The Academic Year 2011 is another landmark in Clubs & Society Development we are beginning to roll out something exciting, new and shiny that has been years in the making by your predecessors. An image make-over to be precise, and no it's not Gok Wan or Irelands next top model or even Fr. Teds Lovely girls competition. It's the launch of the new Wolves brand and image for the UL Clubs & Societies. A brand we expect to infuse like a fine cup of Mrs Doyles tea, a brand that you over time you will know and identify, as being distinctly associated with UL and its Clubs & Societies, the Students Union, or even on the level for you as an individual member of one of our more than 60 Clubs & Societies.
This branding process really started back in 1999 within a year of my appointment and the idea of a Clubs & Societies Logo was suggested from the Clubs & Society Council. Back then it ranged from suggestions of a cave man with a club in hand and a pair of socks on! Eventually the idea of the Vikings and its association with Limerick was agreed but mainly due to the infancy of development of Clubs & Societies in the Students Union this concept never took off. However it was adopted by the new start-up UL American Football club in anticipation of wider support hence the UL Vikings. I reignited this discussion 10 years later in 2009 with the Clubs & Societies Executive of the day. Máirtín Lally, our Skydiver representative of the day, business & marketing student (since graduated), ran a campaign on behalf of the Clubs & Societies Council through An focal and was supported by the Computer Society. The images generated by the students of UL created a high level of awareness and discussion but none were strong enough to realise the ambitions being set out. In the summer of 2009 I attended a conference for the Association of Student Unions Administrators (ASUA) in Maynooth and took part in a video conference with the University of Lowell in Massachusetts and listened intently to the process by which they developed their "Riverhawk" brand, and spoke about the average numbers attending college games increasing due to the student buy-in and involvement in the development of this brand In November 2009 I attended a world students union conference in Connecticut (Assoc of College Unions International) and on a 2 day intensive whistle stop tour of 5 US campuses (Boston University, Curry College, Eastern Connecticut, Southern Connecticut and University of Connecticut) I brought that information back to Clubs & Society Council for more discussion to further develop the initiative. We had numerous discussions in the intervening period and we did seek a particular graphic designers input at that time but with very disappointing and uninspired results. We moved to a Focus Group in May 2010, and by March 2011 it was a much more focused approach armed with years of collated data and opinions and mandated by the Clubs & Societies Council to make the brand a reality. Discussions with nearly 8 companies in the area of graphic design took place; they were shortlisted down to 2 and a Students Union committee and another grouping of Clubs & Societies members determined the style of preferred Artwork. Spark Marketing were awarded the contract and the rest we expect is history in the making.
In all the numerous discussions I have had with various long serving Clubs & Society student members there was strong feedback that a brand identity for clubs and societies would be a great idea to capture this unique group on campus. When you pick something to associate with you want it to reflect the best qualities in yourself, your club, your society, your friends and the associations it conjures up. The characteristics of the Wolf certainly reverberated loudly with the members of Clubs & Societies throughout the Facebook campaign (Chieftains V Wolves) which we ran on-line by the award winning marketing company (composed of UL Graduates) Spark Marketing. The Wolf is a highly intelligent and social animal it gets it strength from its sheer weight of numbers in the wolf pack. It is a formidable, powerful and fearless animal in nature and can over power prey many time's its size through its natural cooperative instinct. It can be strong and is capable of being supportive and caring in equal measure within the intimacy of the pack which might surprise many too. All of these characteristics easily ebb and flow with the dynamic of Clubs & Societies in UL.
Clubs & Societies Development Officer
University of Limerick Students Union