In 2018, Bentley began a university-wide strategic planning process that led to the development of a strategic plan. Included in that plan were five elements that would enable Bentley to achieve the plan's goals, including "Unite Behind a Strong Brand." For Bentley to best share its story with the world, the university would need to give its stakeholders a compelling brand promise, clear and consistent messaging and tools to share them.
For more than 100 years, Bentley has been reinventing business education and we must continue to stay ahead of the everchanging higher education landscape. Student populations are diversifying, students' needs and expectations are evolving, the work world after college is different and higher ed is more competitive than it used to be. To compete most effectively in the years ahead, we need to tell – and amplify – the Bentley story in a way that’s exciting, inspirational and distinctive.
The University Marketing and Communications Council (UMCC) was established in early 2019 and charged with stewardship of the Bentley brand. This cross-functional body included members of the faculty as well as staff from every division on campus. The UMCC took input from multiple campus workshops and presentations, the strategic planning process, our new university mission and values, existing Bentley market research and leading Generation Z research to formulate a plan to refresh and roll out a new brand platform for the university.
In the summer of 2019, the UMCC selected a brand marketing agency to partner with us to develop a messaging platform and test creative concepts with our key constituents. In-depth research including qualitative interviews, a quantitative survey and various brand workshops with university stakeholders ensured we had broad and diverse inputs to our recommendation to the university's board of trustees. After incorporating feedback from faculty, staff, alumni, current and prospective students and parents, and with the full endorsement of the board, we announced in April 2020 that Be a Force will become Bentley’s new brand platform as we look to the future.
As with any brand refresh, we want to establish a distinctive, compelling and relevant position in the higher ed marketplace. Updating our brand platform and visual identity will help us articulate our value and enhance our reputation now and moving forward.
A successful new brand platform will differentiate Bentley from its peers; motivate audiences and key stakeholders to engage and support Bentley’s mission; imprint in the minds of key stakeholders, boosting top-of-mind-awareness for prospective students and emotional, evocative ties for alumni; and enhance consistency of message and presentation so that the brand itself is clear and understandable to all who engage.
In order to be successful, schools should adapt and evolve their brand position as demographics and economic factors change. We’ve seen in the research on Gen Z that a new generation of students is arriving on campus with diverse backgrounds and lofty expectations. They demand more personalization and flexibility from their university. They are acutely focused on social responsibility. Business remains at Bentley’s core, but we offer students the technical skills and more to help them prepare for a lifetime of learning and growing. And a changing higher education landscape means that the competition has never been fiercer for prospective students, which puts a premium on differentiation and motivation in our brand platform.
A brand is much more than a tagline. It’s the key to telling our story. It shapes how others feel about Bentley. It helps set us apart from other universities. And it helps define who we are as a community, too—as students, graduates, faculty and staff.
Be a Force is not a tagline and it is not an ad campaign. It’s an expression of our strategic brand framework from which we can tell Bentley’s story to our various audiences.
Be a Force is a registered trademark of Bentley University and should only be used in compliance with official brand and licensing guidelines.
Bentley’s Marketing and Communications team will refresh core pages on bentley.edu. We will also be updating the university’s primary social media accounts.
The Digital Engagement team and each departments’ website power user will be updating additional bentley.edu pages in the months ahead. Our Social Media and Brand teams will help update departmental and program social media accounts.
The new Bentley Brand page will have many resources available related to colors, fonts, photography and logos. Please note: due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will initially be limited in our ability to produce any new photography for the site.
As we undergo this comprehensive brand transition, our goal is to balance a need for cohesion with responsible financial management as well as environmental considerations. Materials should not be discarded due to “old” branding or logos. While we plan to update campus signage and many print pieces (e.g., enrollment materials, alumni communications), there will be many other materials (e.g., flyers, brochures, signs, giveaways) that should only be replaced when supplies are depleted.
At this time, cards and parking stickers will be replaced on an as-necessary basis. New students, faculty, and staff will receive cards and stickers with the updated logo beginning in fall 2020.
We are taking a phased approach to updating signs, maps and public spaces. If your office space has old branding or prominent old logos or if you notice a sign or banner with old branding, please email email@example.com or submit a project request form and we will work with you to schedule the updates.
New stationery, including letterhead, business cards and envelopes, will be available in the stationery portal. This can be accessed via the brand site under Resources. As always, stationery and card orders are paid for by individual departments and orders must be approved by the appropriate department manager / director / VP. Reminder: You should not discard items just because of old logos without VP approval.
Yes! The new Bentley logo can be downloaded in various formats from the brand site under Visual Identity.
Bentley’s brand is strongest when it is cohesive and consistently applied. The new logo architecture allows departments / centers / offices to use the new logo and wordmark plus their name to create a “lockup.” To make it easy to have a lockup created or updated, we have built a new logo generator app. Your lockup will be automatically created with the correct fonts, colors and spacing and then emailed to you in a .zip file.
The decision about whether a program or event gets a sub-brand or logo is made by the Marketing and Communications team in consultation with the relevant vice president.
Generally, departments, centers and offices – particularly those that communicate externally – should use a lockup with the new Bentley logo. However, programs and events – particularly those that are internally facing or involve alumni – may have some additional elements created.
Marketing and Communications will continue to work with our campus partners and clients as well as SP&E, HYPE and other student organizations to evaluate these policies, specifically as they relate to student-run organizations.
The majority of Bentley departments, centers and offices will not have sub-brands or distinct logos. This is by design, as it is important for the university to present itself as one institution, rather than a collection of separate entities.
It is important that you or your vendors do not attempt to use or alter the Bentley logo without going through the proper licensing and branding process.
The brand and associated logo system is intended to visually align all of Bentley’s communications and programs. As such, we expect that you will update your materials as soon as it is feasible (i.e., digital assets this summer, print assets as you run out). If you have any concerns about this, please reach out to your VP or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have reserved the University Seal for use by the Board of Trustees, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, formal academic applications (i.e., diplomas, commencement) and select University Advancement initiatives. Contact email@example.com with questions.
Templates, including presentation slides, digital letterhead, report covers and email signature guidelines are available for download from the brand site under Resources.
Please contact the Brand and Creative Services team with your requests or questions! You can submit a project request form here, a web update request here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. While we are not able to take on all projects, we can refer you to talented freelancers as necessary.