A study commissioned by UM's new President Seth Bodnar found that the University of Montana needs to “immediately address its lack of brand identity.” The Montana Kaimin has recently rebranded as well, and we think we have valuable expertise we want to share in order to assist UM through this transition and help the University create a brand that really resonates with prospective students.
1. "Bros, Beer and Birds"
This fits nicely with UM’s already available assets. There are plenty of bros on campus already: frat bros, forestry bros, poet bros, science bros, bro bros and numerous other types of diverse, prestigious bros. Bros could lead campus tours, or campus tours could highlight the different types of bros each new student has the potential to become. If the prospective student isn’t male? Not to worry, the University of Montana is an inclusive environment where ANYONE can become a bro. UM already has its own beer, so that part is taken care of, and there are a lot of birds in Missoula, so those aspects of the brand also fit in nicely with the already unique aesthetic of campus.
2. “Industrial Shabby-Chic”
This brand is partially inspired by the remodeling of the new University Center Market. We’ll emphasize UM’s commitment to sustainability by using reclaimed wood and shiplap to remodel almost every building on campus while also replacing every floor with poured concrete. We’ll also knock down most of the classroom walls to give our spaces a more open floor plan and paint literally everything an infinitely nicer shade of off-white — even things that probably shouldn’t be painted, like desks, lab equipment and library books. Chip and Joanna Gaines will be hired as our brand consultants, and will appear on University promotional materials. Even Seth Bodnar is already kind of shabby-chic. Maybe instead of wearing a suit, he can wear a flannel and our transformation into a “cozy, yet modern country campus” will be complete.
3. “Late '90s and early 2000s Space Stuff”
This suggestion plays off the current climate of stress and turmoil, and the desire of young people to go back to a simpler time. Going to the University of Montana should feel like living in Pizza Planet from "Toy Story". Our school colors will be changed from maroon and silver to purple and neon green, the colors of all space-themed things. All regular lights will be replaced with black lights or neon, and all professors will dress like Buzz Lightyear or just wear brightly colored, weirdly layered spandex. There will be no homework, only that space pinball game you played as a kid when your family’s internet wasn’t working. Best of all, we will emphasize our atmosphere of achievement by changing the University’s motto from Lux et Veritas to Ad infinitum, et Ultra, which translates as “To Infinity and Beyond.”
As any college student knows, figuring out exactly who you are is a difficult and sometimes years-long process. But the Kaimin sincerely hopes our suggestions will help the University find the right direction for itself and its students.