Mason Adopts New Tagline: Where Innovation Is Tradition

Posted: March 1, 2010 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: February 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

By Robin Herron

After more than a year of intensive research and exercises with various groups at Mason (Board of Visitors, advisory boards, administration, students, faculty, staff and alumni), Mason’s Office of University Relations has updated the brand architecture and marketing messages for the university. The effort culminated in distilling Mason’s brand into one short phrase: “Where Innovation Is Tradition.”

Known as a tagline in marketing jargon, the phrase was developed after several University Relations teams evaluated the year’s worth of research to capture what people closest to the university expect from it – the brand. According to one definition, a tagline is a brand promise expressed in shorthand. The brand is a valued promise that an organization makes to its external and internal audiences.

“In the research we did,” says Vice President for University Relations Christine LaPaille, “the word ‘innovation’ came up repeatedly when people were asked to choose words to describe Mason. And two of our teams working independently came up with taglines using that word.”

LaPaille said the process included developing a new “elevator speech”; developing individual messages for all key Mason target audiences; writing the “story” of the university; and creating strong value propositions for each audience.

The new tagline, Where Innovation Is Tradition, declares that innovation is Mason’s distinguishing brand attribute; and tradition implies that all Mason stakeholders are connected through this attribute — the culture of innovation is a legacy that is carried on by faculty, staff, students and alumni.

The final tagline was selected by Mason’s Marketing Committee and received enthusiastic support from the deans and directors. The new tagline will replace the previous one, “Think. Learn. Succeed.”

LaPaille encourages the university community to begin using the tagline on web sites and materials as appropriate. Following are answers to some frequently asked questions about taglines.

Why use a tagline?

A tagline expresses the organization’s brand, a defining statement that expresses the organization’s promise to its audiences.

How is a tagline used?

A tagline is used on web sites, publications and other materials designed to communicate with internal and external audiences.

How should a tagline be positioned?

The tagline can be used near the George Mason University logo, but should be kept separate from the logo. It should be used in such as way as to be associated with the name George Mason University. A web page showing examples of how to use the tagline in various publications is being developed and will be available soon on Templates for PowerPoint presentations using the George Mason University logo and the new tagline are now available at the site.

Should the tagline use a special typeface?

No. Unlike the Mason logo, which is a unified graphic element, the tagline can be printed in whatever font and size is appropriate for your publication, web site or other materials.

For other questions, contact Sarah Seeberg, Creative Services art director, at

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