The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

University rebranding: Introducing two new reasons to attend the U of S

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Any huskies spotted on campus in the past have traditionally been associated with the Huskies Athletics program. This year, however, the University of Saskatchewan is incorporating the mascot into their marketing campaign to invite students to get “With the Pack.”

The university is rolling out two new marketing campaigns: “With the Pack” and “Be What the World Needs.” The first campaign targets current U of S students to provide a sense of community and to boost student engagement. The hashtag can be found on social media attached to photos of student activities. A highlight of the campaign is the promotional video released on Aug. 28, 2019, featuring two husky puppies on campus.

Gord Hunchak, chief communications officer for the U of S, says the “With the Pack” branding campaign brings a change to the university’s usual marketing strategies.

“Traditionally, USask has been somewhat reserved in its approach to branding with a focus on the campus, the university’s heritage and the programs offered,” Hunchak wrote in an email to the Sheaf. “The messaging utilizing the husky puppies was to add a new level of fun, warmth and friendliness to the campus community.”  

Whereas the “Be What the World Needs” campaign targets a more international audience. This campaign is focused on enhancing the reputation and profile of the university both domestically and internationally.  

Hunchak says the “Be What the World Needs” platform is meant to change the public perception of the U of S.  

“The new ‘Be What The World Needs’ brand platform is being developed to tell this USask story to the world — a world-class, research-intensive university with graduates and game-changing research having a significant positive impact not only here in Saskatchewan, but across the globe,” Hunchak said. 

“If successful, the brand platform will change the University of Saskatchewan conversation internally and externally, building our reputation and profile, locally, nationally and internationally.”

Hunchak believes the “Be What the World Needs” platform will likely impact student recruitment.

“With an enhanced reputation comes increased interest by students, faculty, researchers and donors, so the expectation will be a positive impact on student recruitment, domestically and internationally, and the same for faculty, research funding and donations, over the long-term,” Hunchak said. 

Both campaigns are part of the U of S’s growing digital presence. Hunchak says the university sees the benefits of digital marketing as a “flexible, responsive, targeted and cost-effective” tool.

“The only challenge with utilizing digital marketing is to ensure we stay current in a rapidly-changing digital landscape, and continue to understand where our audiences are,” Hunchak said. “The use of digital media will continue to grow in prominence at USask. That being said … traditional media continues to have an audience.”

The transition to the new branding platform will roll out gradually over the last half of 2019. As to why the U of S made the decision to rebrand this year, Hunchak says the University Plan 2025, released last year, was an opportunity to change the university’s image.

“‘The University the World Needs’ has the potential to redefine the perceptions, expectations and reputation of the University of Saskatchewan,” Hunchak said. “The university has been a world-leading university for decades; it’s time to let the world know about it.”

Rebecca Tweidt

Photo: Photographed by Jacob Straat. Supplied by Guillermo Galvan-Gracia.

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