Brand architecture

What is brand architecture?

Brand architecture describes the ways that the different parts of the organisation identify themselves relative to the University. In our case, how we structure and name our Faculties, schools, research centres, initiatives and controlled entities. It helps us to be clear about who we are in everything we say and do.

We have one brand: The University of Newcastle.

This is represented by our logo and is used as an umbrella for all our activities. This section explains our brand architecture principles and how our Faculties, schools, research centres, initiatives and controlled entities should be presented.

The University of Newcastle has a complex brand architecture. In considering how our brand strategy should be brought to life in brand architecture, we had to take into account the needs of Faculties, schools, research centres (both those wholly run by the University and joint/collaborative ventures), business partnerships and sub brands.

Our approach to brand architecture

We start from the premise that, unless there are sound marketing or commercial reasons not to do so, most parts of the organization will be strongly identified with the University of Newcastle.

Our brand architecture model defines four levels of activities:

  • core activities
  • sub brands
  • co branding
  • stand alone brands

Core activities

Core brand activities, literally, are central to what we do and everything we expect a university to provide: The output of our Facilities, schools, individual degrees and services (both online and campus based).

Priority Research Centres

The Priority Research Centres are core activities of the University of Newcastle and we wish to ensure that they enhance the reputation of the University in everything that they do. They do not have their own logos but are identified prominently in type on stationery, marketing communications and signage (where appropriate).

Sub brands

A sub brand may not be a core product of the university or there may be marketing or commercial reasons why it's not branded University of Newcastle:

  • there may be negatives to being the University of Newcastle in a segment
  • it may be targeted at a specific segment that the University of Newcastle has difficulty reaching
  • it may represent a specialist area outside the brand's core competencies.

Ownership is not the issue here.

Sub brands build on the strength of the University brand. In stationery and marketing communications, individual sub brands will be the heroes of the communication but the University logo will be positioned prominently.

Sub brands with multiple partners

Many research centres have reputations built on partnerships between the University of Newcastle and other strong brands and we wish to ensure that we preserve the strength of these entities.

Most ARC research centres, for example, will be sub brands endorsed by the University of Newcastle brand. That means, in stationery and marketing communications the ARC Centres will be the heroes of the communication but the University logo (together with that of other partners) will be positioned prominently, usually to the left of other partners' logos.

Co branding - The University of Newcastle

Co branding is when two or more brands are used in support of a new product, service or venture. We've developed some principles to define the visual relationship with our external partners and supporters at different levels of participation.

The Central Coast campus and HMRI are examples of co branded activities.

The Central Coast campus is jointly managed and jointly branded with our business partner TAFE. In this case, both partner logos are positioned alongside each other in campus marketing communications.

HMRI has its own name and identity that recognises a three-way partnership between The University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Area Health and the community.

Stand alone brands

A stand alone brand is an activity that is wholly owned by the university, but gains no benefit from being endorsed by the university brand. That may be because:

  • it's outside the university's core activities
  • it may address an audience that is totally separate from the university
  • there may be legal reasons why we can't trade as the University of Newcastle in a particular sector.

How should these brand architecture principles be applied?

You should feel confident that your needs will be covered by one or other of the examples provided here.

Talk to Marketing and Public Relations. They will provide you with templates and will advise you on your particular situation and application.

Brand Architecture