Beginning back in April 2019, the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) embarked on a districtwide rebranding project, which included brand identity projects for each of the district’s schools. During the Dec. 10 meeting of the OLSD Board of Education, Chief Communications Officer Krista Davis updated the board on where those efforts currently stand, and what’s next for the district.
Brand identities for all the district’s elementary and preschools were launched in August. The goal of the elementary branding development process was to create an identity specific to each elementary school so students would build school pride, Davis said in September. Now, all elementary schools have implemented their new brands and are fully engaged with them, she said last week.
Each school had its own brand project team, which consisted of administrators, teachers and parents. Students’ voices were also considered via shared thoughts during small group sessions. Three mascot ideas were submitted by each brand project team, which were then reviewed by the Olentangy district leadership team before making a final decision and sending that decision to Cult Marketing for sketches of the mascots and logos.
Parameters for the elementary brands included an animal or insect serving as the mascot, alliteration with nicknames if possible, and a secondary color that would compliment the Olentangy blue found throughout the district.
Projects at the middle and high school levels have solicited student input on what the nicknames of their schools mean to them. Middle schools are preparing to reveal their brands the week of Jan. 18, and the details will be shared at the Jan. 27 board meeting. Work on the middle school brands began in April, and the first sketches were evaluated beginning in September.
As the middle school committees have wrapped up their work, the four high school brand committees are now beginning their work this week, Davis said. One of the top goals for the high schools is to reimage them in order to address the Native American imagery used at some schools. While the imagery used in logos is expected to change, schools will retain their nicknames and colors. In the September update on the process, Davis said the targeted completion timeline for the high school projects is in the spring.
During the Dec. 10 meeting, Davis also announced the district’s licensing program, which had been in the works dating back to the summer. In June, she told The Gazette of the need for the district to distance itself from several trademark infringements that exist throughout the district, which has also prevented the district from being able to license logos and sell merchandise.
“The purpose of this program is to really provide that consistency to protect our logos and marks across the district and begin to create a new revenue stream for us,” Davis said Thursday.
Davis added that the licensing program will help the district in partnering with vendors and others in the community interfacing with the school district. With the board’s approval, the district has entered into an agreement with K12 Licensing, a company that specializes in K-12 school licensing. Davis said K12 has a three-pronged approach with its clients that includes protecting the brand, promoting the brand, and profiting from the brand.
Davis said K12 Licensing has “many connections with top manufacturers around the country,” which bodes well for the district’s ability to begin selling licensed merchandise in the future. As part of the licensing agreement, booster clubs and local businesses will be exempt from the program.