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USF to add 'Tampa Bay' in new branding efforts

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 09:37 AM
TAMPA -

It's not clear where you'll see it yet, but "Tampa Bay" will soon be added to "University of South Florida" to pinpoint its location in new branding efforts.

In a story on its website announcing the move, USF notes that many people associate "South Florida" with a region well below Tampa Bay – Miami-Dade, even, at the peninsula's southeastern tip.

Surveys of national reputation, USF says, show people outside the state confuse the acronyms for Florida's universities: USF, FSU, UCF, FAU and FIU.

The new effort doesn't change the university's name or official logo.

"You have to think of the phrase 'Tampa Bay' as being more of a tweak, or a tag line to the university's official name," said Michael Hoad, USF's vice president for communications.

"We have to get past the confusion people have when they read 'South Florida.' "

A task force Hoad appointed this fall to examine USF's national reputation endorsed branding USF as part of the Tampa Bay region with the phrase, "USF IS Tampa Bay."

A billboard was erected on Fowler Avenue west of the campus to test the brand.

The new tag line was developed primarily for the Tampa campus, Hoad said.

USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee already use a geographic reference, and the Lakeland campus carries the brand Polytechnic.

"This is not a push to change the official name of university or the official logo," Hoad said. "But we want to be clear and accurate on where USF is located."

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