On April 27, Motlow State Community College invited students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders to an event on the Moore County campus featuring a brand refresh rollout nationwide. school. Along with a new logo, Motlow State also updated their corporate seal, athletic brand uniforms, slogan, website domain and introduced a new image to represent them, A Motlow Buck with a prominent name.
Updating their marketing and branding was no easy task. According to Motlow State Chairman Dr. Michael Torrence, the rebranding effort has been underway for 5 years. “Since we have a great brand, we need to back it up with great brand assets,” Torrence said. “The reveal we are sharing today is about a new portfolio of brand assets that we will collectively use in our daily work as we continue to drive the great Motlow brand forward.”
“We reviewed a large amount of literature and data which ultimately led to our decision to refresh our brand,” said Dr. Terri Bryson, Vice President of External Affairs at Motlow. “Additionally, we conducted numerous surveys and focus groups, collecting the views of over 2,000 participants.”
LOGO AND SEAL
Retaining the overall shape and color scheme of the original logo, Motlow’s new logo is described as “an ‘M’ established by uniting elements representing the diverse group of students, faculty, staff, parties Motlow stakeholders and community”.
As for the Motlow State seal, the graphics have been reworked and modernized. According to a press release, Motlow’s first official seal reflected 20th-century ambitions. It is a mixture of available resources. It reflects the tradition found in a central hand-written ‘M’, mixed with a black and white line drawing known as clip art. The new seal honors Motlow’s rural beginnings while highlighting avenues of growth for their students.
“Over time, the elements that make up the seal have changed to reflect changes in college programming and focus. Expanding programming, technological innovations, growth in the number of campuses, inclusive goals, and a demonstrated commitment to diversity have gone beyond the core of the seal’s original design. There simply wasn’t enough space within the existing seal frame to convey the depth and breadth of Motlow’s story,” said Ramona Shelton, former chair of the Motlow Faculty Council, who led the academic collaboration that developed the College’s new seal.
ATHLETIC BRAND AND UNIFORMS
Motlow Baseball athletic director and coach Dan McShea explained that athletics were central to the rebranding efforts. “Over the years, our brand has dispersed. We wanted cohesion in our program. While we needed an updated Buck image, we also wanted a custom font that was strong, unique, and would help build our brand; something that would make our fans proud to wear the brand and be a Buck,” McShea said.
SIGNAL (‘stride mark’)
“As the design team worked to ensure optimized readability and high-quality content, they kept coming back to the idea of using an ancillary element for visual cohesion,” said Dane Norman, president of the Motlow Student Government Association (SGA). The College’s SGA played a valuable role in this process.
“Motlow is a journey-centric institution. The visual artifact that was first generated as a graphic element to balance team blocks resonated with students as iconic art that spoke to a much larger part of our narrative. . We have seen the image of a lane in the design. It became a great solution for athletics, and we even chose the name for it,” Norman announced. “An SGA focus group resonated with the premise of a journey. Dozens of words were considered. Some real, some fabrications, and even impregnations of both. In the end, we settled on something representative of the road that all students must travel. Developing a name for the element also inspired us to come up with a new slogan for the College: Stride Forward.
To coincide with the new look, Motlow State also updated its website domain name to more accurately reflect what people search for online and remember when they hear about the college. Using relevant and branded words greatly increases Motlow’s chances of ranking well in search engines.
“College brand research incorporated thousands of voices from across the service area. We listened to elected officials, community leaders, residents, employees, and most importantly, we listened to current and prospective students. Shorter usually seems better, but in this case the data suggests that shorter was not always helpful. What we learned from the research was that the MSCC was confusing,” said Motlow Chief Information Officer Carlos Padilla. “We compared ourselves to our sister community colleges and other higher education institutions and found that many of them had already migrated to use obvious domain names, which yielded better results.”
Changing a college’s domain name is a major undertaking. Until recently, colleges and universities were only allowed to have one “.edu” domain name.
“Fortunately, Educause, the nonprofit association for information technology in education that assigns and controls .edu domain names, has observed the growing need for many colleges to change this practice and has voted to allow colleges to register two domain names,” Padilla explained. “We are delighted with this change as it allows us to respond to all the data we have found in our market research. So, as part of the rollout of our brand renewal, we are very pleased to announce that our portfolio branding now includes a new web address for our college: Motlow.edu.”
REAGOR THE BUCK
As a final reveal, Executive Vice President for Business and Finance, Hilda Tunstill talked about a brand new addition to the Motlow brand assets. She explained the importance Senator Reagor Motlow played in founding Motlow State Community College. Reagor Motlow and his family gifted the 187-acre Moore County campus that would become Motlow and was integral to its development.
“Reagor was considered so central to the mission of establishing our college that our identity became indelibly tied to his family and his leadership in 1967 when the Tennessee State Legislature named the new institution of higher education community as Motlow State Community College,” Tunstill explained. “In keeping with our founding persona, our early leaders also instilled in us a magnificent symbolism of strength, agility and poise under pressure by naming us The Bucks. We have proudly and collectively been known as The Bucks for over Turning 50. For the first time in our College’s history, our iconic Buck bears a name that ensures Motlow’s magnificent origin story continues to carry over to our future chapters of success.
For more information, visit www.Motlow.edu.