SAIT embarks on rebranding

Opportunities for student involvement in the lengthy process include surveys and online forums

SAIT last rebranded in 1998 and a lot has changed in those 17 years.

There were around 10,000 full-time students in 1998 and in 2014 there were 15,000.

SAIT’s campus has expanded along with its program offerings, while opportunities for online and international education have become easier.

In response to all these changes, SAIT is currently undergoing a rebranding process to redefine its position in the local and international education market and ensure success in the future.

“We launched a new strategic plan in mid 2014, and as part of the objectives outlined in the strategic plan was modernizing our brand to make sure we are more reflective of who we are and who we are becoming,” said SAIT’s marketing director Carol Rogalski.

The rebranding process began last April and a new visual identity is expected to be released in spring of 2016, and the implementation of the new SAIT brand will correspond with SAIT’s centennial next fall.

“Everything is on the table, except for the name ‘SAIT,’” said Rogalski, although the extent and details of the rebranding are not yet determined.

“The logo will change. No doubt about it.

”Rogalski, who started at SAIT in January, said students benefit from getting involved in the rebranding process by understanding how they personally benefit from their SAIT education and “perhaps for some, more alignment to the brand.

”Students can join the SAIT Insights Community by visiting www.SAITInsights.com and offer input throughout the process, or they can email marketing.research@sait.ca.

Nicole Gerlitz is a senior research analyst at SAIT and said over 1,200 new students signed up for SAIT Insights this year and all information collected through SAIT Insights is utilized.

“We actually use everything we get—whether it is information about a mobile app or whether it is satisfaction about programs—we actually use it.

”As an instructor for a brand management course at SAIT and owner of a brand-management company, David Gaudet understands the importance of creating defined and relevant brands.

“I’m intrigued with what SAIT is doing,” said Gaudet, who has been teaching full-time at SAIT for 12 years.

“It’s probably long overdue, but like everything else in the world of branding, you almost need to let the product work itself through before you decide what your position is, and then you want to brand your position.

”According to Gaudet, SAIT’s rebranding is a response to both local and international markets (such as Mount Royal College becoming a university or the ease of attaining education online) and the process is better defined as repositioning.

“Position is literally what your position is in the market—what your target market thinks of when they think of you,” said Gaudet.

“We have had to reposition as a strategic maneuver.”

Gaudet said the immediate benefit for SAIT is attracting more students and expanding its market share, but current students can also benefit by seeing their alma mater grow and graduates may potentially return to expand their education.

Rebranding is successful if it “creates an experience” for students.

“On the surface, branding is so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things,” said Gaudet.“But it is equally amazing the triggers of little things—what they can do visually, audibly, and the feelings that can be invoked,” he said.

“It’s those subtleties that can flip the world on its head or go totally unnoticed.”

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