Friday, June 12, 2009

Marketing Darden

Darden is well known in the business school community, but many people in the rest of the world are unfamilar with the school. Why is that? Is the marketing of the school not sending a clear message? Does Darden have too many names? Is "rural" Virginia too far from a major city?

UVa has a tremendous reputation as a public school. As far as I know, it is often on par with many of the Ivy Leagues, which as we all know are seen as the prestine colleges of the east. So what is up with the Darden - UVa disconnect? I was thinking, you hear Darden called: Darden, Darden Business School, Darden Graduate Business School, Darden Business School - UVA, Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia - and the list goes on. Let's be frank, the longer the name gets, the more you "lose" people. Heck, I get sick and tired of saying it. I once saw it written as Daren GSB. I like it! Now, I'm not saying we should try to copy Stanford or Chicago, but let's be honest, GSB is simply Graduate School of Business. And the mouthful is a whole lot less.

Here's the next problem though, re-branding. Once upon a time Darden was not as "affiliated" with UVa as it is now. It's not as if Darden moved onto campus, they just started recognizing that UVa is a good name. Darden reverted its colors to Orange and Blue instead of Red and Black (the once school specific colors). I think the school even changed its logo to its current state encompassing clip-art of the rotunda. I think the re-branding has started in many ways and perhaps it's time to shorten the name. It'd make us students a lot happier. ;)

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