During SY2022-23, the TAS Communications Office will pursue a monthly series helping to prepare the TAS community for the launch of a new branding initiative, in accordance with the TAS strategic plan.
By Lindsey Kundel, Director of Communications & Marketing
What is a brand? And why is the school talking so much about its brand this year? Shouldn’t its brand just be its mission?
These are crucially important questions for every Tiger to think about this year and beyond, and not just because the School is taking on work in this area as part of the Strategic Plan.
A brand is, essentially, the way a company is perceived by those who experience it. It isn’t just about what an organization does (although that’s certainly part of the equation); it’s about how a person feels about that organization. One of my favorite quotes about branding is that a brand is what people say about that company or organization at a dinner party to people who aren’t affiliated with a brand. It’s how people describe it when they think no one from that company is listening.
The TAS brand has gone through significant changes over time, even without people from my office getting involved! We have 73 years of history, and 73 years of millions of perceptions that influence how people have felt and continue to feel about our school.
Our perceptions of TAS are built not just by lived experience or interaction with this institution but also with people, when they are on and off duty, and even by rumors and gossip. Every time we interact with this school – through its physical campus, digital footprint, or through interactions with people (including students, alumni, employees, parents, and past parents), our own individual interpretation of what the “TAS Brand” is becoming a little more solidified.
So how do you begin to “change” a brand? Can you even change a brand, or is that all marketing mumbo jumbo?
The answer is complicated! We can’t just wave a magic wand and instantly change a brand. A brand changes as a result of people changing, as a result of our campus changing, and as a result of daily interactions. Brands change naturally without any outside influence.
While the school has a responsibility to oversee and monitor its brand, as this represents how people feel about us as an organization, we cannot force people to change how they think or feel about TAS. When our community feels good about the work that we are doing, we are better able to achieve our mission as a school community.
Over the last 73 years, the school’s brand has changed, and changed, and changed some more – and this is both natural and something to celebrate. We are a learning community, and, as such, we learn, and implement changes, and then learn some more. We pursue progress, and we do not shy away from the process of making a positive change in our community. We aren’t afraid to try, fail, and try again.
Our branding work this year is not just about changing perceptions – it is about understanding perceptions, historical and current. It is about articulating who we are AND who we want to be.
Our logo, fonts, colors, and other visual identity features have changed MANY times over the last 73 years. I hope that you enjoy the walk down memory lane included below, filled with images taken from many different school publications and yearbooks.
As we look to the past, we need to remember that brand and logo, while related, aren’t synonymous. We have physical evidence that our logo has changed multiple times over the last seven decades – but there is less tangible evidence of how our brand and reputation have changed over time. How did your grandparents feel about TAS when it was first founded? How did that perception change over time? How do you feel about TAS over the last decade or so? And how do you feel about the direction it is currently headed in?
It is an exciting time to be affiliated with the TAS community.
Even if you have not gotten involved in much of our branding conversations over the last year, the moral of the story is that you can (and already are) involved in creating and constructing the TAS brand through your everyday interactions. Thank you for being a TAS brand ambassador!
I’d like to end today with a few short trivia questions that I’ll answer in next month’s post. Feel free to send me your guesses at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the individuals with the most correct answers will receive some soon-to-be-limited-edition TAS merchandise from my office!
- What are our school's current brand colors? (This is a harder question than you might think!)
- What are our school’s current brand fonts?
- What is the name of our mascot?
- When is TAS's birthday?
- When did we move to our present-day campus?
- How many logos do we currently have?
- What is our current "tagline"?
- When was our current logo adopted?
- When was the last time the school went through a complete website renovation?
- How many approved Tiger images are in our current style guide?