Ben Franklin


16 May 2016 19:00

Let’s talk about the rebrand.

At the moment, we’re part-way through the exciting launch of our new brand. We’ve run a huge survey (2,500 of you took part) and held lots of consultation sessions. We’ve kept Union Council – made up of 45+ of your elected reps – updated all along the way, and they unanimously picked the “Union Southampton” identity brand just before Easter. You can find out more about this process here.


Since then, we’ve been busy working on what it will look like. We started putting some of the large new signs up over the weekend (if you haven’t already seen them, come and have a look – some of the photos only showed part of them, which did look a bit dull!) but the old logo was in a lot of places, so this is still a work in progress. We’re rolling out new parts every day – new signs, displays and online elements.


I’ve heard and read feedback from a lot of us over the last few days – some of it positive and some of it negative. One thing has been clear in all the comments I’ve seen and received: that when we see the full brand, and not just part of half a sign, it makes a lot more sense. There’s a lot of different elements to it, and a lot of different ways we’ll be able to use it – it’s much more than just the logo (“Us.”) or “Union Southampton”. You can find more about this here.


This is why I think that we should be fully informed before we, as a Union, take any decisions to stop what we’re doing or change the plan. This is much more than a few signs – it represents a completely different direction for our identity and brand. It’s not an easy thing to communicate quickly, which is why we’re rolling things out over a few weeks, and as more things start to appear we’ll all get a much better idea of what it means and what it looks like.


I’d like to offer an opportunity to meet with whoever wants to and discuss the new brand. I’m genuinely passionate about it, and the opportunities it offers, and I would love to be able to sit down with you and show you what else we have planned, and all the different ways we’ll be able to use it.


I’ve organised a meeting for Wednesday at 6pm in The Bridge where I can explain the steps we’ve taken to get to where we are, you find out more about what the new brand involves, and ask me any questions you want – about anything.


I understand that, even after this, there might be students who think we’re doing the wrong thing. Students have the ability to use the mechanisms provided by the Constitution, and review the decision if they wish. I am clear that if these mechanisms are to be used, we have to be certain that they are being used properly (according to, the petition has been signed by ‘me’, Barack Obama, and someone from Australia), so that is functionality that we will provide via the Union website in due course.


In the meantime, if anyone has any more questions or comments at all about the rebrand that can’t wait until Wednesday, please keep them coming – you can send them to me via, or via You Make Change.

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14 Comments on "Let’s talk about the rebrand."

  1. benfranklin
    Bart Jennings
    16/05/2016 at 7:26 pm Permalink

    Hi Ben, I feel strongly about this – will send you an email, please read if you have the chance.

  2. benfranklin
    Ben Franklin
    17/05/2016 at 11:23 am Permalink

    I’ll keep an eye out for it Bart, I haven’t seen it yet though – if you’ve already sent it, try again to ‘’ but if not, I’ll see it when its sent

  3. benfranklin
    16/05/2016 at 7:56 pm Permalink

    You claim that Union Council voted unanimously for the Union Southampton identity – was keeping SUSU one of the available options in that vote? If it wasn’t then the vote was improperly conducted.

  4. benfranklin
    Ben Franklin
    17/05/2016 at 11:25 am Permalink

    No, it was not one of the options as the decision to rebrand had been made by then as a result of the feedback in the survey. The brand review came first, which directed us towards a new brand. Union Council then decided which new brand to implement based on the results of the brand review.

  5. benfranklin
    17/05/2016 at 11:12 am Permalink

    Hmm A president Franklin, and an American CEO.

    Good choice for a name US. United States anyone?

  6. benfranklin
    Ben Franklin
    17/05/2016 at 11:26 am Permalink

    You caught me! Under the Democracy Review we’re also changing ‘council’ to ‘Senate’… my evil master plan of Americanising the Union is nearly complete 😉

  7. benfranklin
    17/05/2016 at 12:17 pm Permalink

    If that’s true (that the decision to rebrand was solely a result of student feedback), then release the full results of the survey. Prove to us that you haven’t ignored the views of the students you are paid to represent. Show us that this isn’t the typical SUSU President power trip – something that seems to happen so often, we should start referring to it as ‘doing a Sabb’.

  8. benfranklin
    Ben Franklin
    17/05/2016 at 1:39 pm Permalink

    Hi James, by the end of the week I’ll get the report published. As for this being a ‘power trip’, the rebrand idea was conceived long before I became President. All I can do is ask you take my word that I have no delusions of, or cravings for power, my sole motivation is to take steps that better the Union for all its members. I didn’t run because I wanted to cause havoc, I ran because I thought the Union could be better than it was, and I’ve spent a year making working to that aim in more ways than just the rebrand. The full survey results will be available by the time the brand officially launches on Friday.

  9. benfranklin
    Jake B
    17/05/2016 at 3:06 pm Permalink

    Hey Ben
    I wanted to inquire to ask if SUSU/Us. will be issuing an apology over how it handled it’s press releases regarding the new brand.
    Many students have felt that the public posts and statements from SUSU/Us. have been ‘attacking’ the university population.

    For example, from your YouTube video explaining the new brand you state that ‘You’re responsible for the design you’re about to see’ as if the brand design is 100% the decision of the union. I hope you can see how this statement could of been better phrased, for example; ‘We used your responses from the rebranding survey and worked with a professional brand design agency to create a brand that we believe best represents the union’


  10. benfranklin
    Ben Franklin
    18/05/2016 at 3:00 pm Permalink

    Hi Jake,

    The video timing was unfortunate – it was filmed before all the controversy, and what I meant was that students had been directly involved in the creation and conception of the new design. It could definitely have been phrased better, and that is squarely my responsibility.

    Please know that our intent is never to attack, I think often tone gets lost online – what is typed innocently as a question can look facetious or accusatory when stripped of tone or facial expression, and we’re double checking things before they go out now to make sure that our tone isn’t misunderstood. I’m genuinely trying to engage with people in discussion about the new brand, not shut down dissent, and I hope that this carries across better from now on.


  11. benfranklin
    17/05/2016 at 3:33 pm Permalink

    Hi Ben, I recently gathered a group of 33 students and we had a look over what is currently available of the not-yet-fully-launched rebrand. Before I continue I will say that I am completely impartial the the rebrand decision. I have no strong opinion either way as at the end of the day it is a rebrand and unlikely to affect my student experience substantially. I write now to inform you of the opinions and questions that were raised during our seminar in hope that you could answer and respond. Hopefully this can benefit us both. Firstly, the general consensus of the “mock up” posters is that they look very slick and modern, really attractive. However most also commented that this aesthetic did not translate well onto the big white signs in campus which instead look quite plain and less than eye-catching. Our first question is, will there be more added to the campus signs before the official launch? Those who said it was plain were inclined to reserve judgement if there is more to the signs. The main point of conversation was “The Stag’s” sign. Most said that they had preferred the name “The Stag’s Head” as it gave the pub some grandeur, akin to traditional pub names like “The King’s Head”. Also (this is not an opinion) the sign no longer makes grammatical sense. We understand that “The Stag’s” is the colloquial term used almost unanimously in speech and may be an attempt to be less formal. But we felt that the sign to the pub was not the place to display colloquialism, in 4 or 5 years the student who never knew it was called The Stag’s Head may only see the incorrect grammar and say “The Stag’s what?”. I exaggerate of course (surely the sign is THE place to display the name as opposed to the nickname people have for it). So we ask; are there any plans to place the word “Head” onto the pub sign? The final question we have is; what is the importance/symbolism of the period at the end of “Us.”? Considering it is quite large and does’t serve a punctuative purpose, does it represent something or is it just a stylistic feature with no meaning? Hopefully you can answer these questions and discuss/consider our opinions among your other elected peers. Thanks in advance. From John and the “Building 46 posse” (you know who you are).

  12. benfranklin
    Ben Franklin
    18/05/2016 at 2:57 pm Permalink

    Hi John,

    I’m glad you like the new brand! Regarding the Stag’s Head, the old sign didn’t say ‘The Stag’s Head’ and nor does the new one – a noteworthy similar brand is ‘McDonald’s’ – I believe the idea is that the pub is the stag’s (head) pub. I appreciate your point though… I’ll confirm and react appropriately when this is clear to me too!

  13. benfranklin
    17/05/2016 at 5:02 pm Permalink

    The branding is ugly. The name is bad. Honestly is was a huge mistake

  14. benfranklin
    18/05/2016 at 2:30 pm Permalink

    Your new brand is really good.
    Our council has chosen wisely.
    Under this new name we’ll have a great union.
    Really good initiative.
    Engaging to say the least.

    At least we won’t have to see that horrible purple everywhere.

    Can’t wait to see it come into action.
    Us is a cool name too.
    Nobody will have a better Union.
    Thanks Ben.

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