Chancellor’s Letter about Texas Tech Communications and Marketing Initiative

June 2005

Dear Friends of Texas Tech:

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the issues and driving forces behind our efforts to strengthen Texas Tech’s communications and marketing activities.

We know change is not always easy, and on May 13th we agreed with our Board of Regents that, given the nature and extent of public comment on this issue, we need to continue seeking input and educating our constituencies on what the marketing proposals to enhance Texas Tech’s academic reputation and image include (and do not include) and how that fits into the larger context of our telling the great story that is Texas Tech. So, in the coming weeks we will be working with a group of regents (including both Lubbock-based regents) to further study these marketing proposals.

With respect to the Double T logo, let me say right off the bat … we have not proposed to change the way the Double T currently is used. It may be that, because we are proposing a new set of standardized logotypes and “marks” for use in more official academic settings, some may have thought we were trying to somehow limit or do away with use of the Double T. That’s just not the case. Put another way – we have not proposed and are not now proposing to diminish use of the Double T!

The current official Double T, which was created and licensed by the Athletics Department years ago, is and always will be alive and well. The Double T is our "spirit mark" and will continue to be used to promote and celebrate the rich tradition, spirit and pride of all things Texas Tech. So we expect that alumni, faculty, students, staff and friends of Texas Tech will keep sporting the Double T on their clothes and cars and in any other context in which they are celebrating the pride, traditions and prowess of this great institution. The Double T is and always will be a high-status, important symbol of Texas Tech … it will remain as our national logo or “brand” … and it will not be restricted solely to athletics-related uses. The Double T will remain available whenever anyone wants to show they are part of the Texas Tech family.

However, there are times when Texas Tech needs a certain visual identity that can make a positive impact on those who are not yet part of our Texas Tech family. If it is an athletics-related audience, certainly the Double T and similar spirit logos work great. But if it is an academics-related audience, we do not have and very much need a unified and professional visual identity that helps promote our academic and research enterprise. Research has shown that, all too often, those who are not part of our Red Raider family associate the Double T only with our athletics programs.

Further, the set of academic-related logos and symbols currently in place have fallen far, far short of helping us communicate our strengths and opportunities in academics and research.
Right now each college, department and program at Texas Tech has its own logo (and often more than one), many of which have nothing in them to indicate they are affiliated in any way with Texas Tech. There are hundreds of these different academic "identities." Each represents missed opportunities for Texas Tech as a whole to make a lasting impression. Of the hundreds of logos now in use, only a small number of those not related to athletics incorporate the Double T in some way. Some have nothing to identify themselves as “Texas Tech,” and some don’t use red and black as their colors.

Thus, we are faced with a situation of academic logo “anarchy.” Our proposal is that all of these dissimilar academic identities would be replaced with one highly professional and unified academic identity structure that repeatedly reinforces a perception and understanding of the academic strengths of Texas Tech.

The challenge is to create an appropriate academic visibility system that reflects the reality of “who Texas Tech is” to those who are not (or not yet) part of the Texas Tech family, but do so in a way that rings true to what our alumni love about their alma mater.

One piece of the overall academic visibility system being considered was to update the graphic design of all the symbols in the seal. These symbols – the key, the lamp, the book, the star, the eagle, and cotton – had been hand drawn when the current seal was initially designed in 1924. From a technical perspective, a more graphically sharp and strong depiction of the symbols within the seal would allow a more clear and professional look when the seal is reproduced on printed and electronic materials. We have absolutely no desire to abandon the traditions and history associated with the symbols inside the seal and will continue to look for the best way to approach this.

We also must keep in mind that Texas Tech has expanded its academic programs far beyond what was in place when the current seal was established. For example, we now have the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), composed of schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and allied health. TTUHSC is a separate and distinct institution from Texas Tech University (TTU) and, as a university in its own right, is a growing and vital part of the Texas Tech System. A good argument can be made that a standardized and highly professional academic identity structure should be one that is a good fit for all of the many and varied academic disciplines at Texas Tech, whether they be law, engineering, the sciences, liberal arts, fine arts or business programs at TTU or medicine, nursing, allied health or pharmacy at TTUHSC.

After we had begun a series of informational sessions with members of our Board of Regents, students, faculty and alumni, some who did not like particular aspects of the proposals sounded a general alarm that we were eliminating or somehow restricting use of the Double T and changing the seal just because some out-of-town marketing firm thought it was a good idea. Hopefully, this response is giving you a greater sense of what is being considered and why.

We want you to know that proposals like those described above for an academic visual identity system are only a small part of a much larger communications and marketing initiative to improve Texas Tech’s visibility and reputation. [Note: Some have come to believe that “Texas Tech paid an Austin firm $450,000 to create a new seal.” In truth, the costs associated with the new academic visual identity system – which encompasses much more than the seal – do not exceed $25,000. The $450,000 figure is the budget for everything we’re doing to initiate a wide-ranging communications and marketing plan.]

In August of 2004, our Board of Regents charged Texas Tech administration with developing and implementing a comprehensive communications and marketing program that would boost Texas Tech’s academic reputation within the state, regionally and nationally. Their goal, and ours, was expressed as: “… we hope that Texas Tech moves from being the best kept secret in West Texas to being the most visible sign of progress and excellence in West Texas.”

We will be moving forward on a number of initiatives to accomplish that goal – some at a local level and some on a much broader scale. For example, our strategic plan calls for actively engaging local alumni chapter members in new efforts to enhance Texas Tech's academic visibility in communities throughout the state and nation. We'll be developing new outreach tools that you and others who already are part of the Texas Tech family can use to help enhance Texas Tech's reputation in communities everywhere. We will be using other “best practice” methods to get our message out to broader audiences far and wide.

What does all this mean to you? The better the reputation and the higher the visibility of Texas Tech, the greater the value of your diploma. What does this mean to Texas Tech? The better our reputation, the greater the probability that even more quality students will be attracted to become part of the Texas Tech family … and a greater number of employers who will understand the robust preparedness and work ethic of Texas Tech graduates.

If everyone outside the Texas Tech family already knew what we know about Texas Tech and looked at Texas Tech the way we do, maybe such a substantive effort would be unnecessary. That is just not the case, though, so we have to market Texas Tech to that broader audience in a way that has a direct and positive impact on how they perceive our two great universities.

Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to share this information with you. As we’ve said many times during the past weeks, we are truly glad there are so many alumni and friends who care so deeply about Texas Tech. We will continue to consult with all of our constituent groups as we go through this process. By working together, we can do so much more to advance the cause for Texas Tech.

Sincerely yours,

David R. Smith, M.D.
Texas Tech University System