November 6, 2017
“We Fly” captures spirit of intellectual curiosity and bold ambitions
There’s a new message at Ball State University: “We Fly.” It is part of a new brand strategy launched today at a campus celebration attended by hundreds of students, faculty, and staff.
The “We Fly” theme, developed after months of research and focus group sessions, is a nod to Ball State’s promise to challenge each other to excel. That, said President Geoffrey S. Mearns, is exactly what Ball State is all about.
“We knew it was right as soon as we heard it,” Mearns said. “It speaks to the intellectual curiosity at Ball State, how students are learning partners, our focus on immersive learning, the importance of our enduring values, that Ball State is on the rise, and that we have bold ambitions. Yes, we fly. And we fly together.”
The new brand comes on the heels of a remarkable year at Ball State. In addition to welcoming Mearns as president in May, the university has the largest total enrollment in its history, its most academically-qualified and diverse freshman class ever, new construction across campus, and its smallest tuition increase in more than 40 years.
“The new brand comes at a perfect time, because it captures our remarkable ascent and focuses on our values,” Mearns said. “A brand is more than a logo and a tagline. It demonstrates how our University fulfills its great potential.”
Ball State began working on the brand in 2016 with qualitative and quantitative research. The results were encouraging, said Rick Hall, chair of the Ball State Board of Trustees.
“Our vision of education and focus on values clearly resonate with our stakeholders,” said Hall. “And our founding as a teachers college is part of our proud history. But we are so much more than that now.
“Ball State has been ranked as one of the best universities in the Midwest for more than a decade. We have students from all 50 states and 68 countries. We offer 200 study abroad programs. It is important that we tell that story, and the new brand gives us the framework to do just that.”
In addition to identifying the need for potential stakeholders to know all Ball State has to offer, the research also clarified university attributes particularly valued by students and others. Immersive learning – Ball State’s hands-on, collaborative, community-based approach to education – was a critical part of the school’s appeal. Many constituents also frequently mentioned empowerment, and the responsibility that goes with it, as well as the institution’s Beneficence Pledge, which articulates Ball State’s values. The campus was identified as “the perfect size,” and Ball State’s focus on serving its community was an important motivation to students, as well as faculty and staff.
Kathy Wolf, vice president, Marketing and Communications, stressed that the branding work is rooted in a desire to help potential stakeholders see themselves in Ball State. “Our refreshed messaging is what we’ve heard from students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends. Today marks a renewed approach to how we tell the Ball State story — and we’ve got a great story to tell.”
Mearns reiterated that the new brand is simply a tool to help Ball State communicate its growth and continued relevance to its stakeholders. “We will continue to live it,” he said.