Ben Franklin


20 May 2016 16:30

Rebrand Week 1: Looking back!

First, I want to thank you all for being so patient with me this week. As with most things I’ve done this year as a Sabb, this has been an enormous learning curve, and I’d like to thank you all who have made your points calmly and clearly and given me a chance to engage in a dialogue about them – in most cases where this has happened, we’ve reached at the very least an understanding, and in many cases we’ve come to really positive agreements.

I stand by the notion that the rebranding consultation was good enough, and accept that I could in hindsight have done more to make it much better, but I believe as leader of the Union that rebranding was the best choice, especially viewed next to the many other improvements made this year. I appreciate and have truly taken to heart all the criticisms and comments about it and against me this week. Now there are things you want to know and actions you want to see… and in a very positive way, that is what this blog is for!

What did people want to know?

A lot of people had questions about the brand review – where it came from, where it’s going, whose idea it was. I’ve answered these questions on You Make Change, I’ve done a Q&A that you can watch live-streams of here and (part of) here, and I’ve talked about it on our Surge Radio show which you can listen back to here – I don’t want these to be the only places you can find out info, and I’m sure many of you don’t have 90 minutes to spare to watch the Q&A, so I’m continuing to answer questions by email (, on You-Make-Change, and by Facebook message on my Pres Facebook. My absolute preference is face to face – the Q&A showed this is the most effective way of having discourse about the brand review.

Please please do get in touch if you have questions, as I’ve said in the talks there’s no part of this that I want to hide. I acknowledge that the process that led to this rebrand has come under fire, including my ability to connect with students which seems to form a large part of the controversy so far, and there are a few things I want to do to tackle that, including…

Stop talking, start doing and learning

Issues like the brand are big and important, and it’s opened up a dialogue on the smaller issues too. Next week, I will hold two events on Redbrick to address two of the biggest things we’ve heard about the Union post rebrand – that lots of the small stuff is broken, and that we should better understand  the ‘average student’ (not that I believe this is as simple as one ‘average’). On Thursday and Friday from 12pm, I’ll be on Redbrick with some creative campaigns to get to know our students better.

The first will directly address this comment. Come along, get a free caricature, and while you’re being drawn lets have a chat so you can tell me what the average student means to you – are you an average student? Is there only one ‘average’? What are your concerns and desires from the Union and the University?

The second will be to get your thoughts (no surveys, don’t worry) on the small things the Union gets wrong that you want it to get right – grab a slice of cake, and when you’re done leave me a message on the plate – things like ‘I don’t know who my course reps are,’ or ‘I don’t know who makes decisions’ to name just a few that came out from this week. As well as the big things, it’s the small things that effect you on a daily basis and we need to look at these as much the bigger ones too.

And here’s the brand report

A lot of people have been asking to see the outcome of the survey that led to the decision to undergo a rebrand. Here is the report that Holden’s produced for us from the survey. The complexity of the data shows why we felt the need to bring in experts! As with all surveys and data, the usefulness lies in the interpretation, and what you take from the data is the important part.

I’ll be honest, one of the hardest jobs as President is making big decisions like this based on the evidence I have. That requires judgements to be made and actions to be taken using the best advice available. If another President was sitting where I am this year, listening to the same facts and opinions, they may have made a different call, but I am happy that I made the best decision I could for the Union, and I’m still excited to see where this all goes.

Petition functionality

Petition functionality will be available on the website under ‘You Make Change’ from Monday. It’s taken a few days to get it right, but obviously it’s vital that we do. The functionality will be live on You Make Change from Monday.

If you missed the Q&A, I discussed my views on the referendum – I’ll be honest with you, I don’t believe it’s the best thing for the Union now. If there is demand, of course we will have one – but at this stage I don’t think it will be constructive. What is clear is that the democratic processes we’ve had to work with this year are not up to ask, and that is why I’m so enthusiastic about the democracy review alongside all the other great stuff we’ve got planned for next year.


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4 Comments on "Rebrand Week 1: Looking back!"

  1. benfranklin
    20/05/2016 at 5:38 pm Permalink

    Whilst the launch of the brand was a textbook example of how not to launch a brand, along with the poor handling of social media backlash (mainly on twitter), this week has been very constructive and I personally feel that the Union has realised that transparency and openness is always the best policy.

    There has been a record number of engagements with You Make Change and people are actually talking about the Union for once. Whilst not all of the things said have been positive I think that the Sabbs have really had to earn their money this week and this is a good thing.

    Thank you, Ben, for being honest with us and allowing yourself to be held accountable – it can’t have been easy! Let next year’s Sabb team learn from this and hopefully we will see more positive interaction with the Union!

  2. benfranklin
    20/05/2016 at 5:40 pm Permalink

    Wait a second, the survey said that only 9.6% of students didn’t like the name ‘SUSU’ so why change it?

  3. benfranklin
    22/05/2016 at 3:02 am Permalink

    “If you missed the Q&A, I discussed my views on the referendum – I’ll be honest with you, I don’t believe it’s the best thing for the Union now. If there is demand, of course we will have one – but at this stage I don’t think it will be constructive.”

    At the Q&A, there was A LOT of demand for a referendum and you agreed one would be arranged. So what needs to be done now to show “demand”? Ridiculous.

  4. benfranklin
    22/05/2016 at 10:19 pm Permalink

    Analysing fewer than 3000 responses to questions on a (very poorly worded) questionnaire doesn’t require an expert, it just requires someone who isn’t completely incompetent to make a questionnaire that asks non-pointless questions.

    Only a business consultant who’d managed to stick their head so far up their own arse that they’d come back out of their mouth and turned inside out would think asking about ‘what kind of animal susu would be?’ or ‘how fast it could run’ could provide useful information. It’s a bloody students union, not a competition to find the most appropriate pet for Usain Bolt.

    Here’s an idea. If you want to know whether or not people want to change the name, why not just ask:
    SHOULD SUSU CHANGE ITS NAME? Yes / No / Don’t mind.

    If you’d like to find out whether people would be up for changing the logo, try this:
    SHOULD SUSU CHANGE ITS LOGO? Yes / No / Don’t mind.

    If (and only if) the answers to the questions suggest that a sizeable proportion of students would like to change the name and/or logo, the next step is to invite suggestions from students. An entirely student sourced design is what real student involvement looks like. Besides, we have an entire campus of students whose degrees are entirely based around creatively designing things, so it’s almost guaranteed that there’d be a few very professional ideas. Whittle them down to 2 or 3 challengers via a facebook poll or something, and then have a second questionnaire:
    1) If we decide to change name / logo, which option is your preference?
    2) …and should we change?

    Then do what people vote for. It really isn’t a difficult concept. I’d be very surprised if you genuinely thought that some “experts” with no connection to the student body could come up with something that represents students better than the students themselves. Even if the branding “experts” didn’t cost thousands of pounds, they’d still be the worse option. The only thing that this re-brand has achieved is to reinforce the idea that susu/us/whoeveryouare is just a soulless corporate entity, where students are customers rather than members.

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