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Issue 1843 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Op-Ed: Strengthening Imperial's Brand

The new brand differentiates Imperial in a crowded and competitive landscape, says President Hugh Brady

Hugh Brady


in Issue 1843

Hugh Brady is the President of Imperial College London. He leads Imperial’s strategy and its links to government, industry, philanthropists, and alumni. As Chief Executive of the College, the President is Imperial’s principal academic and administrative officer.

For over a century, Imperial students, staff and alumni have been at the forefront of scientific discovery, pushing boundaries and delivering real-world impact. It’s these individuals that made Imperial the education and research powerhouse, and beacon of innovation it is today.

The institutional Strategy we launch on 5th March will set out how we take this to the next level to maximise our potential as a force for good in the world. Of direct relevance to our Strategy launch is how we tell Imperial’s story and present our plans to the world.

In a noisy, competitive and changing world, we cannot assume that Imperial’s brilliance will speak for itself.

During our highly engaging institutional conversation on our new Strategy, I was struck by how many of our community urged that we tell our Imperial story with more confidence. This was not a shallow appeal to inflate our worth to the world, but a heartfelt request to garner the recognition Imperial is due with the ultimate goal of inspiring others to join us, partner with us, back us and invest in us.

As a relative newcomer to Imperial, I had to agree! Imperial is a fantastic institution, but perhaps overly modest. These things matter. In a noisy, competitive and changing world, we cannot assume that Imperial’s brilliance will speak for itself.

Our new Strategy sets out our future ambition and our work to strengthen Imperial’s brand – how we tell and represent our story – supports this effort. It should deliver multiple benefits, from helping to attract the best talent, funding and partnerships, to strengthening our global reputation and ranking. Ultimately, it should help us compete on a sustainable basis in the very top tier internationally.

But what do we mean by the Imperial brand?

It is best described as the sum total of everything people see, hear and experience of Imperial. The experience people have when they visit our campuses, or our website, our choice of partners, the focus of our research, how we talk about it – all of these and more shape what our university means to people.

The Imperial brand is much more than a shade of blue, a logo or a tagline, though these elements are important. That is why we have developed a visual and verbal identity, rooted in our science heritage, that is modern, confident, and expressive. Both elements articulate Imperial’s purpose and vision, our strengths and impact, all while seeking to differentiate us in a crowded and competitive landscape. Our official crest and institutional name remain unchanged, but other elements have evolved, as they do over time for most organisations no matter how modern or ancient.

A huge thank you to the thousands of students, staff, alumni and friends who shared their ideas and feedback at multiple stages throughout the development of this work – whether through survey responses and focus groups at the very start of the process last summer, or through feedback sessions and online responses to the initial creative in the autumn. The level of engagement was testament to our community’s ambition, creativity, diversity and commitment to Imperial’s future.

I hope as many of you as possible can join us for our Strategy launch on 5th March.

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