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The Making of a Brand

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 6.21.26 PM

Photo credit: Hunter Abney

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 6.21.26 PM
Written by: Mikaela ConleyDecember 14, 2017

By: Mikaela Conley

The last semester of IPFW begins in January,  and the first glimpses of Purdue University Fort Wayne black and gold are starting to shine through on campus.

The IPFW marketing communications team has already begun to take steps to prepare for the switch.

“Everyone is preparing things in anticipation of this. … But there’s a lot that goes into it,” said Kathryn Hopkins, interim director of marketing and lead marketing specialist for the university.

The marketing department began over the summer by contracting with SimpsonScarborough $80,000 to “conduct market research regarding the branding of the institution,” according to a Nov. 8 statement released by the university.

“The research included collecting qualitative and quantitative data, conducting communications audits, and reviewing secondary data to provide a thorough understanding of our current brand. This fall, SimpsonScarborough continued their work with us to assist in developing our core brand strategy, positioning and targeted messaging that will drive our future marketing objectives and branding efforts,” according to the statement.

The group interviewed current and prospective students as well as faculty and staff, alumni and community members on their thoughts and feelings regarding many different aspects of the university to look at who IPFW is now and who it needs to be as Purdue Fort Wayne, Hopkins said. Among many questions the interviewers asked: “What are we known for now?” and “What will people say?” along with what the challenges would be with the colors and the mascot.

And Hopkins said they found that the people who are most passionate about the colors are current students and faculty and staff, not prospective students. Therefore, following the research, the university announced Nov. 8 that the colors of the university will be changed from Mastodon white and blue to Purdue black and gold.

The university response to the color change and use of SimpsonScarborough, a company out of Virginia instead of Fort Wayne, has been mixed, but Hopkins said she is looking forward to the result of both.

“I understand the emotional connection that blue and white has. Two (of my) sisters and my mom graduated from IPFW so there is a connection there that people get when you are passionate about anything that you love the most you get emotionally connected to that thing and it belongs to you in your heart,” she said.

However, from a marketing standpoint, she said, black and gold just makes sense.

“A house of brands can be very powerful. And the equity that Purdue University brings, not just nationwide but internationally, is something that we can leverage and get better at,” Hopkins said. “It might take us a little bit to ramp up and get there because something like this is a long process and it’s a journey but it’s going to be amazing and I’m very excited.”

While Hopkins and her team continued inue to make announcements and changes, she said the Mastodon mascot will remain the same.

Furthermore, an announcement is expected early the week of Dec. 11 as to who the agency to work on developing the official brand will be.

Hopkins said a large focus for them will be bringing continuity and a consistent message to the brand of PFW. Her team will serve as brand ambassadors making sure everything created on campus coincides with the brand.

Yet they are still working on what is needed for the university right now, while preparing for the future.

A future, which is not yet set in stone.

Hopkins and her team will eventually have to work on everything from university signage to emails, I.D. badges, nametags and much more. However, Hopkins’ team, along with the admissions office, are faced with the challenge of preparing for the opening of and recruiting for a new university in June, while waiting on approval of the split and new name by the Higher Learning Commission.

Despite needing this approval to officially launch the now interim brand, the admissions office has already launched an admissions microsite, purdueipfw.edu, for prospective students being recruited.

“The university’s website is still branded, coded, and all things IPFW so this site allows students who know little to nothing or something about us the visual, the energy, the feel, and the look of Purdue University Fort Wayne,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Admissions told The Communicator in November.

The microsite is currently serving as an admissions portal where prospective students can apply, visit and learn more about PFW.

This issue can be seen as either a challenge or a blessing to the university, which has seen an about 13 percent decline in enrollment since last fall. While admissions numbers have actually remained steady, the office is taking other steps to do its part in fighting dropping enrollment.

“We are employing and utilizing all the traditional methods and means of recruitment … college fairs, email and mail campaigns, high school visitation, media … ,” Christmon said.

The university will also be offering a new Purdue Fort Wayne scholarship to incoming freshmen and will be using the Midwest Student Exchange Program which allows students in a regional proximity out of state the opportunity to attend the university and pay only 150 percent of the rate of tuition compared to 200 percent, Christmon said.

“Some students want the Purdue brand … . We are a viable option and those students are going to come (and) going to get the Purdue experience but it’s going to be very uniquely Fort Wayne,” Christmon said.

“SimpsonScarborough is one of the leading national agencies for this type of research (and) they deal primarily with higher education,” Hopkins said. “While people talk about the budget that was spent, I will tell you that we got it at a great advantage. … We got it at a bargain.”

Hopkins also said she understands why people would be upset about the colors.

“SimpsonScarborough is one of the leading national agencies for this type of research (and) they deal primarily with higher education,” Hopkins said. “While people talk about the budget that was spent, I will tell you that we got it at a great advantage. … We got it at a bargain.”

Hopkins also said she understands why people would be upset about the colors.

“I understand the emotional connection that blue and white has. Two (of my) sisters and my mom graduated from IPFW so there is a connection there that people get when you are passionate about anything that you love the most you get emotionally connected to that thing and it belongs to you in your heart,” she said.

However, from a marketing standpoint, she said, black and gold just makes sense.

“A house of brands can be very powerful. And the equity that Purdue University brings, not just nationwide but internationally, is something that we can leverage and get better at,” Hopkins said. “It might take us a little bit to ramp up and get there because something like this is a long process and it’s a journey but it’s going to be amazing and I’m very excited.”

While Hopkins and her team continued inue to make announcements and changes, she said the Mastodon mascot will remain the same.

Furthermore, an announcement is expected early the week of Dec. 11 as to who the agency to work on developing the official brand will be.

Hopkins said a large focus for them will be bringing continuity and a consistent message to the brand of PFW. Her team will serve as brand ambassadors making sure everything created on campus coincides with the brand.

Yet they are still working on what is needed for the university right now, while preparing for the future.

A future, which is not yet set in stone.

Hopkins and her team will eventually have to work on everything from university signage to emails, I.D. badges, nametags and much more. However, Hopkins’ team, along with the admissions office, are faced with the challenge of preparing for the opening of and recruiting for a new university in June, while waiting on approval of the split and new name by the Higher Learning Commission.

Despite needing this approval to officially launch the now interim brand, the admissions office has already launched an admissions microsite, purdueipfw.edu, for prospective students being recruited.

“The university’s website is still branded, coded, and all things IPFW so this site allows students who know little to nothing or something about us the visual, the energy, the feel, and the look of Purdue University Fort Wayne,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Admissions told The Communicator in November.

The microsite is currently serving as an admissions portal where prospective students can apply, visit and learn more about PFW.

This issue can be seen as either a challenge or a blessing to the university, which has seen an about 13 percent decline in enrollment since last fall. While admissions numbers have actually remained steady, the office is taking other steps to do its part in fighting dropping enrollment.

“We are employing and utilizing all the traditional methods and means of recruitment … college fairs, email and mail campaigns, high school visitation, media … ,” Christmon said.

The university will also be offering a new Purdue Fort Wayne scholarship to incoming freshmen and will be using the Midwest Student Exchange Program which allows students in a regional proximity out of state the opportunity to attend the university and pay only 150 percent of the rate of tuition compared to 200 percent, Christmon said.

“Some students want the Purdue brand … . We are a viable option and those students are going to come (and) going to get the Purdue experience but it’s going to be very uniquely Fort Wayne,” Christmon said.

“SimpsonScarborough is one of the leading national agencies for this type of research (and) they deal primarily with higher education,” Hopkins said. “While people talk about the budget that was spent, I will tell you that we got it at a great advantage. … We got it at a bargain.”

 

Hopkins also said she understands why people would be upset about the colors.

 

“I understand the emotional connection that blue and white has. Two (of my) sisters and my mom graduated from IPFW so there is a connection there that people get when you are passionate about anything that you love the most you get emotionally connected to that thing and it belongs to you in your heart,” she said.

 

However, from a marketing standpoint, she said, black and gold just makes sense.

 

“A house of brands can be very powerful. And the equity that Purdue University brings, not just nationwide but internationally, is something that we can leverage and get better at,” Hopkins said. “It might take us a little bit to ramp up and get there because something like this is a long process and it’s a journey but it’s going to be amazing and I’m very excited.”

 

While Hopkins and her team continued inue to make announcements and changes, she said the Mastodon mascot will remain the same.

 

Furthermore, an announcement is expected early the week of Dec. 11 as to who the agency to work on developing the official brand will be.

 

Hopkins said a large focus for them will be bringing continuity and a consistent message to the brand of PFW. Her team will serve as brand ambassadors making sure everything created on campus coincides with the brand.

 

Yet they are still working on what is needed for the university right now, while preparing for the future.

 

A future, which is not yet set in stone.

 

Hopkins and her team will eventually have to work on everything from university signage to emails, I.D. badges, nametags and much more. However, Hopkins’ team, along with the admissions office, are faced with the challenge of preparing for the opening of and recruiting for a new university in June, while waiting on approval of the split and new name by the Higher Learning Commission.

 

Despite needing this approval to officially launch the now interim brand, the admissions office has already launched an admissions microsite, purdueipfw.edu, for prospective students being recruited.

 

“The university’s website is still branded, coded, and all things IPFW so this site allows students who know little to nothing or something about us the visual, the energy, the feel, and the look of Purdue University Fort Wayne,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Admissions told The Communicator in November.

 

The microsite is currently serving as an admissions portal where prospective students can apply, visit and learn more about PFW.

 

This issue can be seen as either a challenge or a blessing to the university, which has seen an about 13 percent decline in enrollment since last fall. While admissions numbers have actually remained steady, the office is taking other steps to do its part in fighting dropping enrollment.

 

“We are employing and utilizing all the traditional methods and means of recruitment … college fairs, email and mail campaigns, high school visitation, media … ,” Christmon said.

 

The university will also be offering a new Purdue Fort Wayne scholarship to incoming freshmen and will be using the Midwest Student Exchange Program which allows students in a regional proximity out of state the opportunity to attend the university and pay only 150 percent of the rate of tuition compared to 200 percent, Christmon said.

 

“Some students want the Purdue brand … . We are a viable option and those students are going to come (and) going to get the Purdue experience but it’s going to be very uniquely Fort Wayne,” Christmon said.

 

 

“As a former athlete it kind of feels like this is taking away from the school’s identity. I have a lot of pride in being from Fort Wayne and playing for Fort Wayne and having the blue and white. It makes it feel like it’s our own school and not just Purdue.”

- Dru Sebastia, Masters in Organizational Leadership

“I am not a fan because I just fled from the ugly black and gold of

Purdue just to get forced into it again. Plus, the bank I work at had pretty colors but now it’s back to black and gold, so I feel like I can’t escape. I don’t like it.”

- Jillian Rich, Sophomore, Undecided

“I love the blue and white but there’s not much we can do about it. We’ll represent Fort Wayne with the colors that they assign us. These are just changes we have to get used to and try to get used to them. The blue and white make us unique.”

- Pelegrin Vargas, Business management

“I think this is something that’s us of our control and there’s not much we can do about it at this point … I think I would prefer to keep it blue and white though. The community has always been blue and white and ever since I’ve heard of this school it has been super prideful about its colors especially the blue.”

- Kimberly Flores, Junior, Biology

“I am very sad about this. I love going to IPFW and I have always liked our colors. I feel like it makes us unique from the other IU and Purdue schools by having our own colors and mascot. Now that we are transitioning to their colors I feel like IPFW won’t feel like IPFW anymore.”

- Michelle Calloway