University of Leeds: Leeds University Business School
Strategic re-alignment of the Business School brand
Leeds University Business School (LUBS) is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world (QS rankings 2023) and is a member of the UK's Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The School delivers undergraduate, masters, MBA, PhD, executive and professional education and online study for over 5,000 students from around 100 countries. It is also one of a small number of business schools worldwide to be triple accredited by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS.
While the School had become a leading choice for home and international students, the competitive landscape had evolved since the LUBS brand was last reviewed. The best of the rest had developed strong brands supported by clear and compelling messaging. Here was an opportunity to refresh the brand, define a unique position in the market and give clear reasons why students, businesses and research councils should consider LUBS first.
We embarked on a process of discovery, auditing competitor schools and interviewing stakeholder groups, including students, staff and business partners. A common theme that emerged was the accelerating pace of change in the world – economic, societal and environmental. Students and professionals wanted to know, not only how to adapt to change, but also how to realise the opportunities it presents. This insight became the basis for a new brand proposition – Creating opportunity in a world of change. From here, we created a messaging framework to address key audiences and make the proposition relevant to students, staff, large corporates, SMEs, research councils and policy-makers.
In developing the visual identity, a central challenge was how to create a distinctive identity for the Business School while remaining faithful to the University of Leeds identity. This connection was important, as the reputation of the Business School is inextricably linked to that of the University of Leeds. To achieve this, we retained the key elements of the University identity but shifted the emphasis of the colour palette, introducing coral and white as the dominant colours for modernity and dynamism. We also introduced a new graphic element, representing change and progress, as well as a photographic style to reflect pluralism – the diversity of experiences, ideas and opinions across the School.
So far, the new brand identity has been defined in a set of comprehensive guidelines which include an introduction to the brand purpose and proposition, as well as guidance over colour, typography, photography and tone of voice.