Spotlight on Neil Rodger
30 May 2013
This week the spotlight is on Neil Rodger, UCL Communications and Brand Manager.
What is your role and what does it involve?
My role is fairly varied. I help to ensure that UCL is communicated positively to the people that we’re trying to reach and that our profile remains high.
My role also involves managing the UCL visual identity and trying to ensure that UCL’s communications all look consistent, regardless of where in the university they’ve come from. This has been a real challenge as social media and video come to the fore and various tablets and smartphones flood the market. We’ve had to be very adaptable.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have unbelievably/worryingly (delete as appropriate) been at UCL for nearly six years. I began in the communications department as a Corporate Communications Officer, based over in Tottenham Court Road.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
UCL is a really unique place, with a culture that is – rightly, in my opinion – often resistant to anything seen as ‘corporate’ or overly restrictive. With that in mind, I’ve been fairly pleased with how, over time, people
in the UCL community have begun to understand the need to represent the
amazing work that goes on here in a consistent and clear way to the
In an organisation where words like ‘branding’ are not welcome, it’s been a challenge to manage and explain the work I’m doing, while also ensuring that we keep up with our peers and competitors and retain a high profile among the people we need to reach.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I have just finished a review of the UCL visual identity. The process involved more than 50 hours of discussion with colleagues from across the organisation to get a sense of what was working, what was not working and how we could make it easier and clearer for people to use and implement. This has resulted in clearer guidelines and a new visual identity website (password required).
The new site clearly explains the visual identity and has all the artwork to download, but it also has a range of easy-to-use templates ranging from websites and presentations to event invitations and business cards. It has been designed in response to the huge volume of people who mentioned that more templates and clearer guidance would be useful.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
This changes on a daily basis, but right now:
Album – A Nation of Millions by Public Enemy
Film – Life of Brian
Book – I really enjoyed Keith Richard’s autobiography, but I’ll say Albert Camus’ The Outsider, to sound clever.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
It’s a Tim Vine joke: “I rang up my local swimming baths. I said, 'Is that the local swimming baths?' He said, 'It depends where you're calling from.'”
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
My fiancée and my family, but failing that: Dean Martin, Muhammed Ali, Jack Nicholson and Solly from the UCL shop. I’d also invite Simon Cowell, purely so I could make him sit in another room and think about what he’s done.
What advice would you give your younger self?
An Englishman has no business wearing a baseball cap.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
Despite the fact it’s in my job title, I dislike the word ‘brand’ as much as the next person. Also, I work with a local charity, Haringey Stars, in a voluntary role (so please remember that next time you’re calling up to give me stick about the UCL logo).