North Texas Daily

UNT contests release of branding audit

UNT contests release of branding audit

UNT contests release of branding audit
April 04
14:05 2019

The UNT System is contesting the release of documents about its branding strategies in response to public information requests for their release.

The brand audit documents evaluate how people view UNT System schools and its advertising. UNT System paid marketing consultant firm Carnegie Dartlet to produce the audit for $150,000 last September.

Board of Regents Chairman G. Brint Ryan acknowledged the completed audit documents were under review by UNT System officials in a tweet on March 2.

Despite continuous efforts by UNT System to improve branding identity, communications sophomore Alex Martinez said the university system has the wrong priorities.

“I feel like UNT want[s] to say we’re a great school but in reality, we put on a façade like we aren’t actually what we are,” Martinez said. “By making better buildings but not fixing what’s going on in the buildings, with professors not caring.”

Reporters from the Denton Record-Chronicle requested the documents in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act on March 5, but received a notice that the request would be contested from UNT System officials on March 15.

Under Texas state law, contested public information requests may go to the state attorney general office for deliberation and whether or not to release the information. According to a Record-Chronicle report, UNT System officials submitted a brief last Thursday to the attorney general’s office citing specific laws they believe the release of the documents may violate.

In the brief, UNT System officials claim releasing the branding audit would potentially violate four sections of the Texas Public Information Act, as well as a Texas court decision barring the public release of documents containing confidential business information that might give some businesses a competitive edge over others in bidding processes.

UNT System Communications Director Paul Corliss could not be reached for comment on the brief or documents.

President Neal Smatresk referenced UNT rebranding efforts with Carnegie Dartlett at the February UNT Board of Regents meeting, using the words “creative,” “caring” and “gritty” to describe UNT System’s image as found in the report.

The brand audit falls in line with a “Strategic Plan” currently in development by UNT System, which aims to evaluate the university system’s overall identity and collective goals. Presentations delivered at the February Board of Regents Meeting said UNT System aims to complete its Strategic Plan by the end of the spring semester to present and implement this fall.

The Strategic Plan Timeline included in those presentations also mentions holding future town hall meetings and draft reviews to consider elements of the Strategic Plan.

Marketing junior Angelica Rojas said issues with UNT branding have less to do with scandals, and more with advertising and brand recognition.

“I had never heard of UNT before looking for colleges,” Rojas said. “You can see around Denton that they have billboards up. People do know about UNT, however, when you go to South Texas or Central Texas, it’s trying to stand out against UT Austin and all the bigger schools.”

Featured Image: UNT Administration Building. File.

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Carter Mize

Carter Mize

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