Kansas State University

Snapping Stereotypes For Reputation Equity Growth


Kansas State University needed something new to grow awareness and reputation.  The task was to competitively elevate the University into difficult-to-forget status, to increase the reputation and influence of the institution, prompt investment and giving, and grow demand from new audiences.


We were enlisted to create a big idea, one easily understood and forever memorable, capable ofentering one’s head and instantly exploding into popular culture.

Understanding the institution’s history and values, we created an unheard-of-elsewhere story, supported and extended by a simple icon, authentic to the University and its people and the roll-up-their-sleeves, get to work reputation halo often granted among peers on East and West Coasts when moving professionally into the real world.

This message flips rural stereotypes to the University's advantage, to authentically drive a new conversation – which our soft data revealed a breakthrough into pop culture with large payback due, in part, to unpaid media, jump-starting growth in national reputation for desired results.  


The story about a university, where to succeed, one does not coast: 

“Some say culture trends begin on the West Coast, and national conversation on the East Coast. But at Kansas State University, there's no coasting here. We prepare smart thinkers. With no shortcuts. For the real world.”

The icon – rubber farm boots – in the sole color of the University, recast as fashion-forward apparel item honoring success, symbolizing the reward one earns through hard work, modeled by successful alumni wearing professional career attire.

Alas, the big idea was shelved with a change in University leadership. But, at least one of us was interviewed.

Still, at NoCoastingHere.com, we yearn for our purple boots.


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