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Not much to like about NMU slogan

November 4, 2013 - Linda Lobeck
When I heard that Northern Michigan University was going to change its slogan from “Northern. Naturally” to “Fearless Minds,” I was puzzled. First of all, what does “Fearless Minds” mean or refer to when we think of NMU? Nothing comes to mind (excuse the pun) to me and I’m a Northern grad — Class of 1982.

I heard that NMU had partnered with a consulting agency out of Denver, Colo. to work on the university’s brand image. It's a waste of money if that’s all they could come up with. The university could have saved their money and put it out there to its students and alumni for ideas. What does some agency in Colorado know about Northern Michigan University?

I’ve been on those type of student/administrative committees while I was at NMU and generally their mind is made up before holding the meetings. They want everyone to feel a part of the process, but it’s really a done deal even before you start. I'm hoping there is still a chance that this can be stopped.

The reason for rebranding, according to administrators, is in response to low student retention rates. And I can’t fathom how a slogan like “Fearless Minds” is going to change or improve retention rates. Maybe they need to focus on why retention rates are low rather than spending money on rebranding.

The current slogan, “Northern. Naturally,” has been used to tie in the beauty of the Marquette area. That was a big draw for many students to attend NMU when I was there and I’m sure that is true today. We actually had more students from outside of the state or lower Michigan as well as exchange students attending NMU rather than U.P. residents.

Students at NMU have started a petition asking President David Haynes to reject this brand change and more than 500 signatures have been collected so far. Hopefully, his mind isn’t completely made up and he listens to the current student body. They should know best why they are at NMU.

And for what it’s worth, I think they need to continue to look for a better slogan — one that gives a better image as to why NMU is special. My vote is in — “Fearless Minds” just doesn’t do it for me.


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