An online survey seeks input from the Miami community regarding the university logo and the website name.
Below is the memo asking for feedback sent by President David Hodge in an email Monday, April 23.
TO: Miami Campus Community
RE: University logo and website name change survey
Over the past few weeks, we have been testing ideas related to Miami’s identity. We have conducted focus groups and online surveys and talked with groups ranging from students to guidance counselors. In those discussions, we received some great feedback about Miami and suggestions for how we can become more prominent in a crowded higher education marketplace. The university’s logo and web domain name emerged as foundational to that objective.
In a series of focus groups composed of people with no connection to Miami, only 6% could identify Miami via the lantern logo while 68% of the respondents recognized the red, beveled “M” logo as Miami. The feedback was so consistent that we believe we should begin using the “M” logo as our primary mark as soon as possible. Unifying the university behind one symbol makes sound economic sense and the “M” is so strongly recognized by our audiences it will enhance visibility and continue to build a stronger identity over time. The “M” is also a historic mark, with a first version of it used on academic catalogs more than 100 years ago.
In addition, our web domain name — www.muohio.edu — generated a strongly negative reaction, with groups indicating it simply makes no sense for Miami. Our web consultants have stressed the importance of having a domain name that optimizes Miami’s placement in web searches. National research indicates that websites are the number two influencer for prospective parents and students, second only to the campus visit in influencing college choice. Our goals also call for us to establish a national presence and increase the number of non-residents, yet feedback shows they often confuse us with another university. Unfortunately, our current domain name is not intuitive or easy to recall, and is easily confused with other university websites, especially Marquette (www.MU.edu) and Ohio University (www.OHIO.edu). We also need to be distinct from The University of Miami (www.MIAMI.edu).
Changing the domain name will take some effort from University Communication and Marketing (UCM) and IT Services, who agree the timing is ideal. We are in the process of rebuilding our website so we can leverage existing work with our web firm, MStoner, enabling us to build pages with the new name gradually as we progress. Changing the web domain name requires changing email addresses also. The Department of Commerce allows up to two years for the use of two “.edu” addresses, though, allowing considerable time for transition. [Note - There is also a proposal before the board of EDUCAUSE, which administers sites for the Department of Commerce, to allow universities to retain two “.edu” domain names; currently universities are allowed only one. The ability to have two domain names would allow email and website entries to go to both addresses indefinitely. We are strongly in favor of this proposed change, but we believe that it is important to proceed with or without it for the reasons cited above.]
In keeping with our commitment to gather feedback, we would appreciate your thoughts about these topics and hope you will take a few minutes to answer the questions in a short survey at http://muohio.edu/identitysurvey. We understand there will be some short-term challenges and concerns regarding proposed changes, but we hope your responses will focus on what is best for Miami University’s long-term visibility, image, and prominence.
We will also be testing our primary web audiences and use the information gathered to inform our decision. Thank you for your participation.