For an iconic destination of profound national meaning, how are audiences from school children to academics, from Americans to global citizens, engaged to reconsider and hold close a man and his times?

All while honoring what began as the work of one courageous woman who grasped opportunity at a time when only men were granted such power?

The answers coming soon.

Published in Work
Thursday, 08 November 2012 10:02

St. Joseph's Indian School - Original Wisdom

St. Joseph's Indian School has served Native American children and their families for some 85 years.

The school seeks to develop a new annual cause marketing property, to increase national awareness and grow its funding base to better serve Lakota children.

The client needed this new cause campaign to stay true to the institution and honor Lakota legacy.

To achieve this required that we first examine the positioning of the institution itself, and address a variety of stereotypes, prior to creating a new cause platform.

Understanding that the client is all about promoting education + student quality of life + building pride in native culture, the institution needed a reintroduction to those that know of the School, and an introduction to those that don't, by reorienting the school's position in a manner snapping associated stereotypes.

Rather than a position and marketing message of sympathy for Native American children, we discovered the School is an institution possessing a quality much more profound and competitively distinct:

Original Wisdom

Native Americans possess the native - original - wisdom of the nation, a unique knowledge asset worthy of mining and sharing with all, in a manner offering contemporary relevancy to a wider audience than the school's current localized market footprint.

As no institution as yet claimed this position, the opportunity exists to move Original Wisdom from an audience engagement property to a growth asset.

With Original Wisdom as the foundation and turning to a new cause campaign, the entry-point narrative - including naming and key messaging - was created and verbally and visually expressed, including identity design.

Published in Work

We transformed a college into a university.

Here's the story.

With nearly a proud century of tradition, Cowley College today includes seven tightly clustered campuses in the Midwestern United States, and is growing an aeronautics and aviation specialty.

However, when established in 1920, the college had no physical plant of its own.

The first classes were conducted in the basement, of a high school.

This practice continued through the 1960s, resulting in a large alumni base with fond memories of their experiences at what was informally known as the:

Basement University

The story behind the basement university resonated not only with alumni audiences, but also with today's student on a relevant and memorable basis, as the institution's beginnings offered parallels to the origin stories of a number of what are now well-known companies, such as Apple and Hewlett-Packard.

What before had been seen as an ignoble beginning was instead refocused into a source of pride and measuring stick revealing the growth of the institution, and became a demonstration of how the College is able to launch students toward career success.

To change and take ownership of the market conversation about he College, we created for the client a demonstration of their unique story through a client-linked site, and applications including online platform design, way-finding & campus signage, apparel including athletic team uniforms, outdoor, a new invited speaker series, print advertising and other collateral.

Published in Work

Kansas State University's College of Business Administration needed something new to grow awareness.

A recently installed Dean and an endowed chair faculty member, are each aware of disruptive developments in higher education, including experimentation and rapid adoption of the free online course instruction model.

They seek to create a new, ownable way to engage accomplished alumni with College professors and staff, together with current students and graduates.

The task is to competitively elevate the College into difficult-to-forget status among higher education business schools to:

increase the reputation and influence of the institution,prompt investment and giving, andgrow demand from new and broader audiences,including the large national and global audience unawareof the College and University.

We identified the opportunity to create a new model.

One flipping the classroom.

An online platform as media channel offering interactive, outside-the-classroom filmed series and documentary-style rich content as learning aid, mining the nuance of the backstories of business building to business success - as conversationally shared by College alumni who are also business subject matter experts, in tandem with professors of the College:

A flipping-the-classroom model, so that students may watch content on their own time, freeing up precious classroom hours for in-depth discussion with instructors and guest speakers who bring experience from the upper echelons of business.

Successfully executed, a new learning dimension is offered students, and any business-learning audience.

The result bridges generations and a real world experience gap among students.

With creation of a cost-effective production template utilizing both on-campus and distance resources, this model and content is framed by the distinct point-of-view of the College, mapping to an effectively verbalized unheard-of-elsewhere values flagpole of the University.

It is this values flagpole - the positioning of the University - that leads to the attraction of new and larger audiences to the College and University.

Our managing director, Steve Cranford, offers why this flagpole is so important:

The flagpole snaps entrenched sterotypes of the institution - and flips them to the University's advantage - so that the University may uniquely drive the public conversation - including pop culture discussion - among competing universities to the reputation advantage of Kansas State University.

What IS this values flagpole - the positioning of this institution - as created by our team?

In the United States, between the West Coast and the East Coast, there exists a third Coast.

A Coast - a place - unidentified and unlabeled on any map.

Until now.

Published in Work

After acquiring New York City-based Children for Children, international nonprofit Points of Light seeks to integrate Children for Children with their other pre-adult market offerings, such as Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools and HandsOn Action Center-driven kids programs, under one easy to understand banner prior to a national launch.

The task was one of creating an entry-point introduction to grow awareness, making the organization difficult to overlook within the crowded market of kids-focused service nonprofits.

We looked to identity benefits of affiliation and use no competitor was discussing; those offering disruptive market opportunity.

Two key thoughts emerged:

First, every child is born with the urge to help others, according to research manifested as early as age 12 months

Second, kids are powerful individual forces in their own right, taking the lead in identifying their own interests, and often heavily influencing primary decision-maker adults

With these understandings, and knowing that pre-adults of most any cognitive age prefer not to be lumped together as "children" or "youth" or "kids" while recognizing their almost-adultness, the new organization was positioned as:

We show teens, tweens and younger how to exercise their innate power in assisting others to make their mark on the world

The primary teen and tween age audience needed a name they could embrace and claim as their own, telegraphing that this new organization is indeed theirs, while also of appeal to younger children and secondary audiences of teachers, school administrators and parents.

To navigate the delicate balance among teens, tweens and younger, words such as Children or Kids or Youth were non-starters.

Instead, a new label was created:


With the new organization all about igniting an often latent human power within individuals, the new key message emerged:

make your mark on the world

A symbol of this new entry-point story was needed to extend the opportunity to attract engagement.

As visually expressed by Tracy Holdeman of our team, and confirmed by market testing, the visual expression of generationOn resonates deeply among primary and secondary audiences.

A range of new online and digital tools were also crafted in aid of expressing the new generationOn property, with select examples shared below.

Post-launch, generationOn has grown to national and global markets, while landing a $5 million strategic investment from Hasbro Inc. and partnership with the Discovery Channel.

Published in Work


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