Mark Thompson
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VCU Department of Music

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VCU DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC

REBRAND & INTEGRATED CAMPAIGN

This is the winning pitch to the VCU Deptartment of Music. They asked us to help them attract more applicants, donors, and concert attendees and we exceeded their expectations with smart strategy and creative.

SUMMARY 

Situation:

The VCU Department of Music is suffering from a lack of awareness within the community, resulting in declining event attendance and student applications.

Insight:

Richmond's art is not loud enough.

Brand Strategy:

The soundtrack of Richmond.

COnsumer Insight:

No matter how talented you are, the decision to become a musician is a difficult one. 

COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY:

Recognize the bravery of those who follow their passion. 

Creative concept:

Our students perform.

MY ROLE 

 

I worked with the strategist to assess the competitive landscape, schedule and conduct interviews, define a target audience, and develop a brand and communications strategy. 

Keep reading for extended strategy or...

 

To get a better idea of the music education world, we spoke with current and prospective students, faculty, and industry professionals. We also toured the department and attended on and off campus performances. 

While attending some of these off campus performances, something surprised us. There was no identifiable VCU Music branding. Most of the people enjoying the music had no idea that VCU Music students were playing.            

"Where else can yoU walk down the street and play jazz besides New Orleans and Chicago? We are a school without walls."
-Tony Garcia, VCU Music PRofessor

 

KEY LEARNINGS

1. Instead of trying to get people to attend on-campus concerts, we need to bring VCU Music out to the city. 

2. Richmond, VA has a very unique arts and music scene, and the opportunities available need to be highlighted.

3. The decision-making process for music students is full of doubt.


INSIGHTS 

 

Richmond's art is not loud enough.  There is a large focus on visual arts in Richmond, but the events catered toward them don't have much happening in the audial space. 

The VCU Department of Music needs to own music in RVA.

No matter how talented you are, the decision to become a musician is a difficult one. There is a misconception that music students will end up with a useless degree. 

Prospective students need reassurance, and current students need affirmation. 

 
 

NEW POSITION

The music hub that RVA deserves. 
 

BRAND STRATEGY

The soundtrack of RVA. 

COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

Recognize the bravery of those who follow their passion. 


CREATIVE CONCEPT

Our students perform. 

 

MANIFESTO

There are things that can’t be taught in a classroom. They can’t be learned by studying a textbook,
and they can’t be taught by taking notes.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be learned.

That’s why we expect our students to do more than just show up to class.
We expect them to perform.
In places where the stage is their classroom, and their success is measured not in grades, but in applause.

To teach them those things that can’t be taught in a classroom. Bravery. Intuition. Passion. Grit.
The things that make our students more than just students. The things that make them musicians.

 

VISUAL IDENTITY

Current Logo 

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New Logo

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Moving away from the colored VCUArts logo allows the Music Department to stand alone as its own entity.

However, the new block logo easily allows for the addition of VCU branding when necessary.

 
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PERFORMANCES

Branded signage, instruments, and coasters let people quickly know who is on stage performing at off campus events.

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PRINT

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DIGITAL

We updated their social presence and redesigned their website to become the go-to spot for anything music-related in Richmond.

We introduced the first Richmond-specific music hub where people can find performances both in and outside the walls of the university from students and professionals alike. 

 
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The brand refresh is also carried through on Instagram where there is now program information in addition to the inside look into the department. 

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PARTNERSHIPS

In order to bring the Department of Music to the city, we reached out to a few organizations and got the conversation started about performing at their spaces and events.

 
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Team
Art Director: GL Richardson
Copywriter: Evan Chiplock
Strategist: Jass Sosa
Experience Designer: Tyler King