Learn the basics of UCLA's brand, including our core mission, key messages, characteristics and personality traits.
In a marketing context, a brand is how people perceive your product, service or organization. It’s what people think of you. How they feel about you. And why they support you.
Vital, impactful brands are built on truth and continuity. They are what they say they are. And they are united in how they say it, so you never confuse them with competing brands. That’s why so much emphasis is put on conformity of brand language and look, and why all brands have guidelines like this one.
UCLA has many different audiences: academics, students, parents, alumni, public servants and casual observers, people in Los Angeles, in California, and around the world. Our brand is what these audiences think, feel and respond to when they see or hear the name UCLA.
As a public research university in a global city, UCLA is known around the world for its importance and impact across many different fields of learning. As UCLA staff, faculty and students, we have the opportunity and responsibility to shape perceptions of UCLA by the consistency and clarity of our communications.
The UCLA brand is rooted in our core mission as a public research university: education, research, and public service. To state the mission more formally: “UCLA’s primary purpose as a public research university is the creation, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge for the betterment of our global society.”
Distilled into a single sentence, the UCLA brand’s key message is this: “UCLA is an engine of opportunity and progress, propelling action and change to make a better world.”
Notice that the message is active: “an engine... propelling action and change.” Our marketing and communications should connect our discoveries, achievements and aspirations to their impact, both locally and globally. This key message is what sets us apart from other universities and organizations.
UCLA Strategic Communications can work with major academic and administrative units to fine-tune their identity so it’s consistent with the UCLA brand, but tailored to the unique strengths and challenges of the unit.
“As we prepare to celebrate our centennial, it is vital that we speak with one voice about UCLA’s importance to society, dedication to academic excellence, and unwavering commitment to service. A unified UCLA brand is critical to increase the quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our communications efforts, celebrate our strengths and amplify our impact. Unity of message isn’t conformity; it’s the wellspring from which we all draw the distinctions that make UCLA special. Please use these brand guidelines in all of your communications. Because together, we are stronger than we are apart. And together, we will reach even greater heights in the next 100 years.” — Chancellor Gene Block
Like the key message, the brand pillars capture aspects of UCLA that make us unique among universities. These characteristics are a way to give more structure to our communications. When you begin a project, always consider which brand pillars your content will evoke and how they will resonate with your audience.
Brands, like people, have personalities. These UCLA brand personality traits should resonate through our communications efforts.
Our messages may emphasize different traits depending on audience and content. A recruiting piece aimed at high school students will have a different tone than an annual report to a donor group. Think in terms of an audio equalizer and adjust the mix as appropriate to the project and the audience.