Kansas State University - Snaps Stereotype For Brand Equity Growth

Creating A New Market Conversation To Grow National Awareness

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, and
  • grow demand from new and broader audiences,
  • including the large national and global audience unaware
  • of 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.

Where a single university exists.

This third Coast rings true for what this University is as an institution, who its people are, the shared values of each, the pride these values confer upon graduates, and the initial reputation halo each are often granted on East and West Coasts - as they move into the real world.

When seen and experienced, these third Coast values innately tap into a deep reservoir of respect from a larger national and international audience of non-graduates, reaching far beyond the existing University community, over time extending affliation demand.


There's the West Coast, the East Coast, and the special University where no Coast is the way of life, and pathway to success:

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.

Under our spacious skies, we prepare smart thinkers. With no shortcuts. For the real world.

Further extending the power of this values flagpole - and new entry-point story for the University - we created a symbol that one who wishes to succeed may earn.

Earn only at Kansas State University.

An iconic, easy to translate symbol.

A pair of farm and ranch boots, in royal purple of course, the sole color of the University, reframed as a fashion-forward apparel item of honor:

At Kansas State University, There's No Coasting Here

This flagpole - this new communications property - is demonstrated below by use of the executive mentoring program, launched by the University's College of Business Administration.


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