends. Sure, the Guild is an institution, but it’s one that is meant to be on equal footing with the students of Exeter, so start acting like it.
Concerns over pricing are also rife. The Guild states that the rebrand costs £70k which is split strategically over two years (£45 and £20k respectively). These are funds that arguably could be better spent on mitigating society membership prices, cost-of-living troubles, and in advocating overall student well-being and satisfaction.
Of course, the Student’s Guild does not have the power to completely solve issues that are formulated by the University, but hiding behind the cop-out that the Guild does not have enough power is exactly the issue.
Of course, the Student’s Guild does not have the power to completely solve issues that are formulated by the University, but hiding behind the cop-out that the Guild does not have enough power is exactly the issue. More resources to support teacher strikes and the marking uncertainty that falls on students, more investigations into the University itself and what needs to be done better, and simply taking to campus grounds, hanging up officer titles for a moment, and conversing with students. The Guild has an incredible ability to funnel more of its funds to campaigns for change that will have a profound impact on the students of Exeter.