University rebranding nets record enrollment and an increase in alumni giving

Raleigh, NCJeanne Frazer, president of branding and marketing think tank vitalink, reported the firm is wrapping up a successful rebranding campaign for Jackson State University (JSU) in Jackson, Mississippi. The rebrand included a new logo, new website brand (, enrollment management templates and public relations efforts surrounding the University’s iPad initiative.

“We are thrilled the university rebranding efforts have been so successful,” says Frazer. “The project began in 2012 with an analysis of the existing logo and brand platform, followed by primary research with multiple stakeholder groups. We followed our time-tested five phase process and discovered that JSU’s brand was diluted, with multiple versions of logos and taglines and no brand consistency. The logo did not reflect the University’s proud history as an HBCU or its focus on the future. JSU also needed website and marketing collateral materials to support the University’s goals of increasing enrollment and alumni support. JSU’s marketing team was on board and worked with vitalink to implement the changes. This included engaging the school’s design students to help with the tease campaign; using the University’s “street teams” for dorm “raids” with T-shirts bearing the new logo; and the Sonic Boom of the South marching band launching the new logo and brand at halftime of a football game. It really got everyone excited about the changes.” vitalink also provided a new view book for prospective students, several branded design templates and a brand style guide. The new website was designed by vitalink in conjunction with web partner AndiSites Inc.

“The rebranding work got a great compliment in an article,” adds Frazer. “The article started off with, ‘If branding, or lack thereof at historically black colleges is at crisis level, Jackson State University must not have gotten the memo. In the last nine months, the university has changed its logo, redesigned its website, (and) made national headlines…’ But the bigger compliment to us is finding out that JSU is one of only two universities in Mississippi that had gains in enrollment according to an article in The Commercial Appeal.”

“vitalink’s comprehensive approach with our branding and logo initiatives, tied to their involvement with the new website development, created the basis and energy for our past two semesters’ record enrollment growth and alumni giving support,” says David Hoard, Vice President for Division of Institutional Advancement and the Executive Director of the JSU Development Foundation. “All of this was tied to their ideas and research and team approach. We are extremely pleased with the ultimate measurable outcomes of our relationship with vitalink.”

vitalink ( is a branding + marketing think tank based in Raleigh, North Carolina, with offices in Charlotte and Huntington, West Virginia. Founded in 1996, vitalink specializes in branding and marketing law firms, colleges + universities, non-profits and other types of businesses. In addition to the marketing arm, vitalink has two divisions: The Expert Speakers provides speakers, high performance training, coaching and mentoring services; and vitalink Non-Profit offers marketing and fundraising services for non-profit organizations and businesses wanting to maximize relationships with non-profits. vitalink and its team members give back to the community on a regular basis.

– ### –