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The brand strategy forms a foundation for positioning the University of Kentucky in the marketplace and informs a smart and compelling creative platform. Additionally, it’s a tool that should be consulted as we develop marketing plans, campaigns and initiatives.

This is how we tell our story.

Achieve more...

• It is bold and confident — it gives UK a little swagger

• It defines UK’s unique value and ROI

• Achievement is connected to what students want from a college experience (it’s relevant)

...through grace and grit

• It speaks to our unique way of delivering our education (it’s rare)

• It is authentic to UK (it’s real)

• It resonates emotionally

Our Audiences

Our audiences can be grouped in many ways. As you seek to engage with each group, the ideas that you prioritize can fluctuate, based on the purpose of the communication — like increasing awareness, building reputation or fundraising.

For this part of our brand strategy, we have segmented UK’s audiences by their actions and their broad communication interests.

The Wildcat Community is our most internally focused audience. These are the people who live the UK experience and advocate on its behalf.

  • Trustees
  • Current students and families
  • Faculty
  • Staff and administration

The Extended Community is an external audience with strong connections to UK. They have strong levels of awareness and drive our reputation.

  • Alumni
  • Current donors
  • Employers of UK alumni
  • Lexington residents
  • Wildcat fans and the Big Blue Nation

Future Wildcats are the center of why we continue to do what we do. They inspire what our university will look like in the future and the purpose it will serve.

  • Current high school students (domestic and international)
  • Parents and families of prospective students
  • Prospective graduate students (at the broadest level)
  • High school guidance counselors and coaches

The Public is our most external audience. Their awareness levels may vary, but they’re critical to gauging our national reputation.

  • Peer institutions
  • Press and media
  • Nationally based employers
  • Prospective donors
  • Elected local, state and national officials
  • Kentucky and beyond


Brand Essence

Our brand essence is how we want to be thought of in the minds of our most important audiences. It’s not what we are or how we express it; it’s about what we want people to remember when they walk away.

Our brand essence articulates what we’re all here to do. This is the commitment we make individually and deliver collectively.

The University of Kentucky ignites the passion within, by empowering all Wildcats with the heart to step up and the will to press on, so that together, we can be a powerhouse for change.

Messaging Map

Brand Personality

Our brand personality defines what it feels like to interact with our university. It conveys our attitude and character to our target audiences.

Simply put, it’s the personification of our brand.

Keep the sentiment of the following traits in mind when crafting communications.

Some of them will be dialed up or toned down, depending on the topic, audience and channel.


Because UK is...


Our doors are always wide open. We are generous and always think of others first.


We encourage all students to embrace their journeys toward a life of greater satisfaction and meaning.


We are purposeful and motivated. We continue to move forward despite obstacles.


We are proud of our tenacious spirit and where our roots allow us to grow.


Our communications will feel...


Warm and genuine. There is a real human heart beating beneath the surface, and our audiences should feel it.


Essential to the betterment of society. The stakes are high, and we’re fulfilling a fundamental need in the world.


Diligent and steadfast in overcoming obstacles. We have drive and determination. We never give up when there is work to be done.


Taking significant strides. We do things that are worth noting and worth talking about.


As a brand, the University of Kentucky has a lot to say. So when we say it, we must consider both what we’re saying (our message) and how we say it (our voice). Our voice is the distillation of our personality and the personification of our identity. It forms the emotional core of our brand and helps us reach our audiences.

These voice guidelines are designed to help all of our communications speak and write with one voice. The goal: No matter who is speaking or writing, our audiences will hear a human at the heart of our messages, and every piece of communication we create on the university’s behalf will sound and feel unmistakably like UK.

Creative Platform

What it is

It’s a shorthand for our brand expression. “Wildly Possible” is the platform that enables us to tell our stories in powerful, compelling ways. We have a lot of stories that we want to tell about the University of Kentucky, and “Wildly Possible” is the lens through which we’ll tell those stories. It gives our messages and our stories focus.

How to use it

It’s most effective when used to pay off another thought or idea. What it is we’re making wildly possible. It’s not intended to be used all alone, or locked up with our logo, or without context.

What it means

“Wildly Possible” helps us communicate the strategy behind our brand: “Achieve more through grace and grit.” It illustrates some of the unique things that UK brings together.



The way we push our students to explore further.

The grit it takes to persevere and prevail.

The goals and aspirations our students bring.

The lengths we’ll go to in search of answers and solutions.

The commitment, hard work and determination that runs through all we do.

The Wildcat spirit that makes us who we are.


The way our community pulls together and never gives up.

The grace with which we rise to every occasion.

The opportunities we create that enable students to succeed.

The greater understanding and new paths forward that we find.

The supportive network that enables us all to be our best.

The Kentucky pride that reminds us why we are here.

Brand Narrative

You’ll come to the University of Kentucky because you want to see what’s possible.

From across our Commonwealth and our nation, from around the world, and from every walk of life, people come here for lots of different reasons. Although we bring a diversity of perspectives, there’s one thing that unites us:

The limitless possibilities we find here.

Here, you’ll find what drives you, because you’ll have the support of a community that never gives up on you.

You’ll find what ignites you, because you’ll be part of a hardworking culture, with dedicated faculty who drive you to greater success.

And you’ll find what inspires you, when you see the impact you can have when you’re empowered to stand up and speak out.

Because here, you matter.

At UK, this is what we make possible. This is where you’ll find all the things you’ll need to do all the things you never thought you could.

Here is where you’ll chase wild ideas, knowing they could light the way forward.

Where you’ll explore your wildest ambitions, as you find opportunities you never realized were out there.

And where you’ll uncover the wildest notion of all: That you’ve found yourself in a place where everything is achievable and nothing is out of reach.

When your goals are wildly ambitious, in a community that’s wildly strong, and with a commitment that’s wildly powerful, you’ll see what’s wildly possible.