University Launches Comprehensive Brand Initiative

A brown bag luncheon to discuss St. Thomas’ efforts to develop a comprehensive brand strategy for the university will be held at noon on Thursday, Feb. 5, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on the St. Paul campus.

Kimberly Motes, senior vice president of institutional advancement, is leading the branding initiative and will be joined at the luncheon by Barrie D’Rozario DiLorenzo, a Minneapolis-based advertising and marketing agency that is working with the university. The luncheon will be simulcast to room 252 in Terrence Murphy Hall on the Minneapolis campus.

The branding project falls within the parameters of “Enhanced Visibility and Profile,” one of the eight priorities of the university’s new strategic plan. The priority calls for St. Thomas to “improve our marketing and branding strategy to bolster public recognition and visibility across all of our academic programs.” Recognizing the crucial role that branding plays in other areas of the strategic plan and in marketing the university, planning for the branding initiative was initiated last summer.

President Julie Sullivan and Motes said the project will accomplish the following:

  • Provide greater understanding of the St. Thomas brand and clarity for how we are perceived
  • Refresh and evolve the comprehensive brand to create an overall institutional brand that can house sub-brands for schools/colleges, centers, departments and programs
  • Focus our efforts to market and communicate in a cohesive manner
  • Create a shared understanding and consistency in our marketing
  • Execute the brand through marketing, messaging, positioning and graphics

“The university has great momentum as we launch new initiatives to achieve the goals of our strategic plan," Sullivan said. “This is an exciting time, and it is a priority for us to be able to convey the impact of a St. Thomas education as compellingly and consistently as possible.”

In August, Motes established a working group with representatives from across the St. Thomas community. Thirteen firms – both local and national – received requests for proposals from St. Thomas. Eight responded and the working group evaluated them for fit, experience, qualifications, process and cost. The working group made a recommendation to Sullivan, who made the final selection.

Barrie D’Rozario DiLorenzo (BD’D) is an independent, full-service agency based in Minneapolis, with offices in Chicago and San Francisco. Recognized in 2009 as the “Best Small Agency in the U.S.” by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, BD’D has earned the trust of a roster of blue chip clients. For more information, visit

All three leaders at BD’D have substantial, stellar experience and will serve as principals on the creative team for St. Thomas:

  • Kevin DiLorenzo, president and director of client services and brand strategy, is a 1988 St. Thomas alumnus and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors. DiLorenzo is a seasoned brand strategist with significant agency experience working with numerous clients; notably, he led the University of Minnesota “Driven to Discover” brand campaign and has worked with Rice University and the University of Virginia.
  • Bob Barrie, executive creative director, is a 30-year veteran in advertising. He has been voted to ADWEEK’s All-Star Creative team five times and has won a record 43 pencils at The One Show.
  • Stuart D’Rozario is chief executive officer and chief creative officer. His numerous accolades include the Grand Prix and Gold Lions at Cannes, an Emmy Award nomination, Gold Effies and five films in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. His work has been featured for copywriting craft in British D&AD.

“Having an internationally respected branding firm as BD’D leading this process will bring us a result that is forward-facing yet grounded in the pillars of this university,” Motes said. “It is rare that you find the right firm through a national search that also has an alum perspective. With Kevin DiLorenzo involved, I feel even more confident that the results will be authentic to the university.”

BD’D has divided the scope of work into six phases, to be finished by mid-2015:

  • Discovery: research, interviews, focus groups and on-campus observation
  • Brand strategy development: build a brand position and a value proposition
  • Creative concepts: preview how the visual elements of the St. Thomas brand could evolve
  • Go-to-market plan: propose how best to reach our target audiences
  • Brand rollout plan: how to communicate the components of an updated brand
  • Final visuals: review and approve the visual side of a brand

For this effort to be successful, the involvement and support of the St. Thomas community is important. Interviews, focus groups and surveys – as part of the discovery phase – will play a large part in that response. The Feb. 5 brown bag lunch will be facilitated by Motes and representatives from BD'D to gain additional perspective from the campus community. As updates on the branding initiative become available, they will appear in the Newsroom.

Branding Initiative Working Group

Kimberly Motes, Institutional Advancement, working group chair
John Bannigan, Development
Jane Beauchamp, IRT
Peter Breuch, University Relations
Craig Bryan, Elected faculty representative, College of Arts and Sciences
Michael Cogan, Office for Institutional Effectiveness
Julie Gacnik, Marketing, Academic Affairs
Kathryn Hasslinger, Student representative
Doug Hennes, University Relations
Karen Lange, Student Affairs
Stefanie Lenway, Dean representative, Opus College of Business
John Mau, University Relations
Kate Metzger, University Relations
Dan Meyer, Enrollment Services
Meg Nodzon ’99, Alumni representative
Richard Plumb, Office of the Provost
Steve Vuolo, Elected faculty representative, Opus College of Business
Wendy Wyatt, Faculty and Department Chair, College of Arts and Sciences
Mark Zesbaugh, Board of Trustees
Liz Zupfer, Alumni Association