April 02, 2013

UAB launches first unified branding campaign

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For the first time, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has unified its academic and medical brands in a new campaign under a common tagline: “UAB: Knowledge that will change your world.

“I believe this phrase captures the very DNA of UAB,” UAB President Ray L. Watts said. “It also speaks equally to each facet of our mission: the education of our students, who are exposed to multidisciplinary learning and a new world of diversity; our research, the creation of new knowledge; our patient care, the outcome of ‘bench-to-bedside’ translational knowledge; our service to the community at home and around the globe, from free clinics in local neighborhoods to the transformational experience of the arts; and the economic development of our city and state.”

The campaign, which begins with advertising on TV, radio, social media and billboards, will feature prominently on UAB websites.

“The importance of having a clear, recognizable brand cannot be overstated,” Watts said. “In an environment as complex as UAB, a brand will help unify, simplify and define us. It will also help elevate our profile with the greater public as we communicate our relevance and value.”

Communicating the breadth and depth of that relevance and value – in an institution that affects more than 60,000 jobs statewide, has an annual economic impact exceeding $5 billion and is responsible for educating students and making groundbreaking discoveries, as well as saving and improving lives – posed a special challenge to the team leading the branding effort. 

A 60 second TV spot that will air for the first time on April 2 is an example of how that challenge is being met. To give the audience a hint of UAB’s reach and influence, the spot includes scenes in UAB Hospital, the Egyptian desert, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, D.C., Sterne Library, an engineering lab and outer space.

UAB Director of Marketing Erin Tapp says the institution has diverse messages to convey and diverse audiences to reach.

“UAB has thousands of incredible stories,” Tapp said. “Our challenge is to distill those into messages that catch people’s attention and motivate them to action, whether that’s a high school senior, a legislator or a potential UAB patient, faculty member or researcher.”

The goal of the branding campaign is to “focus extra attention on what makes UAB such a special place,” Watts said. “As we work together to become one of the nation’s most dynamic and productive universities, we must share our aims and accomplishments with the world around us.”

This is especially important as UAB enters a major new fund raising campaign in fall 2013, notes Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D., vice president for development, alumni and external relations at UAB.

“When we meet with people in Birmingham, Alabama and around the country, they are tremendously excited about what we are doing here at UAB,” says Kahn. “The more that people learn about this great institution, the more opportunities we have to share with them how their investment can help us make a difference in bringing better health, quality of life and prosperity to our families and neighbors.”