What has struck me about the often passionate responses to the changes to the brand of the Union (which isn’t even finished yet!) is that people do care what the Union does. So why, then, are people so keen to criticize the results and bitch about it on social media when the vast majority didn’t make an effort to alter or even prevent the brand changes coming through?
Rather predictably, the answer is laziness. It is perfectly reasonable, even expected, for people to have an opinion on this – we all have different tastes. However, when some people can go into such specifics in detailing their outrage and stating their disgust at this much money being spent on the re-brand, then where were these people when the whole thing was being consulted with the general student population?
In total, there were four student workshops, a survey (which received over 2500 responses), and parts of multiple Union Council meetings (which anyone is free to attend) dedicated to the re-brand. Given that there was so much opportunity for students to engage and tell the union ‘what an absolute joke’ this idea was before the whole review even started, why didn’t they? And it’s not as if there wasn’t any chance to complain beforehand, the fact that there was to be a re-brand, as the result of the responses to the survey and the workshops, has been known for weeks.
It was not a case of a lack of advertising. Many students are part of the University freshers’ pages, and, at the time of writing, 22,590 people like the ‘SUSU’ Facebook Page. These opportunities for people to have their say on the potential re-brand were there. Those who commented their outrage are more likely to be engaged with University and Union life regardless, utilising the Stags, Bridge and/or cinema. Any complaints regarding the lack of student consultation are completely unfair, it was there – it was just your fault that you didn’t take it up. If the response to this survey conveyed overall opposition to this review, do you really think that the re-brand would have gone ahead? Me neither.
As conveyed below, a re-brand is seemingly needed, especially with regard to the website. Also, nothing was set in stone until the results of the review. That’s the whole point of a review.
@lingmien We're going to take another look at the website depending on what happens during the SUSU brand review.
— SUSU (@YourSUSU) March 4, 2016
Criticism of the name and logo itself is perfectly fine – we are all different, we all have different tastes and what may seem like a great name and logo for one person will be cheesy and ugly to another. But there were plenty of chances to have your say, and to anyone claiming that there should have been a referendum – the library one didn’t go too well.
Yes, the fact that the consultancy with Holden’s advertising agency cost £19000 and the installation of the new branding cost over £10000 will grate with many, but the fact of the matter is this: the situation we find ourselves in is due to the responses (or lack of them, and whose fault is that?) to the brand review, especially in the survey, by you, students. The action of implementing the brand review was taken by sabbatical officers elected by you in association with a specialist advertising firm who have previous experience in delivering effective re-branding at a Student’s Union. The Student’s Union is, guess what, comprised of students. The whole reason that there is a re-brand in the first place is due to the actions (or lack of them, and whose fault is that?) of the students.
Union President Ben Franklin told Wessex Scene in the wake of the ridiculous launching of a change.org petition:
I think it’s a little soon to be petitioning against the change when the entire new brand hasn’t yet been unveiled. As is the case with all major change, I anticipate some teething time. If the petition gathers momentum after people have seen the whole brand and settled into it, and it gathers overwhelming support, of course the student voice will be considered, but after the wide student consultation, where every single student had the opportunity to get involved, and months of work that went in to rebranding, it’d be a shame to see it all undone because of a knee jerk reaction to what will, in the long run, be a very positive change.
Finally, it seems that for many people the obvious path to take when something new comes out is overwhelmingly negative, especially with regard to the Union.
You had your opportunity to reject it, now just wait until the completed review is revealed.