Perception research 2014

The University of Leicester commissioned SERIOUS (an external creative agency) to conduct research into its brand positioning so that, in future all of our communications could be built upon a relevant and strong foundation.

The primary goal of this exercise was to review our positioning and brand. 

There were four elements to this research:

  • Identify core benefits. Identify the University of Leicester’s core benefits, how our brand is seen by audiences, and what sets it apart from others.
  • Elite without being elitist. Test our current positioning statement and gauge audience reaction. Gather feedback on its relevance and resonance with key stakeholders in terms of positioning and distinctiveness.
  • Build perspective. Understand which of the perceived characteristics of the University of Leicester are most relevant to our audiences and the most motivating.
  • The ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’. Identify what is working and not working with our positioning and where there are opportunities to strengthen and develop new ideas and concepts.


SERIOUS carried out a series of workshops, research groups and in-depth telephone interviews to explore, assess and identify key perceptions of the four areas described above. They also conducted research that assessed some key competitor institutions.

This research involved conversations with the following audiences:

  • Key internal individuals including academics, college heads, and senior management
  • Local community representative
  • Alumni
  • Current students (undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • Prospective students (sixth formers)

The workshops were informal, interactive, and used visual stimuli to encourage discussion and the sharing of views. The telephone interviews were similarly informal in approach, but served to gain insight on a one-to-one basis.

Summary of findings

The University of Leicester has a great story to tell with a really good balance of world-class research and teaching, and provides a good student experience.

We need to demonstrate greater self-confidence. We have credibility and tradition and are not stuck in the past. We are more dynamic and revolutionary than is widely known. We have an opportunity to build pride in the University and in the city.

Telling our story better will help capitalise on the unique spirit of Leicester that makes our students, faculty and the wider community such great advocates.

The outcome of this research suggested that we don't need to rebrand but we do need to refresh our look and feel to ensure that we are moving with the times and that we are fit for a modern digital age.

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