May 11, 2021

Malcolm Holmes: Heart of the Matter

One national search, two busy years, 10 auditioning firms, 6,000 consulted constituents.

UMW Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes has been leading the arduous effort to launch a new Mary Washington brand. Following nearly two years of research and consultations, rollout is just around the corner.

UMW Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes has been leading the effort to launch a new Mary Washington brand. After nearly two years of research, in collaboration with the Atlanta-based firm Mindpower, rollout is just around the corner.

Malcolm Holmes’ world is awash in data. As UMW’s director of marketing, he’s wrapped up in recruitment, advertising, web and social media content, photo and video shoots. And for many months, something else – new branding.

Honing in on the essence of UMW has been quite the process. Of the 10 firms that vied for the job, Holmes said, Atlanta-based Mindpower best aligned with Mary Washington’s mission and culture. A flurry of forums and focus groups, surveys and meetings, churned out a new brand – “Matter” – which President Paino shared with the Board of Visitors in February. More than a tagline, Holmes said, it’s an “accountability measure,” a “claim of distinction,” a “promise.”

“A guiding light for the stories and images we use to promote the university, and most importantly, in how we treat and speak to each other, our students and those we encounter each day. As members of the UMW community, we’re all representatives of the brand.”

When he came to Mary Washington in 2013, Holmes brought a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from VCU, a master’s in public relations from Norfolk State University and a wealth of experience. Director of marketing communications and public affairs, and special assistant to the president, at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, he’d earned a spot on the Reynolds Executive Cabinet.

You Matter. stickerSuccess, Holmes said, hinges on teamwork: “We cannot meet our marketing goals without collaboration across departments.” Nor if a pandemic puts the brakes on your project.

When the branding campaign resumed this winter, “the world looked a lot different,” he said, providing an “opportunity” to re-test and re-visit, make sure the effort was on the right track.

“A lot is happening behind the scenes right now,” said Holmes, who plans a brand rollout with new visuals, Web pages and admissions materials, plus a targeted advertising campaign. “We are extremely excited to begin this process!”

 

Q: What does “Matter” mean to you?
A: This project took me on a spiritual journey. So much has happened over the last year. It’s comforting to know that I’m part of an organization that’s making a difference. Just as the University as a whole matters, our individual contributions matter. We all matter! 

Q: Anythingfun” involved in the rollout?
A: A big celebration on Ball Circle the first week of fall classes with T-shirts and other surprises (if COVID protocols allow).

Sample advertisement guided by UMW's new brand, "Matter."

Sample advertisement guided by UMW’s new brand, “Matter.”

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: The collaboration. You cannot work in a silo and be successful in this business. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a mission-focused team that understands it takes all of us to make marketing magic.

Q: Most challenging?
A: Keeping up with innovations in digital marketing that seem to appear overnight.

Q: What’s the best thing on your desk?
A: A picture of my three kids – all young adults. They’re my motivation, my inspiration and my “on-call” focus group for anything related to social media!

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: Visiting Virginia wineries. There are more than 300 across the state.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I started attending Mary Washington when I was in high school. I came every summer as part of the Upward Bound program. Dr. Venitta McCall was the program director at the time. I credit her with setting me on the trajectory to be where I am in my career today.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: To whom much is given, much is required.

Flying Squirrels Baseball Tickets Available

1Are you ready for some baseball? Fredericksburg Night with the Richmond Flying Squirrels is Monday, August 19. The game starts at 6:45 p.m. and our own Dean Cedric Rucker will be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. University Relations has tickets available first-come, first-serve. Just stop by the UREL office in Eagle Village, Suite 300 to pick them up.

Flying Squirrels Baseball Tickets Available

Are you ready for some baseball? The Richmond Flying Squirrels organization presents Fredericksburg Nights starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8. UMW Human Resources has tickets available for faculty and staff first-come, first-serve. Contact HR at 654-1214 to reserve your tickets.

UMW Among Marine Corp Half Sponsors

Nearly 10,000 runners from 47 states and 10 countries recently made their way through the University of Mary Washington campus for the eighth annual 13.1-mile Historic Half, the Historic 10K or the Semper Fred 5K. University Relations, Advancement and Admissions staffers cheered the runners on and provided water at the Sunken Road water stop as they headed towards downtown Fredericksburg.

2014 Marine Corp Half Marathon Recap

2014-Marine-Corp-Half-4The University Marketing Office extends a sincere thank you to our wonderful faculty and staff volunteers who covered the UMW booth at the 2014 Marine Corps Historic Half Healthy Lifestyle Expo on Saturday, May 17. We also thank those of you who got up EARLY Sunday morning on May 18 to cheer on the runners at the Sunken Road waterstop. According to event organizers, approximately 7,545 runners completed the three distance events with each registering its second largest field of finishers in history. See you next year!

Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit

The Office of University Relations has unveiled to the campus community the completed Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit. This document replaces the Graphic Standards, which have been in use since 2004.

This toolkit has been developed over the course of many months, and it has been endorsed by President Hurley and approved by the Cabinet.

As you review the identity standards, please remember that first impressions occur in a multitude of formats. From print to electronic communications to online to social media, the manner by which we visually present the University of Mary Washington has a significant impact on how we are viewed by the public. As we communicate about the University, this publication will provide detailed guidelines for using our trademarked logos and other visual representations of the University.

This is a fluid document: changes should and will be made as situations dictate. In conjunction with release of these standards, President Hurley has appointed a Visual Identity and Brand Standards Committee, which will serve an oversight and compliance role. This committee will also consider any proposed changes to the standards. Current members include:

Anna Billingsley, chair
Erma Baker
Richard Finkelstein
Malcolm Holmes
Shelley Keith
Lou Martinette
AJ Newell
Clint Often
Anand Rao
Gregg Stull
Mark Thaden
Marty Wilder
Susan Worrell
Representative from Admissions
Representative from Student Activities
Student representative

By consistently following the guidelines outlined in the Toolkit, we can all help build a strong, unified image for the University of Mary Washington.

Should you have questions about the Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit, contact Anna Billingsley, Associate Vice President for University Relations, at (504) 654-1686 or abilling@umw.edu; or AJ Newell, Director of Design Services and Brand Coordinator, at (540) 654-1934 or anewell@umw.edu.

The Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit is a PDF file. You may download it here.