At The Center of it All
The South Dakota Board of Regents established the USDSU campus in Sioux Falls to help USD in Vermillion, SDSU in Brookings and DSU in Madison bring educational programs to non-traditional students in the state’s largest city. In 2006, the Board of Regents changed the name from USDSU to South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center. The long moniker left consumers looking for ways to shorten the name. Thus, L&S was hired to help guide the process and the University Center brand was born.
In the first semester after the launch, University Center’s fall enrollment increased by more than 3%.
The L&S team conducted several discovery sessions with University Center leaders to understand key attributes and set branding goals. A primary goal was to improve visibility and brand recognition. The L&S team then facilitated the strategic 5280 sessions with stakeholders to determine the brand’s core essence and ensure all marketing efforts live up to what UC promises its core customers.
From there, we took the current target audiences and created personality profiles giving each group a person. We researched competitor and industry trends to understand the internal and external forces affecting UC’s business. The research led the way for a logo update, a refreshed color palette and design overhaul to appeal to the key audience. These efforts gave University Center a more hip vibe and were helpful in recruiting potential students and allowing UC to stand apart from the rest of its competition.
To finalize the brand overhaul, the concluding element was the addition of the positioning line – “At the Center of it All.” We wanted University Center’s messaging to convey an emotional connection with the audience, while telling the brand story by emphasizing the word ‘center.’ UC is truly at the center of it all - literally by location and quality of life conveniences, and also in a figurative sense.
Finally, once the rebranding was complete, we implemented the media strategy guaranteeing our new brand would reach our clearly defined target audiences. To ensure this, the mediums chosen to deliver the fresh message were as unique as our newly established brand personality. We incorporated non-traditional as well as social media advertising since that is how our main target audience prefers to receive their messaging.
In the first semester after the launch of the rebranding in June 2009, University Center’s fall enrollment increased by more than 3%. A research recall/perception study is scheduled for fall 2010 to further measure the rebranding success.