By Thato Phalole – 20 September 2021
Describing herself as a naturally loud and outspoken person, Tisch Farrell, Marketing & Brand Manager at the Vaal University of Technology, is yet to make one of her biggest marks at VUT.
She was born in Alberton and lived in the Vaal Triangle from the age of two. She attended both primary and secondary school in Sasolburg. She is a happily married woman with two lovely daughters. She met her husband on the VUT campus who was the Student Representative Council (SRC) President at that point in 1991. Her deep affection for animals was the driving force behind her decision to become a vegetarian. She further describes herself as a person who has a soft spot for people who are judged by society-based on their life preferences and the choices they make. “We should practice SELF LOVE and GOODWILL in our everyday walk of life.” she says.
Her journey at VUT began as a student, in 1989. In 1993, she was elected as the first female Chairperson of the Social Portfolio of the SRC. Thereafter, she finished her Bachelor in Technology (B.Tech) in Public Relations Management in 1995. She was also an intern in the Public Relations Department. Her journey continued when she sought for and was appointed to the role of Public Relations Practitioner on a permanent basis. As a result, she has proudly served VUT for 28 years.
Branding has never been her passion, however her passion grew with time at VUT. As a then Public Relations Practitioner, she noticed that staff, students and service providers would write the VUT’s name in different fonts and use any shade of blue they would get their hands on. She then realized with all the different versions of VUT, they would never establish a strong brand as it is confusing to customers. “It was perceived as if we, ourselves, do not know who we are and was experiencing an identity crisis. I could not live with that reality and then started working on a Corporate Identity Manual for the institution, whilst I was doing Events Management. I then established a network of representatives amongst staff and students called Brand’dors whom I workshopped on the use of the Corporate Identity Manual to educate staff and students.” she says. Her love for branding emerged as she developed curiosity on why customers choose one product or service over another and she has never looked back since.
Her best personal achievement was when her application for the position of a Marketing & Brand Manager was granted by Council in 2004. She recently completed her Bachelor of Arts Honours in Strategic Brand Communication at Vega School of Brand Leadership in South Africa and graduated on 5 August 2021. She further highlights that, being part of VUT’s 50th anniversary and spearheading the rebranding project, as her proudest moment at VUT. Like most people, she has encountered obstacles, but she believes that life is a continuous learning experience and therefore she says “it is not about what happens to you, but how you deal with it and allow it to influence you.”
Tisch Farrell believes that women are natural nurturers and more inclined to a spirit of Ubuntu, thus her great support for women taking on leadership duties. “The boardroom does not have to be a ruthless place with an attitude of ’we take no prisoners’, it can be a place where we strive towards mutual understanding by being tolerant, respectful and conduct business with a sense of ‘love thy neighbour’” she boldly says.
Any form of disability inspires her. Her mind is blown by a disabled person’s fortitude and perseverance in operating in “our normal” environment and normalizing it for themselves in order to function normally.
With VUT approaching an enormous rebranding change, she gives us a sneak peek on what to anticipate for the future:
“Stakeholders should understand that a brand is not just a pretty brand mark and tagline. That is just the face of the institution. A brand is much deeper than that. It is exactly like a person. It has personality, preferences on how it behaves and acts, values it lives by and a deep-rooted culture due to its heritage”. Rebranding is not just botox, it is surgery.
The new VUT brand, as a person is curious, ambitious and flexible. It lives by the values of excellence, creativity, mutual respect, collegiality, integrity, tolerance and diversity. The new VUT Inspires, Innovative, Action. It is a welcoming brand that connects with people on a personal level to meet their needs. It embraces the tagline: Inspiring thought. Shaping talent. Under the new VUT brand, we expect staff and students to join us with an expectation and a dream. You must join VUT with an attitude of thinking differently, and through that, shape your talent that will make your dreams come true.”