ST. GEORGE – Dixie State University has rolled out a survey to the public featuring a look at the six finalists the school’s identity committee has chosen as the potentially new face and nickname of the institution.
“The entire community is invited to log onto www.dixiestate-nickname.com and offer feedback regarding the six finalists,” DSU officials said in a press release issued Tuesday.
“A strong identity allows an organization to more effectively tell its story,” Dr. Jordon Sharp, DSU chief of marketing and communications officer, said previously. “Dixie State University has a rich history, an incredibly bright future and an amazing story to tell, and it deserves an identity that will articulate its unique message.”
While there are still those in the community who pine for a return to the Dixie Rebels identity, DSU officials have said that past and current identities are not being used for the new branding.
Sharp acknowledged the passion many Dixie State alumni and community members have for the old brand, and used it as an example of why a strong brand is important.
“Branding is more than just a logo,” he said Wednesday. “It represents an organization as a whole.”
And people involved in those organizations end up becoming invested in them.
“Brands mean something to people,” Sharp said.
In relation to schools like Dixie State, it is the place people may have found themselves, he said, or found a future spouse or business partner, or started their careers.
The school’s current identity and mascot are “Red Storm” and Big “D” the Bull. Sharp said the brand is confusing because no one thinks of Southern Utah when the phrase “red storm” is used.
With that in mind and a decade’s worth of surveys and other data to review, the identity committee looked at various categories they felt best represented DSU and the area. Aspects of this include the area’s climate, geography, history, wildlife and other details.
“We’re trying to create a brand that is authentic,” Sharp said.
The university’s identity committee consists of individuals representing DUS’s alumni, students, Athletics Department, faculty, staff, administration and community. They are working together with Utah-based Love Communications to determine the school’s new identity.
While examples of logos and imagery relating to the proposed identities and associated mascots are featured on the survey, they are not the final logo or design. A paragraph explaining the reasoning for choice behind the possible mascot, along with a list of its possible “brand strengths,” is also displayed.
The following is a list of the six finalists:
- Team name: The Wranglers | Mascot: “Red” the Cowboy
- Team name: Blazers | Mascot: “Blaze” the Buffalo
- Team name: Raptors | Mascot: “Rocky” the Raptor
- Team name: Sun Warriors | Mascot: “Apollo” the Greek god
- Team name: Rock Hounds | Mascot: “Red” the Rock Hound
- Team name: Marshals | Mascot: “Marshal” the Mustang
The public is asked to rank their preferences after reviewing the presented finalists. They can also offer feedback and suggestions for other team names and mascot options and submit those to the DSU’s identity committee via the survey.
As of Wednesday morning, DSU announced on its Twitter feed that over 2,000 people had participated in the survey. Though any results are very preliminary at this juncture, Sharp said, the numbers are very close so far.
“The survey is extremely fluid at the moment and we are not releasing results,” he said, “but I will say it is much closer between the six identities than we had anticipated, with the top contenders in a very tight race.”
The survey is set to end at midnight Dec. 16. However, that closure is contingent on response rate, which thus far has been overwhelming, Sharp said.
Once the survey closes, the identity committee will shift through the data and make a final decision on DSU’s new identity and mascot, which won’t be revealed until the school’s spring semester.
Rebranding the school’s identity is one of six points laid out in a five-year strategic plan called Dixie 2020. DSU President Richard Williams introduced Dixie 2020 to the public in September.
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