Branding study hopes to improve MCTC’s image


Photo credit: Benjamin Pecka

MCTC has signed a contract with Capsule, a strategic brand design agency based out of the warehouse district in Minneapolis, for their branding study that is underway.

The request for proposal (RFP) for the brand identity study was publicized in September 2017.

Deanna Sheeley, Chief Communications Officer, referred to the RFP process (which is public information) as a way of avoiding nepotism and allowing for the proposal to be put out for vendors to respond to.

Nine vendors responded to the proposal at drastically varying price ranges and Capsule was chosen by the college based on criteria and cost. MCTC will internally conduct some of the study to curb these costs.

Multiple goals are outlined in the RFP and include the possibility of updating the college’s wordmark, logo, graphics, tagline and name. The listed objectives include increasing student enrollment and retention, strengthening partnerships, developing aspirational, yet accurate and believable, brand promises, among others.

“Branding strategies should be somewhat aspirational. They have to be rooted in truth. This is a good check-in to see how good are we doing at fulfilling our mission, vision, and values, based on what all of our stakeholders tell us and think of us,” Sheeley said.

The names listed as the target audience on the RFP are: prospective students, parents, families, and gatekeepers who guide the decisions of students, current students, faculty and staff, alumni, residents of MCTC’s service area and the greater metro area, community and business leaders, elected officials, industry partners, and related state agencies, campus visitors and philanthropic donors.

The study has implemented multiple methods of surveying these target audiences to discover the perception of the college’s brand.

So far, the school has utilized focus groups (which includes the President’s Council, Cedar-Riverside, MCTC staff, and a large amalgam of business/industry partners, like Hennepin County, among others), interviews between Capsule and individuals (involving staff members such as those in the bookstore, student affairs, teachers and other staff), and other methods that include an electronic survey that is available to all (including students and high school counselors) and has received over 400 responses as of Nov. 22.

According to Sheeley, the last branding study at MCTC was a naming study that took place in 2006.

“Phil [Davis, former president of MCTC] reported in response to his request of the faculty to consider the proposal to change the name of the college to Minneapolis College, the faculty reached an impasse. Therefore, the current college name will remain, and he will not present the proposal to the MnSCU board of trustees,” Sheely said.

The branding survey is still open as of Nov. 28 and the study will continue through the semester and beyond.