About the Brand

The SDSU Brand

Recognizing a need to support SDSU’s academic vision, SDSU initiated a campus-wide process to re-brand the university in late 2009. Initially, surveys were conducted and input was received from several stakeholder groups. This research was then used to develop and refine the SDSU Brand Strategy. At the core of this strategy is a new positioning: SDSU – through its outstanding people and nationally recognized programs – is propelling the region into the future. We are “San Diego’s University.” Our positioning, which was itself confirmed through more surveys, is not a tagline or motto but is intended to be the one thing we want people to think and remember about SDSU.

SDSU’s new brand positioning (sometimes referred to as our “brand essence”) is rooted in the university’s deep engagement in the San Diego community – as well as the incredible impact our university has had on San Diego since 1897. This is not to say we are simply an outstanding regional university. In fact, we have many nationally ranked programs as well as initiatives that are considered national models. However, what is most distinctive about SDSU is the impact of our programs and people both locally and nationally. There are many proof points to support the brand positioning. It is also important to understand the many ways SDSU benefits our key stakeholders.

Leadership Starts Here

Next, SDSU Strategic Communications and Public Affairs developed several print ad concepts and taglines consistent with the adopted SDSU Brand Strategy. We again shared these ads and taglines with various stakeholders and secured quantitative survey results to confirm a final direction. Of several proposed taglines, one was a clear favorite: Leadership Starts Here. The new tagline, which also serves as the theme of The Campaign for SDSU, is a bold statement of SDSU's impact and commitment. It replaces SDSU’s previous tagline Minds That Move the World. In addition, SDSU Strategic Communications and Public Affairs finalized the Leadership Starts Here Institutional Advertising Campaign – including a new TV spot, print ads, billboards and other collateral.

Expressing the Brand

Beyond the tagline and brand advertising, it is important that all our official communications reflect and support the SDSU Brand. This includes print, the web and other electronic forms (including social media channels). While each communication has its own purpose and should be appropriate to the audience/occasion, it is important to project SDSU’s Brand Personality:

  • Genuine and authentic – a reflection of our inclusive, inviting campus community
  • Passionate and enthusiastic – full of pride in SDSU and its important mission
  • Professional and confident – befitting of a leading national research university
  • Energized and forward-looking – consistent with the entrepreneurial spirit of a university on the rise
  • Committed – we are all Aztecs for Life!

People are at the core of the SDSU Brand – individual students, faculty, staff, alumni and other Aztecs who reflect the best attributes of San Diego State. What ties us together is our confidence that SDSU continues to provide the best possible experience for the students, an experience that will ultimately have a positive impact on the San Diego community and beyond.

At SDSU, what we teach isn’t confined to the classroom, or the campus for that matter.

We believe the lessons learned here grow beyond our walls, venturing outward, into our communities and then into the world.

To us, action is just as important as academia. The impossible is far more intriguing than the possible. And there’s more value in potential than what’s already been proven.

That’s why we encourage students, faculty, staff and everyone we interact with – to make what they learn here a beginning instead of an end. After all, graduation is called commencement for a reason. So start taking chances. Start moving forward. Start inspiring lives. Because Leadership Starts Here.

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Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
[email protected]
(619) 594-5204